Amendments to the NCSL By-Law and Rules of Procedure

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The NCSL Executive Committee has undertaken a two year project to revitalize the policy formation process to ensure that the Conference’s advocacy before Congress and the administration is clear, concise and targets vital state federal issues.  As you may recall, at last year’s Legislative Summit in San Antonio, members approved a number of important changes to NCSL’s By-Laws and Rules of Procedure that transformed the policy development process and enhanced the Conference’s bipartisan stature.  Standing committee members have worked over the last year to reduce the number of policy statements and lengthy preambles to concise and clear policy directives. 
 
The Executive Committee also mandated that the policy process be as transparent as possible.  Over the past year, an Executive Committee Working Group developed a proposal to ensure that the introduction of amendments is as transparent as the introduction of policy directives and resolutions.  All legislators, legislative staff and representatives of the public and private sector must have sufficient notice about new policy directives, resolutions and amendments while leaving flexibility for changes when necessary.
 
The Executive Committee has approved further amendments to the By-Laws and Rules of Procedure that meets the goal of transparency and further refines the policy process.  Members will consider these changes during the General Business Meeting at the Legislative Summit.
 
Amendment Summary

Core Principles: NCSL will “represent the states and their legislatures in the American federal system of government consistent with support of state sovereignty and state flexibility and protection from underfunded federal mandates and unwarranted federal preemption.”

Policy Directives: All policy directives of the Conference shall not expire but must be reviewed by the standing committee of jurisdiction at least once every four years and can be updated and amended at any time.  The Steering Committee is tasked to ensure this review occurs.

Challenges to Policy Directives:  A policy directive could be challenged that it fails to meet Rule VII [D], “Policy directives and resolutions developed by the standing committees shall be directed at Congress, the Administration, or the federal courts, and shall be related to issues that affect the states.”  An amendment to the Rules of Procedure would require that any policy directive, resolution or amendment introduced prior to the a meeting of the standing committees that is the subject of a Rule VII [D] challenge shall be decided by a majority vote of the full Steering Committee.

Introduction of Amendments: Amendments to existing policy directives shall be introduced at least 30 days prior to the business meeting of the Fall / Spring Forum and the Legislative Summit and amendments to proposed policy directives and resolutions must be introduced at least 10 days prior to the business meeting. Amendments filed after that deadline, can only be considered with the consent of the Steering Committee.  Amendments introduced during the Business Meeting of a standing committee that changes the intent of the underlying motion would require a three-fourths approval of the member jurisdictions present as of the most recent quorum call in a standing committee.  Amendments defeated in a standing committee can be considered on the floor of the General Business Meeting with the consent of five member jurisdictions.

Terms of Legislative Staff Committee Officers:  The term of legislative staff standing committee officers is being maintained at the current one year term.