Legislative Research Librarians
Newsline Newsletter

Volume XXXV, No. 1
Winter 2010


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Chair's Column
2009 Professional Development Seminar
What's Up in Your Library Roundtable
Traditional vs. New Media
Social Media in Libraries
Preserving State Government Digial Information: the NDIIPP Project
West Tour
Lobbyists as Information Providers and Information Seekers—or, Blackberries Were Merely Fruit 10 Years Ago
Using Technology to Open Access to the Legislative Process
Capitol Tour
LRL Business Meeting Minutes—October 17, 2009
NCSL Publications

Chair's Column
Elizabeth Lincoln
Legislative Reference Library, Minnesota 

Our recent Professional Development Seminar in Minnesota was a success on many counts, despite the weather and the stormy fiscal situations in most states. The most valuable part of every professional development seminar is the chance to talk with librarians from other states. States are so different, and libraries’ responsibilities vary, yet the networking and idea generation is amazing. We were lucky to have Julia Taylor from the Library of Congress and Leslie Polsom from Saskatchewan join us for the first time. (A favorite "fun fact" that came out was that the Saskatchewan legislative session begins with a royal tea.)

Among our staff, we felt lucky to participate in the sessions we planned! We knew the speakers had interesting information to impart—this was a good chance to listen and learn. For example, even if we read the endless articles about the Al Franken senatorial campaign, Joe Mansky’s after-the-event wrap-up seemed fresh and new. The conference was fun and busy. Heather Morton’s help was invaluable. We recommend hosting a PDS!

Minnesotans are proud of their ability to be prepared for all sorts of weather, so we were surprised to hear that Mary Camp from
Texas did not own a jacket before buying one for her trip to St. Paul! (We provided gloves to help keep her warm.)

We’ve begun to make plans for the Legislative Summit in Louisville, Ky., in July. Please plan to join us there; you won’t need that
winter jacket!

The legislative session started in Minnesota on February 4, and by all accounts it will be contentious and difficult. We´ve been living with the "new normal" of annual budget struggles, but the scale of the present budget shortfall seems daunting. At our next roundtable library discussion, we will likely discuss "How I did more with less."


2009 Professional Development Seminar
St. Paul, Minnesota

What's Up in Your Library Roundtable
By Robbie LaFleur, Minnesota

The library roundtable session is a perennial favorite at LRL professional development seminars, and it was a great way to kick off the conference get to know our colleagues and their institutions.

Leslie Polsom started the hour with a description of the Saskatchewan Legislative Library, which is the oldest library in the province, and their services. She joked that she comes from the easiest-to-draw province in Canada. They have 18 FTE. They provide a weekly table of contents service and new book listings, tailored to members’ subjects of interest. The member services librarian is responsible for working with the 58 members of parliament and creating custom searches for them. The library has developed an interesting annual social studies workshop in the province to teach about the parliamentary process.

The Saskatchewan Parliament, which is unicameral, meets in one session from late October to the beginning of December, and in another that begins in March—approximately 70 days in all. The spring session begins with an opening day tea and a formal presentation of the executive branch agenda (we thought it seemed similar to a “State of the State” speech) called the “Speech from the Throne.” The speaker of the House is not the leader of the majority party, but is elected by the entire body. The speaker votes only in case of a tie; the position is a nonpartisan administrative post. Two versions of the journal are published. The minutes are bare-boned, and Hansards, verbatim gavel-to-gavel transcripts, are published for meetings of the full body and committee hearings. Leslie was asked about the references to the Queen’s Printer and Speeches from the Throne; it seems so British. Of course, Canada is a separate country, she said, but still part of the Commonwealth. “We just never had the revolution.”

Jackie Curro from Maryland discussed an issue that faces all our libraries—reaching the members of our legislatures. Of their 188 member offices, about 30 are constant library users. A few never contact the library. About three years ago, they decided to talk with members in their offices. The library is required to provide copies of the Annotated Statutes, which is now up to 50 printed volumes, to all members. They offered to have a librarian come to members’ offices to tell them how to use the statutes (and hopefully encourage them to use them online). Each session takes about 30 minutes and is effective because the librarian can address just what the member needs to know about searching. About 20 members have signed up each of the three years. They feel it´s been successful, especially since they have made contacts with many staff members, too. Jackie’s question to the group was, ‘Should we be moving on to podcasts to try to reach more members?” The group´s advice was to look into online tutorials. Short webinars can be effective. Mary Camp noted that many people have come to rely on the library, but it’s because of the personal contacts. It’s a balancing act—making as much as possible available online, yet maintaining the personal contacts that lead to effective service delivery.

