Summit logoWomen's Legislative Network Events at the 2011 Legislative Summit

August 8-11, 2011

San Antonio, Texas 


Visit the Legislative Summit multimedia page for videos! And check out the Resources page with links to all session documents.

Monday, August 8, 2011

 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

202 A, Concourse Level

Network Executive Board Meeting

Network board members, Advisory Council members, Alliance sponsors, and friends gathered to review the year and look ahead to 2012. Meeting minutes available upon request.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Lila Cockrell Theater, Street Level

General Session 

Jim Collins, author of the mega-hit Good to Great and expert on how great businesses—led by great leaders—endure, grow and maintain top performance, guided the audience in making the leap from good to great. Collins' work has been featured in Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Harvard Business Review and Fast Company.

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

213 B, Concourse Level

Tools for Stressful Times

Cosponsored with the NCSL Legislative Effectiveness Committee and the National Legislative Program Evaluation Society

Legislators faced dozens of tough decisions in the 2011 session, and there will be more hard work in 2012. Budget challenges, constituent needs, redistricting and the looming campaign season place unprecedented demands on lawmakers’ time. The Women's Legislative Network, Legislative Effectiveness Committee, and the NLPES agreed that it was time for a session about time management, dealing with stress and balancing work, family and community responsibilities.

Speaker: Mike Collins, The Perfect Workday, North Carolina

Mike Collins engaged the group by helping participants determine the stresses in their lives and personal trigger points (“what gets your goat”). He described the impact of death, job change, money troubles and other events in our lives and helped people establish personal rituals to allow them to relax and refocus when dealing with stressful situations. Using the process, you can pull yourself into a positive frame of mind even if others are pressuring you. In these situations, Mike stressed looking at:

·         What’s the fun in this?

·         What strength can I use?

·         What strength can I build?

Mike spent some time helping the group to look at positivity in broader terms. He had each participant identify five key areas of positivity in their lives and gave tips on how to keep that perspective at hand as stresses occurr in the workplace. For each situation we incur, there is an active event, a belief and a consequence. Our understanding of our ability to control our belief can help us consistently respond well to this stress. 

He also highlighted the amount of time we all spend worrying about things we cannot control and noted that we need to plan our best and have confidence in our ability to adjust when circumstances require us to do so. Lastly, he led the participants through an exercise where they charted their well-being in categories of health, work, relationships and mental state and gave suggestions for how to deal with the assessments.

1:45 pm - 3:15 pm

213 B, Concourse Level

Caucus Strategic Planning

Cosponsored with the NCSL Legislative Effectiveness Committee and the NCSL Leadership Staff Section

Legislative caucuses need to plan ahead to craft their message, achieve policy and budget successes and promote their individual members. This session shared tips on strategic planning initiatives that identify priorities and energize a caucus. 

Moderator: Tom Wright, Office of the Speaker, Alaska

Panelists: Representative Anna Fairclough, Alaska

Representative Marilyn Lee, Hawaii

Christopher Rants, The Legacy Foundation, Iowa 


Tom Wright discussed the benefits that the Alaska House Republicans gained in working with NCSL to create a strategic planning retreat and he introduced the presenters.

Christopher Rants described his role in that retreat. He was the former speaker in Iowa and had led certain planning efforts within his own caucus. Coming in as a neutral and knowledgeable facilitator, he could use his skills to help the Alaska House Republicans to step out of their day-to-day concerns. The planning takes time, but it allows the group to focus and prioritize, all while gaining buy-in from the caucus members. Using snow cards (a process where people write out their own priorities on sticky notes and the group organizes them into categories) and other techniques designed to get input from everyone, the process insures that the quiet members have equal input and no one person dominates.   The process allows the group to identify key areas for further discussion and the retreat setting provides a safe place for candid talk. Using a facilitator, the members can concentrate on solely providing their own input. Creating the plan allows them to craft a message for the public, keep their caucus focused on the important things and establish a sense of credibility and pride.

