The RELACS Report

2/18/2022
RELACS
Research Editorial Legal and Committee Staff

Welcome to The RELACS Report, the online journal of the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff (RELACS) professional association of NCSL.

This is the place to find articles on topics relevant to the various roles you, the association members, perform for your state legislatures, to get news from state legislatures across the country and to learn about the professional development opportunities provided by RELACS and NCSL.

The editorial board invites you to contribute your own knowledge and expertise! Please see our submission guidelines for more information.


Bill Drafting

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21
A Note on Use and Avoidance of Passive Voice

When things are quiet and we have time to reflect on such matters, legislative drafters generally prefer active voice to passive voice.

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07
When More is More

A 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' opinion begins, “For want of a comma, we have this case.”

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26
Modern Legal Scribbler

A legislative drafter's response to "The Parliamentary Draftsman: A Poem."

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10
The Parliamentary Draftsman: A Poem

“Poetic Justice,” a compilation of poetry about the law was published in London in 1947 and written by J.P.C. It offers an interesting perspective on the work of a parliamentary draftsman.

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15
Five Fast Thoughts About Drafting Legislation

Legislative drafting is a specialized form of legal writing and clarity is paramount. In the quick paced legislative environment, accuracy can suffer, what you don't know can hurt you, and delayed solutions to drafting problems do have consequences.

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14
Do You Really Need to Say “But Not Limited To”?

Residents of a town, in Colorado, sued the town’s trustees for raising taxes to bury electric and telephone cables by creating a special district. The citizens argued that the state statute’s definition of public utility which included the phrase “and shall include” meant that the list, “city, county, special district…” was exhaustive. Learn how the court interpreted this statute in the case.

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06
Mark Cutrona: Helping the Drafting Process Go Smoothly in Delaware

Legislative Staff Week gives us an opportunity to learn more about the people who work behind the scenes to assure that legislatures operate smoothly and laws are drafted well. Today, we are talking with Mark Cutrona, the deputy director of the Division of Research in Delaware.

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