Mary Camp, director of the Texas Legislative Library, noted that the Texas Legislature meets every other year, January – May. Their staff complement is 26 FTE, 31 during session. They are creating an all-time legislator database, but it is still internal-only as they complete it. They are undergoing a project to digitize all bills from the first session to the present, in-house, as time permits. An outside consultant predicted it would take 20 years to scan the mountain of paper, but they are 13 years ahead of schedule! They continue to maintain their extensive news clipping service, a veto database, an executive order database, and a state-of-the-state speech page.

Shelley Day from Utah is involved in a bill scanning project for bills from 1896-1989; the State Archives is doing the scanning. She reported that 3/4 of her time is taken up with helping people with legislative histories, so she created Web pages to help users get to as much information online as possible. She also developed a popular staff directory application to help legislators quickly identify and contact staff. On their secure site, the staff directory allows searching by first or last name and area of work, and is formatted for Blackberries.

Frances Thomas from Louisiana talked about the subject indexing the librarians do for bills and acts. The indexing application, which was developed by outside consultants, is easy to use, but the task is enormous, involving constant changes as bills are amended. “It’s fun, though,” Frances claimed!

Minnesota librarians were told, “One minute each!” as they quickly showed the library’s main page blog (not really a blog, because comments are not solicited), the legislators past and present database, the executive orders database, the veto database, and to discuss the move to online news clip files.

Traditional vs. New Media
By Jess Hopeman, Minnesota

This panel focused on evolving legislative news coverage. Mike Mulcahey, political editor for Minnesota Public Radio, discussed changes to the model for how people get their news. Few people still sit down with their subscribed-to hard copy of the newspaper and a cup of coffee at the kitchen table to digest the news at the beginning of the day. Now people get news all day and all night and expect it to be free. It is particularly unsettling for traditional journalists to realize that, in this marketplace, their work has no monetary value. Newspapers have thus far failed to monetize their offerings under the new model—online readership numbers can jump, but that doesn´t necessarily translate to profit for the papers. On the other hand, the rise of the Internet has increased the value of news reporting. Stories are available online after they have been broadcast, which allows people to find items they might have missed. As a nonprofit, MPR has been able to escape the need to create shareholder wealth; instead, they rely on listeners, corporations, foundations and, to a decreasing extent on taxpayers through government support for their funding. Mike thinks that more sources and more varieties of information provided by the wide range of resources is probably a good thing.

Pat Sweeney, communications director for the Freshwater Society, previously was a political reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press for many years. He mentioned that there used to be four daily papers in the metro area, two morning and two evening, each from the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune, and their reporting was intensely competitive. The Pioneer Press also had an image of the capitol dome on its masthead, which is no longer there. Covering the capitol used to be the best thing. Pat also mentioned that one problem is papers’ flawed business model—they sell newspapers for less than the cost of production and make their revenues from ads. The opposite is true in Europe, where you might pay a euro for a newspaper but will find far fewer ads inside. He noted that Monster.com, CarSoup and Craigslist are providing an alternative to the paper´s employment, car sales and classified sections. In terms of blogs, Pat saw two sides. The negative is that they may not be as reliable as traditional sources; on the other hand, blogs at times drive coverage of stories by traditional news outlets because they may have less to fear and less to lose.

Sarah Janecek is the publisher of Politics in Minnesota (PIM), which began as a snail-mail newsletter and has evolved into a weekly electronic report, an online morning news aggregation and a political directory. PIM was the first in the nation to combine advertising with political information, and the continuing challenge has been how to monetize their work and flex their delivery as the model of news consumption has changed. She mentioned the need to consider what it´s like to live your whole life online, and how to appeal to people who eat, breathe and sleep the Internet—people under a certain age feel that if something isn´t available online, it doesn´t exist. Ultimately, she believes the creator of the content needs to be the seller of the content, and the fact that her offerings have been relationship-based has allowed her to flourish.