Representative Fairclough described the experience from the perspective of a participant. The Alaska House Republicans identified five key goals:

·         Fiscal responsibility

·         Responsible resource development

·         Access to affordable energy

·         Excellent schools and workforce development

·         Safe and healthy communities

Rep. Fairclough explained how the caucus held forums after the retreat on each of the topics and allowed members to decide the areas on which they wanted to focus. The caucus members developed bills to address the priorities and left the power in the committees to shape the legislation. The leadership would periodically remind the caucus members of the principles that they had jointly developed. She thought it was an extremely valuable experience and her last tip was to always be concerned with messaging---be ready to explain your positions clearly.

Representative Marilyn Lee described a number of different caucuses in Hawaii. In addition to the traditional majority and minority caucuses, Rep. Lee highlighted the Kapuna (elder) and Women’s caucuses, which are bipartisan. The women’s caucus in Hawaii has existed for almost 25 years and focuses on the diverse needs of women, children and families.   The caucus selects a theme for the year (compassion is this year’s theme) and solicits input from interested groups. The goal is to create a package of bills that can be supported by a majority of members. The planning process is driven by those who can attend the meetings, but detailed minutes are sent out so interested people can keep up and the work is transparent. The caucus uses a press conference, press releases and social media to focus attention on their work. Lastly, Rep. Lee thanked the legislative staff of the caucus members who help move the work forward, noted the importance of developing written drafts of legislation early in the process so people are clear on what is in the package and observed the value of creating talking points.


5:00 pm - 6:00 pm 

Parkview Lobby, Concourse Level

Network Reception

The Network's annual reception honored incoming president Hawaii Representative Marilyn Lee, the Network executive board, and female lawmakers around the world.  


Rep. Rosie Berger addresses the reception attendees


Hawaii group

The Hawaii delegation gathered to celebrate Rep. Marilyn Lee's ascendance to the presidency


6:00 pm - 8:00 pm 

Social Event: An Evening in Old San Antonio!

Attendees savored the flavors of Fiesta during the opening reception at La Villita. The streets of “Old San Antone” came alive as the historic downtown village was transformed into an authentic Fiesta. They experienced the sights, sounds and flavors that make San Antonio one of Texas’ most celebrated destinations: delicious traditional Tex-Mex fare; brightly colored piñatas and papel picados in Maverick Square; and performances by mariachis and ballet folklorico dancers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

6:30 am - 8:00 am 

Walk for Wellness

More than 150 legislators, legislative staff, and other NCSL friends came out for a 5K walk/run through historic HemisFair Park.

The walk is dedicated to raising awareness of the devastating effects heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity have for our nation as a whole, while drawing special attention to the health disparities that exist in minority and underserved communities.

The walk was sponsored by:

  • National Asian Pacific Americans Caucus of State Legislators
  • National Black Caucus of State Legislators
  • National Caucus of Native American State Legislators
  • National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators
  • Women's Legislative Network of NCSL
  • Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee
  • NCSL Health Committee

NCSL gratefully acknowledges the support of the American Beverage Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Physical Therapy Association, the Coca-Cola Company, the International Bottled Water Association, and Nestlé Waters North America.

 Walk Warm Up

Participants warm-up with stretches

 Walk Start

The beginning of the Walk for Wellness


8:30 am - 9:45 am 

Lila Cockrell Theater, Street Level

General Session

This second General Session of NCSL's 2011 Legislative Summit opened with incoming NCSL President Kansas Senate President Stephen Morris and included an appearance by the astronatus who flew on the final mission of space shuttle Atlantis.

Texas Governor Rick Perry is “Fed Up” with Washington regulations, mandates and intrusion into state decisions. Author of Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington, Perry is a staunch advocate of the 10th Amendment, believing that states should have the freedom to determine programs that best fit their respective state.

Video recording of Sentor Morris and NASA astronauts Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim.

