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LRL Newsline | Spring 2023

May 30, 2023

Chair’s Corner 

Greetings from Maine! While much of the country is officially enjoying spring, we’re wrapping up our mud season. It’s a time of Bean boots, extra mopping and the promise of warm weather, maybe by June. I appreciate mud season because it lets us ease into what can become the frantic pace of summer as we try to enjoy as much as possible in a short amount of time. They say that people in Caribou, Maine, at the northernmost tip of the state, just hope that summer falls on a weekend.

Legislative work in the Maine State House is ramping up. Almost 2,000 bills have been drafted and committee schedules are packed with public hearings. As I write this, our halls and overflow spaces are filling as we expect rarely seen crowds testifying on controversial bills.

Spring at NCSL is a busy time, too. It’s the time of year when we recognize the outstanding work done by our colleagues in the year prior and start making plans for the work that needs to be done in the year ahead. I encourage you to make nominations, share details of these programs with your colleagues, get involved, and attend as many NCSL and LRL events as possible.

Personally, I greatly appreciate and would like to acknowledge the service of my colleagues on the LRL executive committee, those who comprise the award committees, our regional directors who help keep us connected, our Minnesota PDS planning team and, of course, our NCSL liaison, Megan McClure. I’m counting the days until the RELACS/LRL PDS in September, and I hope to see you there!

-Jessica Lundgren

2023 Legislative Summit Preview: Indiana Legislative Information Center 

By Grant Mabie, director of information, Indiana Legislative Services Agency

The Legislative Research Librarians group will be touring the Indiana Legislative Information Center during the 2023 Legislative Summit in Indianapolis. Here’s a quick introduction to the office to whet your appetite for the tour.

The Legislative Services Agency of Indiana launched its Legislative Information Center, including a print shop, in June 1987. The original director of information, Jeff Porter, served until his retirement on June 30, 2021. During those years, the information center acquired equipment and developed processes for in-house publication of the Indiana Code, the Acts and Journals of the State Legislature, an annual tax handbook, legislative rulebooks, stationery and business cards, and more. Porter also established an archive of Indiana’s legislative publications.

After 34 years, the archive was filled to capacity and suffered from neglect. In taking on the role of director of information on July 1, 2021, I began streamlining and organizing the archive. In collaboration with the Indiana State Library, the information center acquired numerous volumes from the state’s early years; they are now being rebound and preserved. In addition, excess volumes and clutter from over the years were removed from the archive, donated to the state library or interested staff members or were recycled. The remaining stock has been organized and cataloged and is now available to the LSA and legislative staff members interested in legal or historical research.

The print shop, located in the Indiana Government Center-North building, has a staff of three full-time employees who design, produce and distribute all legislative volumes, guidebooks and stationery; print bills during the legislative session; and maintain the information center’s archive.

Library Questions

We asked you, LRL Members, about obscure or very specific research resources that you use and others may be interested in learning about. These were the questions we asked:

  • What are some (2-5) interesting or obscure research resources that you have used or use regularly in your research? 
  • Are there places or entities that you have found information in that other research and reference staff maybe haven’t thought of yet? 
  • Do you have a useful or interesting source in your state that you’re proud of or want your LRL peers to know about? Resources can be anywhere from municipal to global! 

And here are your responses:


Legislative Reference Library, Jennifer Fletcher

  • What are some (2-5) interesting or obscure research resources that you have used or use regularly in your research? 

Internet Archive – Excellent source for agency reports or other documents which may not have been otherwise preserved.

Legislative Research Reports Archive – Archive of the reports from our agency’s Research section that have been made public.

  • Are there places or entities that you have found information in that other research and reference staff maybe haven’t thought of yet? 

Presidential libraries – for obscure or missing communications to or from state legislatures that touch upon federal matters.


Office of Legislative Counsel, Lindsay Pealer

  • What are some (2-5) interesting or obscure research resources that you have used or use regularly in your research? 

Hathitrust-California Legislative Publications 1850-2009 

California Bluebook 2000 

Anthology of the California Legislature for the 150-year anniversary of the state. Gives a lot of information about the first 150 years of statehood, including a list of every representative the state has had.


An in-house database that gives the legislative history for every measure from 1984-1998.

  • Are there places or entities that you have found information in that other research and reference staff maybe haven’t thought of yet? 


It’s not user friendly. You need to know that it’s there to be able to find anything.

  • Do you have a useful or interesting source in your state that you’re proud of or want your LRL peers to know about? Resources can be anywhere from municipal to global! 

California Legislative Information

The public uses it a lot. 

Office of the Chief Clerk’s website 

This site has a ton of great information. 


Legislative Library, Jennifer Bernier, co-head librarian

Some Connecticut-specific resources that we often turn to:


State Law and Legislative Reference Library, Jessica Lundgren, director

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

This comes in handy when researching a state legislator who also served in Congress.

