NCSL Legislative Effectiveness Committee

Planning for the Current Conference Year

Themes for Committee Work 

  1. Renovating the Legislative Institution - At the core, the Legislative Effectiveness Committee has to be a forum for sharing best practices, lessons learned and innovative ideas. Especially in tough budget times, state legislatures must examine their practices and procedures to make them more efficient, effective, transparent and open to the citizens. They must emphasize the need for civility and collaboration within the process of vigorously and assertively debating our different points of view.  This theme also includes exploring improvements to new member orientation and other types of legislator and staff education and training.

  2. 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, legislators and staff. The committee will examine the various approaches legislatures are using to promote ethical behavior and handle cases of misconduct. This theme also includes the idea that legislatures, legislators and staff must address the process of moving from campaigning to legislating after contentious elections.

  3. Connecting Citizens to the Legislature - Legislators are constantly looking for better ways to reach out to their constituents. Although technology is opening new possibilities for getting information to and creating dialogue with the public, constituent service is still based on working with people one on one and in community meetings. Legislators benefit by sharing ideas on how to best help their constituents become active participants in the process.   Also, the committee wants to look at ways to update and broaden civic education efforts.

  4. Using Technology– Legislatures are currently making critical decisions involving technological changes in bill drafting, voting, floor and committee recordkeeping, member use of computers and related issues. What have we learned and what procedures help lead states to thoughtful and fiscally prudent decisions? Also, since legislators’ and legislatures’ use of social media is growing rapidly with uncertain consequences, the committee will help identify inviting, meaningful and careful practices. 

Work with Kettering Foundation Project

 The committee officers will be invited to work with NCSL and the Kettering Foundation on a project involving citizen engagement, collaboration and civility practices.