Video recording of Governor Perry's address.

11:30 am - 1:00 pm 

201, Concourse Level

Network Luncheon and Business Meeting: Women in the Military

The session began with the annual Network business meeting and elections.  Representative Marilyn Lee, Hawaii, was elected president, and several other legislators were elected to new positions on the board. Legislators were also elected to the Advisory Council.

Following the business meeting, attendees heard keynote presentations about the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center and Grace After Fire, an organization that supports female veterans.

Presiding: Representative Rosie Berger, Wyoming


Rebecca Hooper, Center For the Intrepid, Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas. The threefold mission of the Center is to provide rehabilitation for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom casualties who have sustained amputation, burns, or functional limb loss; to provide education to Department of Defense and Department of Veterans’ Affairs professionals on cutting edge rehabilitation modalities; and to promote research in the fields of Orthopedics, prosthetics and physical and occupational rehabilitation. Col. Hooper discussed the amazing technology the Center uses as part of its rehabilitation program for wounded warriors, and shared stories of some of the women who have benefitted from the Center's programs and gone on to achieve and exceed their goals.

Kimberly Olson, executive director, Grace After Fire. This Texas-based non-profit organization is dedicated to providing outreach to all women veterans and their families, offering confidential peer support and increased access to appropriate trauma, mental health, addiction, and community services. Col. Olson discussed some of the unique challenges female veterans face and why it is so important for women to have access to a peer support network.

Link to video shown as part of Kim Olson's presentation. 

Board Group

Current and former Network Board Members

Lunch Group

l-r: Rep. Rosie Berger, Rebecca Hooper, Kim Olson, Rep. Marilyn Lee


2:30 pm - 3:45 pm 

218, Concourse Level

Preparing for Bringing Home the Troops

NCSL Task Force on Military and Veterans' Affairs

With the end of combat in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom, America's troops will continue to return home to installations, bases and communities that will feel the stress of growth and expansion. This session explored how various levels of government are preparing to meet the needs of returning members of the military, particularly those with physical and mental injuries.

Speakers: John Garcia, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C.

Lt. General Jack Stultz, Army Reserve, Washington, D.C.

Video recording of the session.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

8:00 am - 9:15 am 

214C, Concourse Level

Spotlight on Human Trafficking

NCSL Law and Criminal Justice Committee, NCSL Human Services Committee, NCSL Task Force on Immigration and the States, Women's Legislative Network, NCSL International Program

Oscar winning actress Mira Sorvino discussed the human trafficking pandemic in the United States and abroad. As a United Nations Goodwill ambassador, her dedication to the issue has taken her across the world and back. Mira discussed state and federal efforts to combat human trafficking and the important role of state lawmakers in partnership with the federal government to prosecute criminals and assist victims.

Moderator: Senator Renee S. Unterman, Georgia

Speaker: Mira Sorvino, United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, California

Video coming soon!

9:30 am - 10:30 am 

Lila Cockrell Theater, Street Level

General Session 

Pollsters Peter Hart and Neil Newhouse know better than anyone what's on the minds of Americans. This Republican and Democratic duo revealed the people's pulse on the economy, what's happening in Washington and who's likely to win in the next elections.

Video recording of the pollsters.

10:45 am - 12:30 pm

Grand Ballroom C-2, Ballroom Level

NCSL Business Meeting 

The Business Meeting includes consideration of policy resolutions that will guide NCSL's advocacy efforts before Congress and the administration, election of NCSL officers and approval of the Conference budget.

NCSL policy positions.

6:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Social Event: Texas Dancehall Revue

The dancehall is a central part of Texas heritage, and we honored its legacy by creating one of the biggest dancehalls you’ll ever see. The evening was a true Texas experience with: authentic chuck wagon barbeque; amadillo races; longhorn cattle; a star studded cast of Texas performers including Grammy Award-winning Ray Benson and the band Asleep at the Wheel.