Social Media in Libraries
By Julia Covington, North Carolina

The presenters for this session were Tracey Baker, assistant head of reference, Minnesota Historical Society Library; Dennis Skrade, head of technical services, Minnesota State Law Library; and Marian Rengel, outreach coordinator, Minnesota Digital Library, St. Cloud. The speakers told us about their library-developed Web 2.0 projects.

Tracey Baker (Minnesota Historical Society Library) described two interesting tools her library developed to gather user content: WOTR and Placeography.

WOTR (“write on the record,” pronounced “water”) allows website visitors to annotate digital content, much like a blog reader can respond to the blog entries. Visitors can easily add comments about records such as birth, death and census indexes, and photo and art databases. WOTR has been a great success because it is built on rich databases, has minimal registration requirements, there’s been positive staff involvement, and the comments are streamlined. More information here: http://people.mnhs.org/shared/annotate/wotr_description.html

Placeography is a semantic wiki containing photos, architectural history and information about Minnesota buildings (more than 1,200 so far). Individuals, historical societies and preservationists add new information and links to the records. Tracey suggested using Placeography on mobile devices for neighborhood tours. She’s found it challenging to upload images, says a batch import tool is needed, and found it difficult to engage casual interest. More information here: http://www.placeography.org/index.php/Main_Page

Dennis Skrade (Minnesota State Law Library) talked about his library’s Twitter presence. As he and his director discussed ways to market the State Law Library, they rejected Facebook and blogs (too much verbiage and time) in favor of the simple-to-use Twitter (maximum 140 characters per tweet). He always tries to make his tweets interesting and relevant and makes Friday tweets humorous. Here’s a link to the Minnesota State Law Library Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/StateLawLibrary

Marian Rengel is outreach coordinator for the Minnesota Digital Library (MDL), a collaboration of university and government libraries, archives, historical societies and museums across Minnesota. MDL’s biggest project is “Minnesota Reflections”—an online and searchable digital collection of more than 40,000 unique photographs and images, maps, journals, documents, letters and works of art, compiled by more than 95 participating institutions. A page dedicated to the “Social Side of Minnesota Reflections” allows users to add comments and share stories about the images in the database. Marian showed us an interesting example from the collection , a letter about the Jesse James gang’s raid on a local bank. All handwritten objects are transcribed so the documents are searchable. Take a closer look at the MDL here: http://www.mndigital.org/

Preserving State Government Digital Information: the NDIIPP Project
By Julia Covington, North Carolina

Minnesota State Archivist Bob Horton gave a detailed summary of the Minnesota Historical Society’s role in the Library of Congress’ National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). NDIIPP’s goal is to develop a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations.

Minnesota's role in NDIIPP centers on legislative records, which increasingly are created digitally rather than on paper, giving rise to the potential for greater transparency and access. New challenges also arise; however, such as how to preserve these records and make them available, especially records created only in digital form.

As part of NDIPP, Minnesota developed a multi-year project to work with selected state legislatures and historical societies to explore methods to preserve and provide enhanced online access to legislative materials in digital form. With “A Model Technological and Social Architecture for the Preservation of State Government Digital Information,” the Minnesota Historical Society is leading the effort to create a system for capturing, managing and providing access to state legislative records.

Mr. Horton outlined the areas the Minnesota project will examine. These include preservation issues such as disaster recovery, legal framework, the complexity of systems and increased public attention and expectations; policy framework issues such as privacy, transparency, costs and return on investment; and sustainability issues such as integration into ongoing routines and collaboration. He also explained that the archivists role is to add value, facilitate use and ensure long-term preservation.
We look forward to following the progress of this project! For additional information click here: http://www.mnhs.org/preserve/records/legislativerecords/

West Tour
By Mary Camp, Texas

Friday morning, we headed to Egan, Minn., for a tour of the West Data Center, a Thomson Reuters business. We were greeted by Mark Copalin, Bill Odean, Tod Eggenberger and Jeff Stone, who had fresh coffee and pastries waiting for us.

Mark began by explaining that West is open 24-7, 365 days a year and has more than 7,000 employees. He then briefly explained how the company is a city within a city. Employees have access to a frame shop, dry cleaners and a coffee shop, to name a few. He then described how incoming calls are routed, how deadlines are met and inquiries kept confidential.

