Legislative Effectiveness Standing Committee Meeting

April 14-15, 2011

Washington, D.C.

Meeting Session:

Committee Business Meeting

Overview:

Committee officer Representative John Patton and NCSL staff discussed plans for committee sessions at the Legislative Summit 2011.

Summary:

Representative John Patton and Bruce Feustel, NCSL staff, discussed potential committee sessions for the 2011 Legislative Summit. Since there was only one committee officer, no decisions were made. The sessions under consideration so far are:

1. Caucus Strategic Planning
Legislative caucuses need to be successful in getting their message out, achieving policy and budget successes and promoting their individual members. Each caucus has a number of important things to do, but how can they plan strategically to set goals and priorities? This session examines how caucuses have set and kept to their plans. [Example: Alaska strategic planning]

2. What’s Fair for the Minority Party?
The news has been full of state legislative protests and walkouts in 2011, with plenty of reaction regarding what tactics are fair or productive for a minority caucus to use. Are these strategies successful and are they good for the legislature and the states? What does history tell us about this? This session would ask key participants from some of the high-profile states to reflect on their recent experiences. [Possible NCSL Issue Forum]

3. Promoting Integrity and Ethics in the Legislature
At a time when there is citizen distrust of government and deep partisan divides in the nation and legislatures, we need to promote the integrity of the legislature. This session is designed to highlight some key recent developments in legislative ethics or to stimulate discussions of practical ethical problems. [Committee original plan to include ethics programming]

4. The Changing Face of Government
Although the recession may be over at the national level, it will continue to impact state budgets and programs for years to come. To plug record-high budget gaps, some states are cutting programs, shifting costs to the public, furloughing workers and experimenting with a four-day work week. Which strategies are paying off, both in cost savings and improved service delivery, and which are not? Will the recession lead to permanent change in state government and a better way to manage government? Attendees will take away lessons learned, promising practices and new ideas to apply to help shape the changes taking place in their own states.

5. Tools for Stressful Times
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. A noted national expert will share advice about time management, dealing with stress and balancing work, family and community responsibilities. Learn the strategies that will help you to be better prepared for the work that lies ahead. [Possible shared session with Women’s Legislative Network]