2011 Spring Forum Agenda 

as of April 7, 2011

Labor and Economic Development Committee

Thursday | Friday | Saturday

Thursday, April 14, 2011

8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Labor and Economic Development Committee Hill Visits

Transportation will be on your own

This is an opportunity for all committee members to meet with their Congressional representatives on a one-on-one basis. Please contact NCSL Diana Hinton Noel or Michael Reed if you require assistance in arranging your meetings.

11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Lincoln 3--Exhibition Level

Steering Committee Meeting
The Steering Committee is comprised of the overall standing committee officers and the legislator chair and staff chair, or their designee, of each standing committee.  Members will review the committees' plans for the Spring Forum, preview any policies anticipated for debate, and make determinations regarding joint and re-referral of the policy resolutions if necessary.

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Wilson B--Mezzanine Level

Coordination of Disability Benefits
When the Social Security Act was amended in 1981, it limited the total benefits a permanently disabled worker could receive from workers compensation and Social Security disability benefits to 80% of the worker’s pre-injury wages.  But because the benefits aren’t adjusted for inflation, the value of benefits has eroded over time.  This session will examine current laws and explore options for better coordination of benefits, in updating NCSL’s policy position.


Representative Lana Gordon, Kansas, Chair, NCSL Labor and Economic Development Committee


Keith Bateman, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Illinois

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm 
Wilson B--Mezzanine Level

Ensuring Retirement Security
Joint with the Women's Legislative Network

The financial integrity and long-term solvency of the Social Security system are critical to retirees and survivors, as well as for workers paying into the system.  In addition, many state workers are not covered by Social Security and must rely on state pensions for their retirement benefits.  This session will examine the finances of Social Security, explore options for ensuring its long-term stability, and consider options for including all workers in the system, as part of a review of NCSL’s current policy.


Andrea Wilko, Ph.D., Utah, Immediate Past Staff chair, NCSL Labor and Economic Development Committee


  • Joyce Manchester, Congressional Budget Office, Washington, D.C. 
  • Elaine Ryan, AARP, Washington, D.C.
  • Jeannine Markoe Raymond, National Association of State Retirement Administrators, Washington, D.C.
  • Cathie Eitelberg, The Segal Company, Washington, D.C.

4:15 pm - 5:30 pm
Thurgood Southwest--Mezzanine Level

Opening Plenary
John Morton is director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Mr. Morton has strengthened ICE's investigative efforts, and has focused ICE's efforts to remove criminal offenders, recent border violators, those who ignore removal orders, and those who obtain legal immigration status fraudulently.

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Thurgood Northeast--Mezzanine Level

Opening Reception

Friday, April 15, 2011

7:30 am - 9:00 am
Thurgood Southwest--Mezzanine Level

Plenary Breakfast
Karen Bass, a California congresswoman who honed her political skills in the state Legislature, is serving her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Bass made history when she became the first African American woman in the nation to serve as speaker.

9:15 am - 12:30 pm
Wilson B--Mezzanine Level

Working Session on Trade: A Conversation with USTR
Representatives from the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s office will update the committee on a variety of trade issues as well as address some of the concerns listed in expiring NCSL policy (World Trade Organization Negotiations and Presidential Trade Promotion Authority).  Committee members will spend the remaining time discussing potential updates or changes with these policies for action at the Legislative Summit.


Representative Brent Yonts, Kentucky, Chair, NCSL Labor and Economic Development Committee


  • Thomas Fine, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Washington, D.C.
  • Luis Jimenez, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Washington, D.C.
  • Myesha Ward, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Washington, D.C.
  • Chris Wilson, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Washington, D.C.

12:45 pm - 2:45 pm
Thurgood Southwest--Mezzanine Level

Plenary Luncheon
Friday's keynote speaker is Jim Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He previously served 30 years representing southeastern Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he founded and co-chaired the Congressional Humanities Caucus.  Leach will be speaking to Spring Forum attendees about civility, and the importance of bipartisanship and civil disagreement in creating a stronger and more cohesive nation.

12:45 pm - 1:30 pm 
Thurgood North--Mezzanine Level

Steering Committee (opposite General Session)
The Steering Committee will review policies reported from the standing committees and determine the calendar for the Spring Forum’s business meeting.

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm 
Wilson AB --Mezzanine Level

Bankruptcy, Defaults, Debt, Pensions. Do States Need a Federal Rescue?
Budgets and Revenue Committee; Labor and Economic Development Committee; Law and Criminal Justice Committee

Do states need the federal government to authorize bankruptcy protection for them, fix state pensions, and statutorily guard against state and local government debt obligation defaults? Engage in a thorough discussion and examination of these issues and policy alternatives with federal policymakers, academics and meeting participants.

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Thurgood North--Mezzanine Level

Spring Forum Business Meeting 

The business meeting features consideration of policy resolutions that the 12 Standing Committees adopted earlier in the Forum. Come discuss and vote on the policy resolutions that guide NCSL's advocacy efforts before Congress and the administration. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

8:00 am - 2:00 pm