Bill and Tod described the process for compiling codes and regulations. They informed us that West now publishes all 50 states. According to Bill, the value-added is the title line, footnotes, cross references and notes of decision. The key system is also what sets West apart from other vendors. Just last year, they processed more than 20,000 new laws.

Jeff then discussed the role of the reference attorneys on staff. He said all laws are routed to a reference attorney assigned to a specific area of law—that, in turn, use the same connectors and terms throughout all 50 states, allowing over all consistency and continuity.

We then headed to the library where we met a native Texan, Cindy Schriber. The library was amazing! Cindy explained that the library began as a publishing house and expanded as other companies were acquired, and that the collection currently contains more than 350,000 volumes. We then were allowed to browse through "our" state’s section.

She went on to describe how the library is involved in the process of verifying "to the books" all new laws and that the attorneys spend a lot of time in the library. She is routinely involved in researching and tracking legislative intent.

We proceeded to the cafeteria, looked out the window, and saw the enormous production facility—which stretched as far as you could see. That's where we met Jim Klimer, who gave us a tour of the data center.

Jim explained that there are three data centers. They employ more than 500 employees and have more than 100,000 square feet of raised flooring. He showed us the call center tracking system, where more than 23,000 inquires come in per SECOND!
The data centers were amazing. The enormous rooms full of green blinking lights went on forever. They have miles and miles of cabling for the computer systems that provide a back-up system to the back-up system. Jim showed us the diesel-powered generators that stand ready to take over if electrical power is lost.

The entire facility was truly outstanding. Everyone we met was generous with their time and shared their expertise. It was obvious that a lot of thought was devoted to planning and designing a very successful facility.

Lobbyists as Information Providers and Information Seekers—or, Blackberriers Were Merely Fruit 10 Years Ago
By Betsy Haugen and Robbie LaFleur, Minnesota

After lunch in the restored Rathskeller Cafeteria, sponsored by West, a Thomson Reuters business, we heard from three seasoned lobbyists who discussed lobbyists' use of technology and how they communicate with legislators.

Phil Griffin, a long-time health care lobbyist, felt the amendment process has deteriorated, with the propensity for members to add many amendments in only slightly different versions. It’s difficult to track and is burdensome to staff members who help with drafting. It would be better if bills were more fully processed at the committee level.

TV and the Internet have effectively connected his clients all the time. He held up his i-Phone—“my leash,” he noted. Clients watch the proceedings all the time, too, often causing needless panic. They don’t understand that words sometimes can be political posturing or that bills and amendments can be introduced that have little chance of passage.

Iris Freeman lobbies primarily for nonprofits on long-term care and Alzheimer’s policy. She commented that, even with the speed of technology and the openness of proceedings to the public, “Immediacy doesn’t mean we’ve gotten rid of illusion,” and much of what goes on at the legislature relies on illusion. She calls the largely unpaid lobbying by nonprofits and academics “applied advocacy.”

Ms. Freeman’s handout provided a fascinating comparison of how technology was used during the process of passing a bill in 1980, 1995 and 2009. For example, snail mail letters were sent to mobilize supporters in the late ’70s; email bulletins and a wiki kept supporters in contact this year. Iris noted that, with the speed of technology, expectations for lobbyists are higher to know everything, all the time.

John Tuma, a former legislator, now lobbies on behalf of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership and other clients. He described some of the sophisticated marketing and tracking techniques used by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership to identify supporters of the group’s issues. He said when he began lobbying, the mass blast lobbying efforts ended. Then organizations instructed large groups of their supporters to send a postcard or phone call to legislators. Groups now realize that legislators are more attuned to the messages that come from their own districts, and from grass tops, active community leaders whose opinions legislators value.

All three panelists stressed that personal relationships are still an important part of successful lobbying. It is getting people engaged in and excited about what you are doing. They also agreed that the need for access to information—and libraries—is as strong as ever.

In response to the question, “Are legislators smarter with increased immediate access to technology and the Web?” John Tuma noted that it might make them dumber in some cases if they rely on unverified information on the Web. He said when he was in the legislature and a committee chair, he didn’t make any claims unless his committee administrator confirmed their accuracy.

