Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff Legislative Staff Achievement Awards


Legislative Staff Achievement Award

This Legislative Staff Achievement Award may be awarded to an individual and/or office from each staff professional association of NCSL who has demonstrated excellence in supporting the work of a state legislature and strengthening the legislative institution. The awards have added meaning in that they are bestowed by the recipients' peers through each of the staff professional associations and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff association (RELACS) may nominate two recipients each year to receive this award. The selection process must be equitable and open to all RELACS members. "Excellence" can be defined as: top-quality, distinctive, of merit, outstanding, first-class, or expert. This recognition can be awarded to a group as well as an individual.


All members of the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff association (RELACS) are eligible for this award. Examples of accomplishments recognized by RELACS for the Legislative Staff Achievement Award include the following:

  • Exhibiting a high degree of professionalism, competence, and integrity in serving the legislature and the public.
  • Helping to improve the effectiveness of the legislative institution.
  • Supporting the legislative process and the mission of the legislature.
  • Contributing to the work of the National Conference of State Legislatures or the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff association.
  • Demonstrating expertise in a particular field.
  • Contributing to existing knowledge.

Nominations should briefly address how the nominee meets the above criteria.

2021 Award Recipients

2021 Legislative Staff Achievement Awards

Staff of Legis. Editing Team, MDLegislative Editing Team, Maryland Department of Legislative Services

The Legislative Editing Team of the Maryland Department of Legislative Services was selected as the RELACS recipient of the Legislative Staff Achievement Award. This team took an untenable situation and turned it into an example of legislative staff tenacity. The team took the initiative to learn new software and create an electronic editing process for an office that had historically relied on paper and colored pens. The team created an interactive online training module to onboard seven new employees seamlessly. As the team’s directors said, “Simply put, they exceeded all reasonable expectations.” As active members of RELACS, these legislative editors have served on panels, participated in discussions and contributed to the value of meetings both in-person and virtual. 

Photo: From left to right. Front row: Leslie Boyd, Supervisor Joan Perry, Esme Smith, Jean Strickland; Chelsea Cooper; second row: Sharon Morrissey, David Tuck, Rosemarie Carroll, Kevin Caldwell; third row: Kelsey Yannuzzi (with Charlie), Assistant Supervisor Mimi Kalliongis, Roberta Gable, Manager Carol Mihm, Matt Davis, LaNae Croxton; back row: Conor Wallace, Stephen Hajcak, David Schwartz, James Penn, Ashley Ciaglo, Kevin Morton, Ellen Corbett, Camille Carter. Missing from photo: Nathan Rafalowski, Bill Kamenoff, Diane Sepe, Donna Dudley.

Richard PearceRichard Pearce, legal counsel to the clerk, South Carolina House of Representatives

Richard Pearce, legal counsel to the South Carolina House, is RELACS’ 2021 Legislative Staff Achievement Award recipient. His focus has been to assemble teams to conduct research, draft legislation and amendments, and talking points for debate. He is known for offering commonsense legal advice, and one member said he is adept at creating “word pictures that boil down complex legislative issues in a very comprehensible and useful manner.” His engagement with NCSL has included participating in webinars and other training and most recently serving as a guest on NCSL’s “Our American States” podcast to discuss representative democracy during the American Revolution.



2021 RELACS Special Commendation Award

David MillerDavid R. Miller, research administrator, Legislative Research Unit (LRU), Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, Illinois

The Research, Editrial, Legal and Committee Staff Association selects David R. Miller to receive the RELACS Special Commendation Award for his 43 years of exemplary service to the Illinois General Assembly. During his tenure with the Research Unit, he was instrumental in the development of the agency and in the training of the research staff both in methodology and in communication for multiple generations. He has supported the legislative institution by helping to maintain a strong, nonpartisan research organization. His written work has contributed a body of work that is used regularly by the legislature and his expertise in several areas including the Illinois Constitution have been invaluable. His legal expertise is relied upon for complex nonpartisan analysis.

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