NCSL's Guide to Leaders and Legislatures 2011

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NCSL's Guide to Leaders and Legislatures 2011 CoverPreface

The November election brought party change to a quarter of state legislatures across the country. But the hundreds of new state lawmakers may hear from their veteran colleagues that at least one thing has not changed: The sluggish economy is going to control the new year’s legislative agenda once again. Money is the starting and stopping point for virtually every state program and service. Based on our latest State Budget Report, we are expecting that budget cuts will again be deep, controversial and painful.

States have always been the laboratories in which policymakers develop visionary solutions to problems which seem overwhelming, and 2011 will be no exception. NCSL has identified the following challenges as the top 11 issues of 2011:

  • Balancing Budgets
  • Reforming State Pensions
  • Jobs for American Workers
  • Interpreting and Implementing Health Reform
  • Redesigning Higher Education
  • Redrawing Districts
  • Lowering Unemployment and Funding Benefits
  • Improving Public Safety
  • Improving Student Achievement and Dropout Rates
  • Addressing Immigration
  • Maintaining Transportation and Infrastructure

This book is a directory of those who lead the leaders: the Speakers of the House, Senate Presidents, Majority and Minority Leaders who guide their chambers toward producing innovative policies that serve the interests of the American people. It also provides a look at the work of NCSL, the organization that brings all the laboratories of democracy together.


William Pound
NCSL Executive Director