Even though the pace might be accelerated, Phil told two stories to demonstrate the huge changes brought by technology have improved the process to some degree. He remembered being in a committee hearing at 4:48 a.m. when a handwritten amendment was passed to a chair and added to a bill. That amendment put his client out of business. There is too much transparency for that to happen today. Second, Phil told a story he heard from one of his lobbying mentors, John Tracy Anderson. Senator Anderson was a former minority leader who afterwards lobbied for Blue Cross for many years. He told Phil about a tax bill being drafted by a secretary—not a legislative secretary, but one at a railroad office. When Sen. Tracy asked for a copy of the bill, he was told by the majority leader, “I’ll send you a copy in the mail, after it’s passed.”

Using Technology to Open Access to the Legislative Process
By Shelley Day, Utah

As we made ourselves comfortable for this session, we learned how the following presenters collaborate with one another and constantly improve services to citizens, legislators and staff.

Barry LaGrave (House, Public Information Services) shared with us those services provided to the membership that include a nonpartisan, 24-page summary of each week's events during session; online news service updated during session; online summaries of all new laws; legislative directories; live TV coverage of floor sessions and select committee hearings and press conferences; DVDs and audio CDs; press releases; and photo services of members and legislative activities.

Mike Speiker (House, Web Manager) demonstrated his expertise and comfort as a programmer and showed us some nifty wonders on the Web. Without brains like Mike's that understand how to build programs, many of our ideas would be moot.

Mike Schatz, (Reference Library, Information Analyst) a man of all trades, humbly shared how our 2009 PDS host library provides table of contents services for every subscription, sending links via email with a bibliography of each, so patrons can order articles of interest that are scanned and emailed in PDF.

Steve Senyk (Senate, Media Services) enthusiastically shared how he manages creation and production of diverse programming to raise public awareness of the Senate and state government activities and to provide perspective to issues at hand, including gavel-to-gavel broadcast coverage, news updates, informative segments, and a weekly PBS-distributed public affairs program.

Presenters made it clear that Minnesota places a high priority on the use of technology to solicit citizens to join the circle of policymakers year round. What a great state model!

Capitol Tour
By Julia Covington, North Carolina

Late Friday afternoon, we were treated to a tour of the Minnesota State Capitol. First, we made a short stop at the governor’s reception room. There we saw beautiful paintings depicting scenes from Minnesota’s history and gilded, wood-carved walls portraying Minnesota symbols such as wheat, squirrels and gophers.

Our next stop was the House Chamber, where we were warmly welcomed by Albin Mathiowetz, chief clerk, Minnesota House. Mr. Mathiowetz told us about the history of the chamber and described the artwork. The chamber, now 109 years old, was designed before the invention of PA systems; wells are situated throughout for acoustical purposes. The electronic voting board was added in 1939. Highlights of artwork included a replica portrait of George P. A. Healy’s Abraham Lincoln located at the front of the chamber, above and behind the speaker. We then viewed the House retiring room, located behind the House chamber. It is open only to members and a few select staff for informal meetings and resting. A bell rings in the retiring room when a roll call vote is about to take place, summoning members into the chamber.

Next, we were off to the Senate chamber where we were greeted by Scott Magnuson, director of the Senate Information Office. The Senate chamber is decorated with carved and gilded wood and has a domed ceiling. Busts of former U.S. senators line the top of the chamber, and public galleries are situated above on both sides.

As a special treat, we next headed up the winding staircase to the roof to view the Quadriga. "Progress of the State," made from hand-hammered copper and steel covered in gold-leaf, was sculpted by Daniel Chester French and Edward Potter and placed on the Capitol in 1906. The four horses represent the power of nature: earth, wind, fire and water. The women symbolize civilization and the man standing on the chariot represents prosperity.

Thanks to all of our "tour guides" for introducing us to this beautiful and inspiring Capitol!

LRL Business Meeting Minutes—October 17, 2009

Attendees: Jackie Curro (Immediate Past Chair, Md.), Elizabeth Lincoln (Chair, Minn.), Shelley Day (Chair-Elect, Utah), Mary Camp (Secretary, Texas), Robbie LaFleur (Minn.), Frances Thomas (La.), Julia Covington (N.C.), Leslie J. F. Polson (Canada), Heather Morton (NCSL Staff, Colo.)

Welcome and Introductions: Elizabeth convened the meeting at 9:15 am and welcomed everyone.

