Newsline is the newsletter of the Legislative Research Librarians Professional Staff Association.
Welcome to the Summer 2019 issue of Newsline!
By Betsy Haugen (Minnesota), LRL Chair 2018-2019
I hope you are all enjoying summer so far! I am really looking forward to NCSL’s Legislative Summit in early August. We have some interesting sessions planned and Nashville promises to be a wonderful destination. Several LRLers—Catherine, Eddie and Teresa—will be participating in the session “Plight of the Introvert: How to Stand Out When All You Want to do is Stand In a Corner.” I will have the pleasure of introducing the group. Other standout sessions include “What I Wish I Knew When I Started in the Legislature” (with LRL Secretary Eric Glover as a panelist), “Legislative Staff University: Becoming a Multiplier” and “Sharpen Your Social Media Savvy.” And there will be sessions on redistricting, data privacy, cybersecurity, and the always popular “Supreme Court Roundup.”
The LRL track will feature tours of the Tennessee State Capitol and newly renovated Cordell Hull State Office Building. We’ll also visit the State Museum and Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. We get to hear living legend Dolly Parton sing and tell us about starting the Imagination Library, her book-gifting program to promote reading to children 5 and under. I’m sure we will sample some amazing Southern barbecue and Nashville music as well! You still have plenty of time to register, so please consider joining us in August.
As I wind down my time as LRL chair, I would like to thank quite a few folks who have been so supportive the past several years. Elizabeth Lincoln, the head of my library in Minnesota and a past LRL chair herself, has been an invaluable resource for me. I so appreciate having been able to run ideas by her and have benefited from her expertise. Similarly, Julia Covington (N.C.), Catherine Wusterhausen (Texas), Jennifer Bernier (Conn.), Megan McClure (NCSL), Teresa Wilt (Nev.), and Eddie Weeks (Tenn.) have provided support whenever I asked—which was often! Thank you so much!
I’d like to put in a plug for serving on the LRL professional association executive committee. Over the past several years, I have really loved getting to know legislative staff from other states. Hearing about the workings of their legislatures while we are out to dinner, or on long walks in whatever city we are in, is all part of building valuable connections with colleagues and I got to travel to Portland, Maine; Charleston, S.C.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; New Orleans, and Madison, Wis. I will sincerely miss seeing my new friends at quarterly meetings. I would encourage anyone who wants to develop their professional leadership skills and meet fantastic staff from around the country to consider serving on the LRL executive committee. Just ask me if you have any questions about what this entails.
The 2019 NCSL Legislative Summit will be held Aug. 5-8, 2019, in the welcoming city of Nashville, Tenn. Those of you who know long-time LRLer Eddie Weeks know he will be a great host. Nashville boasts an extremely walkable downtown with great food and music options on every block. Please consider joining us this summer.
The 2019 LRL PDS will be hosted by the award-winning Maine Law and Legislative Reference Library. The dates will be Sept. 23-25, 2019.
A Super PDS is in the works for 2020 in Atlanta, with six staff professional development associations committed to participating. Join colleagues from RELACS, NALFO, LINCS, NLPES, LSS and, of course, LRL. The last time NCSL put together a Super PDS was in 2000 in Madison, Wis. We’ll let you know more details as planning continues over the next year.
LRL is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2019 Notable Document Award winners!
The competition was tough this year with 53 submissions from 19 states.
The Farm Bill: From Past to Present – Nebraska Legislative Research Office
Students in Tennessee Instructed by Consecutive Ineffective Teachers – Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Office of Research and Education Accountability
Textbooks and Instructional Materials – Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, Office of Education Accountability
Status of Election Security in Kansas – Kansas Legislative Research Department
Impact of State Mandates on County Governments – Idaho Office of Performance Evaluations
Minnesota’s Volkswagen Settlement Beneficiary Mitigation Plan – Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Historical and Cultural Resources
Bridging the Mighty Red: Red River Crossings Between Oklahoma and Texas – Oklahoma Department of Transportation in collaboration with Mead & Hunt
Michigan Legislative Biography Database – Library of Michigan
Legislator and Staff Guide
Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual – Delaware Legislative Council, Division of Research
Finding our Balance: Washington State Action Plan for Older Adult Falls Prevention – Washington State Department of Health
Firearm Fatality and Suicide Prevention: A Public Health Approach – Washington State Department of Health
Assessment of the Potential Impact of Regulated Marijuana in New York State – New York State Department of Health
Do Criminal Laws Deter Crime? Deterrence Theory in Criminal Justice Policy: A Primer – Minnesota House Research Department
Special Report: Sex Week at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville – Tennessee Comptroller, Office of Research and Education Accountability
Notable Document Award Judges: Elizabeth Lincoln, Minnesota, Chair; Eric Glover, Idaho; Ingrid Hernquist, New Jersey; Molly Riley, Minnesota; and Jenna Steward, Louisiana.
