Changes to the NCSL Standing Committees Effective July 1, 2013
Dear Standing Committee Members
On June 1, the Executive Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), in approving the Conference's budget for fiscal year 2014, made changes to the NCSL Standing Committees. Those changes will allow NCSL to address some structural issues that will enhance our ability to hire and maintain high quality staff in both of our offices in Denver and Washington, D.C.
Under the budget, the NCSL Standing Committees on Health and Human Services and Welfare are merged into a new Health and Human Services Committee. The NCSL Standing Committees on Environment and Energy, Transportation and Agriculture are merging into a new Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee. These mergers were made based on various factors, including a large overlap of legislators and legislative staff serving on the merged committees, the large number of joint committee programming between both sets of committees and in the case of the Environment and Energy, Transportation and Agriculture consolidation, a number of policy directives and resolutions shared by both committees.
The merger of these two set of committees will take effect July 1, 2013, the start of the Conference's new fiscal year. This means the two new committees will meet during the Legislative Summit, August 12-15, in Atlanta. All the committee members of the Health Committee and the Human Services and Welfare Committee will be members of the new Health and Human Services Committee. Likewise, all the members of the Environment Committee and the Energy, Transportation and Agriculture Committee will be members of the new Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee. The legislator officers of the four committees will continue to serve as officers of the respective new committees until the end of the Legislative Summit in Minnesota in 2014. The legislative staff officers will serve as officers of the new committees until the end of the Legislative Summit in Atlanta this August.
The budget also eliminates the Spring Forum, thereby reducing the number of times the Standing Committees meet from three to two. This year while the programming for the Spring Forum was excellent, our attendance was down for the fourth straight year due to the increasing time legislatures are in session. We will continue with Standing Committee meetings during the annual Legislative Summit and the December Legislative Forum, previously the Fall Forum. The new Legislative Forum will be held in Washington, D.C., and will include a day on Capitol Hill.
I am pleased that we were able to make these changes without having to reduce current staff and still provide the savings the Executive Committee desired to address a deficiency in our ability to attract and keep staff.
I appreciate your participation in these committees and I want you to know that we will monitor the new merged committees to ensure that the work you have been doing on policies and issues will not be diminished in the new structure. As we implement these changes, I would ask that you let me know if you have any concerns or questions.
William T. Pound
National Conference of State Legislatures