Approve Minutes: Jackie moved to approve the minutes from the previous meeting. Frances seconded the motion. The minutes were approved unanimously (9 yeas, 0 nays).

Discussion of 2010 PDS Location: Elizabeth announced that one option open to the LRL group for the 2010 PDS would be to combine our group's session with another group. The advantages and disadvantages to this scenario include:

  • advantage-cost effective
  • disadvantage-less control over agenda content

Jackie suggested that perhaps we should parallel with another group for the social functions but conduct separate meetings. She mentioned that it would keep costs down, since the budget climate is of concern to all possible participants. Heather pointed out that a disadvantage to meeting with another section is having to share the overhead costs for both groups. She reminded us that those costs come off the top.

We reviewed the agenda that listed all the NCSL groups and whether they would meet in 2010. Groups meeting and with which we could possibly combine sessions include:

  • Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (ASLCS) - Milwaukee, WI
  • Information Officers (LINCS) - meeting jointly with Leadership Staff (LSS) - Raleigh, NC
  • Legal Services (LSSS) - undecided, testing two Webinars first
  • Fiscal Officers (NALFO) - Undecided
  • Information Technology (NALIT) - Charleston, WV
  • Program evaluation (NLPES) - sharing hotel space with Services and Security (NLSSA) - Baton Rouge, LA

Groups not meeting in 2010 include:

  • Research and Committee (RACSS)

Discussion ensued with regard to how the NCSL budget works and what fees are combined or not forgiven even if you share a meeting.

Jackie pointed out that the benefits and drawbacks for staff sections meeting together include:

  • benefit--contracting a hotel guarantees rooms and rates
  • benefit--meeting and working with another group with shared or similar responsibilities promotes networking opportunities
  • benefit--scheduled programs could benefit both groups (for example, legal research or computer uses) and costs could be shared between the groups
  • drawback--paying for hotel rooms that are not used

Shelley suggested combining with Information Officers (LINCS).

Frances expressed location concerns and suggested that thought should be given to the "best" location which may enable more people to participate.

Heather explained the "HUB city model" meeting, for example, Chicago may be a good choice for hotel rates and meeting facilities.
Jackie expressed the need to plan two years out.

Elizabeth mentioned the need to have a library in the city—and that part of the draw for the LRL group was being able to tour the library, which means being in a capitol city.

Robbie further expressed the need for it to be a legislative library. She suggested we throw our efforts into attending and participating in the 2010 annual summit in Kentucky.

Heather mentioned that the LRL section will meet while in Kentucky, NCSL will drop one day off the schedule, and all staff sections will meet together in a "mega session."

Frances said that she felt that having smaller dinners and group meetings was one of the best parts of our sessions because she is able to visit one-on-one and share ideas of how to handle certain library issues.

Jackie pointed out that to "just participate" in the annual conference is more expensive in general than a section PDS.

Elizabeth reminded everyone that some states have to look at program content and must measure that against actual job descriptions to justify participation and gain travel approval.

Frances mentioned that local newspapers often report how many people participate in the annual NCSL meetings along with associated costs.

Jackie pointed out that some states will have to choose between attending the PDS or the annual summit.

Shelley suggested that we may want to consider e-conferencing or teleconferencing as an alternative meeting format.

Frances said that some states are facing further budget reductions and will have even less money for travel and meeting participation in 2011.

Heather conveyed that NCSL officials anticipate further reductions in budgets for program areas.

Jackie proposed no PDS for the LRL section in 2010.

Elizabeth suggested waiting to see where the Legal Services (LSSS) section will meet and perhaps joining them.

Heather explained that LSSS is undecided for 2010. Further, she explained that LSSS is trying to have a webinar that will qualify for CLE. She also mentioned an e-learning grant with a one-hour maximum is all any one person can take.

Shelley expressed wanting to keep communication open and that "something is better than nothing" with regard to making contact between members of the LRL group.

Frances said that perhaps more libraries could participate electronically.

Heather asked if the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) or Special Libraries Association (SLA) would be interested in a joint program.

Jackie said "travel is travel," and some states just cannot travel at all.

Frances expressed concern about the group getting too big and that the program content may not be that closely related to what our responsibilities entail.