June 26, 2019
Notable Documents Awards page
Notable Documents Awards previous recipients
LRL is thrilled to award Catherine Wusterhausen, assistant director of the Legislative Reference Library of Texas, the 2019 LRL Legislative Staff Achievement Award.
Catherine joined the staff of the Legislative Reference Library of Texas in 2001 and since then has been a driving force in the organization and development of electronic legislative information for the state. She has made numerous contributions to the library field and NCSL including: being an integral leader in the design and coding of NCSL award-winning databases and indexing systems and of the Reference Library of Texas’ website, taking the lead in developing the Index to Sections Affected database, providing a reverse lookup for bill sections affecting Texas statutes, as well as a linking service for legislative measures and other documents mentioned in newspaper articles. Her contributions to NCSL include being an active member of the LRL staff professional association culminating in service as an officer from 2014-2017, contributing to LRL professional development seminars, presenting information at the NCSL Legislative Summit, and serving as a member of the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee and the 2019 Legislative Staff Nomination Committee.
2019 LRL Staff Achievement Award Committee – Jennifer Bernier, Conn., Debbie Tavenner, Ohio, Alex Burnett, Maine
The 2019 Legislative Research Librarians Nominating Committee is pleased to announce the selection of Ingrid Hernquist of New Jersey as the secretary-elect of LRL. Ingrid will assume her new title and duties at the conclusion of the NCSL Legislative Summit in Nashville, Aug. 5-8.
Ingrid is currently the manager of Library Services for the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services Library. She received a B.A. in history and fine arts at Colgate University; she then went on to receive a J.D. at Rutgers School of Law-Camden and a M.L.S. at Rutgers School of Library and Information Science. Ingrid is a member of both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania bars.
Ingrid has worked for the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services since April 1996. She was initially the legislative librarian until being was promoted to library manager in September 2017. Her primary duties include the following: supervise the operation of a digital news clipping service including hiring and training of new staff, proofreading posted articles, and reading and clipping relevant news articles; hire, train, supervise, and coordinate the work of library employees; perform general and legal research services for legislators and legislative staff, and provide guidance to locate unusual or unique information; provide library service orientation sessions for legislative staff at district offices; and develop library policies and procedures.
When she is not working, Ingrid enjoys attending group fitness classes at the local gym, gardening, walking her two dogs, watching movies, attending Broadway musicals with her husband and autistic son, and visiting various New Jersey wineries.
Ingrid’s LRL participation includes serving as a judge on the Notable Documents Committee for at least 15 years (thank you Ingrid!). She enjoys attending the NCSL Legislative Summit—the first Summit she attended was in 2004 in Salt Lake City, and she will be attending the 2019 Nashville Summit. We are grateful for her increased commitment to LRL over the next four years!
LRL Election Committee – Julia Covington, Teresa Wilt and Jennifer Bernier
LRL has a full slate of activities taking place at the 2019 Legislative Summit in Nashville, Tenn.
All LRL sponsored and co-sponsored session are listed in the LRL specific online agenda.
Of special note:
Tours! LRL will have two official tours and one unofficial tour during and immediately following Summit.
On Wednesday, Aug. 7, immediately following the "Plight of the Introvert" session, Eddie will be taking LRL members on a tour of the Tennessee State Capitol and the Cordell Hull Building (leaving for tour at 3:30 p.m.). On Thursday, Aug. 8, immediately after the Legislative Staff Breakfast, LRL will be touring the Tennessee State Museum (leaving for tour at 9:45 a.m.). And a final unofficial tour of the Parthenon and the Green Briar Whiskey Distillery will happen immediately after the closing session of Summit.
To avoid overcrowding of the tours we have elected to not include the tours in the full online Summit agenda. Please RSVP to Megan McClure and let me know which tours you’d like to attend. Updates will be sent out as new and more details become available.
Also, if anyone is planning to or looking for a reason to come into Nashville early, Teresa is planning to arrive early for a trip to the Lane Motor Museum either Thursday or Friday Aug. 2 or 3 if anyone is interested in joining her and her husband.
Please RSVP to Megan McClure as soon as possible with the tours you plan on attending.