Elizabeth recapped our options:

  • do nothing
  • focus on the LRL group meeting in Kentucky at annual summit
  • wait and see what other groups do and possibly join in

Heather suggested we conduct a survey now and then later after budgets are decided. Further, she pointed out that a large cost savings could be recognized with "no" hotel guarantee room contracts and that we should wait until later in the year to see how budgets are shaping up.

Elizabeth moved to table the decision and to further discuss on listserv. Shelley seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously (9 yeas, 0 nays).

Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee Update: Elizabeth will write up and send out a longer explanation, but in summary:

  • more conferences
  • NCSL is doing better financially
  • staff sections balanced their budgets
  • attendance was higher than in previous years

E-Learning Grant: Elizabeth explained that e-learning is a way to continue to educate staff who cannot attend the meetings. She advised us that the LRL section needs to come up with ideas to participate, and the deadline is December 31 for money to be awarded to sections or program development. Further, if we miss the deadline for submission, then the money will go to another group. She said that the grants are for $1,000 each and that the application process consists of writing one paragraph.

Jackie suggested that a sub-section get together and work on an idea. Elizabeth will post on listserv.

Robbie suggested a short webinar featuring member/legislator databases might be interesting.

Elizabeth will send out an announcement on the listserv and conduct a conference call to establish a group to work on ideas for submission.

Update on Web Update/Regional Coordinators Project: Jackie announced that they did not do anything. Elizabeth and Jackie will talk and get information from all states and update the page.

Recognition of Host State: Jackie presented Robbie with a plaque in appreciation for hosting the 2009 PDS. Elizabeth said that she will put the award on the wall, and has "just the spot" for it.

Other Business: Elizabeth announced that, except for Robbie's slide show, that there was "no" other business. Robbie gave a moving presentation on her recent trip to Berlin, Germany, which focused on Life: Since the Wall Came Down, 20 Years Ago.

Adjournment: Without further business or announcements, Elizabeth moved to adjourn the meeting. Jackie seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously (9 yeas, 0 nays).

Meeting adjourned 11:18am.

Respectfully submitted by Mary Camp, Secretary, 17 October 2009.

NCSL Publications


  • Alternative and Advanced Fuels: State Policy Options—Andersen (WEB)
  • Education at a Crossroads: A New Path for Federal and State Education Policy—Shreve
  • Improving Coverage: Strengthening the Health Care Safety Net—Tobler (limited # printed; WEB)
  • Improving Coverage: Using Public Programs to Expand Health Insurance Coverage—Tobler (limited # printed; WEB)
  • Injury and Violence Policy: Strategies for Prevention 2009—Bondurant (NOT FOR SALE)
  • Redistricting Law 2010—Storey et al.
  • Women’s Network Newsletter—Ziegler
  • Youth Tobacco Use: What States Can Do to Reduce Youth Access—Kelty (Online Only)

October 2009

  • Economic Gardening: A Homegrown Approach to Economic Development—October 2009, Vol. 17, No. 37
  • Connecting Student-Teacher Data—October 2009, Vol. 17, No. 38
  • General Aviation 101—October 2009, Vol. 17, No. 39
  • Taking DNA Samples from Arrestees—October 2009, Vol. 17, No. 40
  • Curbing Teen Tobacco Use—October 2009, Vol. 17, No. 41
  • Learning Beyond the School Day—October 2009, Vol. 17, No. 42

November–December 2009

  • Immigration and State Law Enforcement: Federal 287(g) Cooperative Agreements—Vol. 47, No. 43
  • Unintentional Childhood Injuries—Vol. 17, No. 44
  • Companion Animals and Consumers’ Rights—Vol. 17, No. 45
  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Charging Up Energy Efficiency—Vol. 17, No. 46
  • Reducing Skin Cancer Risks—Vol. 17, No. 47
  • Addressing Distracted Driving—Vol. 17, No. 48

January 2010

  • The Economic Benefits of Breastfeeding—Vol. 18, No. 2
  • Ignition Interlock Devices: Starting Your Engine Sober—Vol. 18, No. 3
  • Medication Therapy Management: Catching Errors, Saving Lives and Money—Vol. 18, No. 4
  • Community Health Centers in the Economic Downturn—Vol. 18, No. 5
  • Credit Card Reforms for Students—Vol. 18, No. 6
  • Recovery Act Funding for Workforce Training for Adults—Vol. 18, No. 7