As if you needed more reasons to get even more exicted about the LRL Professional Development Seminar this September in Portland, Maine. Here's some information on the tours that will be included in the programming:
Lucky Catch Lobstering Cruise
Come join us for an unforgettable excursion on the waters of Casco Bay while we guide you through the daily routines of a Maine Lobsterman. Participate in the excitement of hauling up the traps or sit back and relax as we cruise near picturesque lighthouses, historic civil war forts, and the “Seal Rocks”.
The Maine Memory Network
The Maine Memory Network, a project of the Maine Historical Society, provides access to thousands of historical items belonging to more than 270 organizations from across Maine.
Brown Research Library
Since 1822, Maine Historical Society has been collecting materials about Maine. Featuring books, manuscripts, broadsides, maps, photographs and ephemera, the library collections are used by historians, writers, educators, students and genealogists. Visiting the library is a unique experience where you can see one-of-a-kind material about Maine's history and people. MHS works to collect and preserve these collections, and we have instituted policies and procedures to protect our holdings for the future.
Created in 1827, Capitol Park is Maine’s earliest documented designed landscape. Augusta residents donated 34 acres overlooking the Kennebec River for the future State House and landscape and planted a formal allée of elms as a dignified setting for the Capitol. Capitol Park was listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 and as part of the Capitol Complex Historic District in 2001.
See the full agenda for the meeting.
E Komo Mai, Hoaloha! (Welcome, friend!)
Karen Mau, Head Research Librarian
The Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) Library is a nonpartisan office of the Hawaii Legislature. The LRB comprises five divisions: Research, Statute Revision, Systems Office, Library, and the Public Access Room. The library is located on the Chamber level of the Hawaii State Capitol.
We maintain a collection of legislative material, such as the House and Senate Journals, Session Laws of Hawaii, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) and veto messages. We are also mandated through the HRS to receive reports due to the legislature. In addition, we maintain an extensive collection of state executive reports, other state publications, opinions of the attorney general, and a newspaper clipping file. The majority of our collection can be circulated.
Since 2001, reports to the legislature have been required to be available on departmental websites. We have been adding these digital reports to our bibliographic records and are working to digitize older legislative reports. In 2016, we began using Koha, an open source Integrated Library System; please feel free to visit our catalog.
The library provides in-depth research and reference assistance to the legislature and legislative staff. We also provide assistance to government agencies and the public. The library distributes LRB reports and publications, manages the bureau’s website (currently being updated), and since 2001, has distributed a daily electronic news delivery service called iClips.
The library currently has a permanent staff of four librarians and a library technician. However, by the time you read this, Research Librarian Claire Marumoto will have retired after 44 plus years of service. It has been her dream to live in New York City. She retired on May 31 and moved to NYC four days later! We wish her all the best!
Please visit us if you’re ever in Honolulu!
By Betsy Haugen, LRLchair
We met in Madison, Wis., in early June for the Spring LSCC meeting. The weather and the city were beautiful! A fun highlight for me was climbing various winding staircases to reach the lantern balcony 237 feet up in the Capitol dome to enjoy a spectacular view from the observation deck. It was a good workout and a great bonding experience with other legislative staff.
Thursday afternoon I participated in an optional LSCC Professional Development session on Collaborative Problem Solving. The workshop was designed to teach staff to apply the principles of negotiation to help explore creative ways of delivering solutions to conflicts in a way that leaves all sides felling satisfied. It was both interesting and practical.
LSCC Work Groups | Professional Staff Association Officers
The webinar working group talked about ways to encourage/increase use of webinars by PSA’s. We have spent some time thinking about the best way to approach this and believe there are a couple different aspects to consider: content and implementation. Want to Host a Webinar? Let NCSL Help! is a great webinar guide recently updated by the IT and Outreach Subcommittee that addresses many aspects of implementation in an easy to follow format.
LSCC Legislative Institution Subcommittee
We have wrapped up projects reviewing two of NCSL's legacy documents: NCSL's Model Code of Conduct for Legislative Staff and NCSL's Guide to Writing a Personnel Manual. Legislative Success Stories: We are trying to encourage more states to consider creating these type of videos to showcase ways that staff and legislators work together to further legislation. We also talked about the importance of LSCC mentorship and ways to improve the experience for staff new to LSCC. There is an orientation at the fall LSCC /Executive Committee meeting designed to provide an introduction to fellow legislative staff and the work done through LSCC, but not all staff are able to attend that meeting.
2020 Atlanta Super PDS Planning Meeting
Members from the six participating professional staff associations discussed plans for the 2020 Super PDS in Atlanta.
By Summit, each staff association will select a representative to serve on the Super PDS planning committee, which will make decisions on the PDS agenda, speakers, finances, etc. Teresa Wilt, incoming LRL chair, will represent our staff group, with Eric Glover (Idaho) or Betsy Haugen (Minn.) as back-up for any meeting Teresa is not able to attend. At this June meeting, we discussed how expenses and revenues would be handled for the Super PDS. One favored proposal is to handle any revenue or loss from the conference by dividing the amount proportionally by the number of staff registered under each professional association. Some members favored using an average attendance for each PSA for the three-year period from 2016 to 2018, rather than strictly the attendance in 2020. Discussions will continue in Nashville.
Alabama: The Alabama Legislative Services Agency (formerly Legislative Reference Service) has a new librarian. Her name is Elizabeth (Beth) Sorrells.
Alaska: The Alaska Legislative Reference Library has little to note at the moment, aside from increasing outreach and training efforts.
California, California Research Bureau: Jaemin Lee has been promoted to senior librarian.
California, Office of Legislative Counsel: Lindsay Pealer, Supervising Librarian
Erin and I are doing a lot of bibliographic instruction. We recently obtained a few new databases (Trellis and Checkpoint).
Connecticut : Christine McCluskey - Senior Research Librarian, Office of Legislative Research, Connecticut
We finished our legislative session on June 5 with the most reference requests of any long session since we began keeping detailed records (see chart). Our long sessions are in odd years from January-June, and our short sessions are in even years from February-May. We are not sure of the reasons for the increase in reference requests, but suspect the increase in the number of new legislators may have something to do with it.
Georgia: Martha Wigton
The House Budget and Research Office is borrowing a practice from NCSL and creating our own library of Legisbriefs, although we are simply calling them one-pagers internally and Policy Briefs when they go out to members. The goal is to give House members (and the public) concise and useful information on issues they have worked to address and the positive outcomes. These are not research papers and the goal is to share good news out in the districts! Here are two examples: Maternal Mortality in Geogia; Reducing the Sexual Assault Kit Backlog in Georgia.
Louisiana: Bethany Reisch, Librarian, Louisiana House Legislative Services
Our session recently ended and we’ve been focusing on indexing. We’re currently finishing up the main index.
Maryland: Annette Haldeman, Manager, Reference Services
The Maryland Department of Legislative Services has recently welcomed new staff and is exploring new projects and initiatives to enhance our publications and services as of late.
Staff: In March 2019, Liz Kupke joined the library staff at the Maryland Department of Legislative Services Library as a cataloging/indexing librarian. Just prior to joining the DLS Library, she was the manager of technical services and digital technology at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md. She also served as the head of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Library in D.C. and was the head of the electronic resources unit of the Georgetown University’s library. Before these professional positions, Liz was a library assistant at the DLS Library while she was in library school and we’re happy that she has returned to the DLS Library. Also in March 2019, Calvin Calloway joined the Library and Information Services unit as a legislative assistant, and in April 2019 Paula Cabrera was hired as an information services assistant. Welcome to Liz, Calvin, and Paula!
Projects: The library is currently exploring options for the digitization of portions of the committee bill file collection that currently reside on microfilm. This initiative stems from a desire to make our collections more accessible and manageable for our users, as well as assisting us with accessibility to these collections during a potential building renovation in coming years.
The reference librarians are continuing to contribute to and enhance internal research databases to preserve research for future legislative requests in common subject areas, such as the history of the Maryland General Assembly. The cataloging/indexing librarians are seeking to streamline the Laws of Maryland indexing process and are exploring ways to tailor this content for users of the index, identifying what information is most important to include in each entry.
Minnesota: Betsy Haugen, Reference Services Manager, Minnesota Legislative Reference Library
We are staying busy working on our summer projects. These projects include researching old vetoes to supplement our veto database, editing our older redistricting guides, and creating a new one in anticipation of the 2020 census and the redistricting that will follow. A redesign of the Minnesota legislature's website was rolled out in December 2018, with a lot of attention paid to accessibility and a clean design. We are still working on cleaning up a few pages. Accessibility is a hot topic around here!
2019 legislation set the stage for the Minnesota Legislature to fully comply with state accessibility standards by October 2024. A legislative staff working group will be established in 2021 to prepare for the compliance deadline but there is interest by Library and other legislative staff to begin meeting informally to start moving closer to compliance.
New Mexico: Laurie Canepa is retiring in mid-June from her position as senior legislative librarian at the New Mexico Legislative Council Service. Canepa joined the LCS in 2011 after serving as public services director and manager of the Regional Federal Document Library at the New Mexico State Library from 1990 to 2011. Before her tenure at the New Mexico State Library, she served as a government documents and legal reference librarian at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and the Lewis and Clark Law School Library in Portland, Ore. Raised in the Santa Fe area, Canepa has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Utah and master’s degree in library science from Brigham Young University. She is retiring to spend more time looking up at the magnificent and powerful New Mexico skies and looking down into the eyes of her new grandchild.
Val Brooker, a librarian who has worked the N.M. Legislative session for over 10 years, has agreed to work part time until the end of July. The N.M. library is also fortunate to have Library Assistant Moya Melody, who will have been with the library for two years this August.
North Carolina – Anthony Aycock, Legislative Librarian
The North Carolina Legislative Library has seen some interesting changes, with more on the way for 2019-2020.
Staff: On Dec. 31, 2018, longtime reference librarian Jane Basnight retired. On Feb. 1, 2019, she was replaced by Kelsey Lewis, our boards and commissions assistant, who was promoted to the front of house. Our new boards and commissions assistant, Christine Halladay, started on May 15. A native of upstate New York, Christine spent 11 years at the Onondaga County Public Library in a mixture of public service and technical support roles. Welcome, Christine!
Projects: In the next interim, library staff will begin a major redesign of the library website. This includes updating the look and feel of the site, as well as adding new content, such as video tutorials on common research needs (e.g., using our bill inquiry system).
We will also take the lead on updating the website of the Legislative Analysis Division, of which the library is a part. This includes adding photos and committee assignments to staff pages, as well as new graphical depictions of the work of the division.
Tennessee: Eddie Weeks, Legislative Librarian
No changes to library staff in Tennessee. I will resume the “Lunch and Learn with a Librarian” series in mid-June with “The History of the Fourth of July at the Tennessee State Capitol,” followed by one in July on “Prohibition in Tennessee.”
Washington: Governor Jay Inslee has approved the construction of a new combined State Archives/State Library building for Washington state. The new building will also house the Corporations and Elections divisions of the secretary of state. The press release has all the good details.
A few months back a question went out over the LRL Listserv. The question asked the following questions:
The information was informative and many other libraries found it helpful. The LRL Executive Committee decided to create a webpage and table to house the responses. Right now we have 15 reponses from 14 states. As you know, the more complete the information, the better, so LRL is asking all libraries/research offices who haven't responded with their answers to please email NCSL Liaison to LRL, Megan McClure to have your library or office included in the survey. The survey will be updated periodically.
CLICK HERE for the full table and webpage.
The LRL Executive Committee is proposing that the Legislative Research Librarians (LRL) Staff Section of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) adopts the following recommendations for amendments to the LRL Bylaws. These amendments, if adopted by a majority vote of the general members present at the Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, LRL business meeting, would become effective upon adoption.
The changes in the bylaws are proposed to reflect changes in terminology and practice that have taken place since the last revisions of the bylaws October 2014. NCSL has adopted the name professional staff associations instead of staff sections to describe the nine staff groups affiliated with NCSL.
Click HERE for the full text of the proposed LRL Bylaws. Changes are designated in underline and strikethrough.
Comments are due by Aug. 2, 2019
ANNOUNCEMENT/LRL REUNION CALL FOR ADDRESSES AND EMAILS
Debbie Tavenner, Ohio Legislative Service Commission
Last October, I spent a wonderful weekend in Denver with Marilyn Johnson of North Dakota; Tracey Kimball of New Mexico; and Susan Gilley of Oklahoma, just for the fun of it. Among the things we did was have tea with Rita Thaemert, a former LRL staff liaison. Marilyn and Susan have organized such gatherings from time to time. Sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller. We all thought it would be fun to have an LRL Reunion, so they put me in charge of organizing it since I still have contacts with the current staff. Betsy said it was OK to use Newsline to get the word out and collect addresses of former and retired staff members who might be interested.
The tentative (and plans are very tentative) idea is to organize a reunion around the Super Professional Development Meeting Oct. 5-9, 2020, in Atlanta. Hopefully there will be an overlap where we can all get together. Please notify your former colleagues who might be interested and either provide me with contact information, or ask them to contact me directly through email or regular mail. Use firstname.lastname@example.org, or my address: Debbie Tavenner, 804 Neil Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43215
I am really excited about the opportunity to visit with former colleagues.
Training new staff can present a myriad of challenges and logistical issues. How do you train someone when you already have your plate full with your daily duties? How do you train staff in the middle of a session? Or on a shoestring or nonexistent budget? Below is a list of NCSL resources to help you train new and old staff without over stretching your time, ability and budget!