Maine Municipal Association

The Legal Notes, info packets and magazine articles seem to cover every conceivable area of law that might affect a town or city. Maybe other states have similar organizations?

“Counties, Cities, Towns, and Plantations of Maine: A Handbook of Incorporations, Dissolutions, and Boundary Changes”

We call it the “Red Book.” It’s a quirky, go-to guide for questions about when towns were formed, even if they were incorporated under Massachusetts law. Maybe other states have this kind of survey?

New York 

State Legislative Library, Jeffrey Buckley, law librarian

Our New York Legislative Library website provides our OPAC and helpful information for conducting New York legislative history research:

Similar to’s Wayback Machine, this resource provides historical versions of websites, including many New York state government sites:

This site facilitates public access to information requests and provides copies of responses:

This site provides access to many federal district court filings:


Marva Coward, Librarian

What are some (2-5) interesting or obscure research resources that you have used or use regularly in your research? 

We often use The Florida Handbook, compiled by Allen Morris and in most recent years by the Florida House of Representatives (1947-Current) (Search results | DigiNole ( We use the handbook for questions on Florida history; territorial days; Native American, Spanish, English influences; and general governmental and statewide facts.

Are there places or entities that you have found information in that other research and reference staff maybe haven’t thought of yet? 

When delving into legislative history queries, or searching for an obscure state agency report, I will often search for law review articles from our various law schools for background information. The law reviews provide not only a comprehensive perspective but also important cross-references to case law and relevant statutes.

Do you have a useful or interesting source in your state that you’re proud of or want your LRL peers to know about? 

We have an online source called Florida Memory ( that provides online access to primary records illustrating significant moments in state history. Using this source, one can explore the state’s rich history through historical documents, photographs, audio recordings, video clips and educational resources for teachers and students of all ages. During Women’s History Month, I received a request to find the date that women were first permitted to wear pants in the Florida House and Senate chambers. I researched the issue initially using our online newspapers. To confirm vague references made in the newspapers, I ultimately relied on the Florida Memory photographs to determine a date.


Legislative Reference Library, Elizabeth Lincoln, director

What are some (2-5) interesting or obscure research resources that you have used or use regularly in your research?

Are there places or entities that you have found information in that other research and reference staff maybe haven’t thought of yet?

Do you have a useful or interesting source in your state that you’re proud of or want your LRL peers to know about? Resources can be anywhere from municipal to global!

LRL resources and guides:

Other Minnesota resources

Tools we find useful

Member News 

California Research Bureau

CRB welcomed new librarian Veronica Churchill to our team on April 3, and is interviewing for an additional librarian.


The Missouri Legislative Library has been closed since February due to concerns with cracks in the domed ceiling. Materials and services are still available but access to the stacks is prohibited.


  •  Christine Mandiloff left as the director of the State Law Library of Montana and Franklin Runge was appointed as her replacement in early 2023.
  •  Lindsey Krywaruchka left the Montana Legislative Reference Center for another position in Montana state government.

LRL at Indy Summit 2023 

LRL is busy planning for the 2023 Legislative Summit in Indianapolis, Aug. 14-16. Along with the traditional LRL Dutch Treat dinner, members who attend Summit will have a chance to tour the Indiana State Capitol, including a special visit to the Indiana Legislative Information Center, on the afternoon of Aug. 15. Also in the works: a tour of the Indiana State Library! Look for the Summit sessions “Leading and Managing: Strategies for Legislative Staff,” “Cultivating Your Craft: Five Secrets of an Effective Staffer,” “Public or Privileged? Preserving Legislative Records,” “Writing Like a Pro for the Public,” and don’t forget the Salute to Legislative Staff Lunch and the LRL Notable Document Ceremony!

Registration Is Open! 2023 LRL Professional Development Seminar 

The LRL Professional Development Seminar will be held jointly with the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff Association (RELACS). The seminar brings together staff who are critical to the legislative process, including legislative librarians, information specialists, researchers, editors, attorneys, code revisers, bill drafters, and committee and policy analysts.

This meeting will include a variety of sessions: Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Thissen (also a former speaker of the Minnesota House) will discuss legislation and statutory interpretation; Bryan Vincent, division director, Louisiana Legislature, will help us explore the “Secret Grammar of Elegant Statutes”; and Minnesota staff will share their experience getting the Legislature’s website and documents into ADA compliance. In addition to these great sessions, meeting topics will include communication in the legislative environment, AI in libraries, legal ethics, copyright issues and many more! 

Register Now

Applications Open for Legislative Staff Institutional Essentials 2023! 

NCSL’s Legislative Staff Institutional Essentials (formerly the Legislative Staff Certificate Program) will begin accepting applications for the 2023 program this spring. The five-week program is for newer legislative staff, with one to three years of legislative employment, who are seeking a broader context about state legislatures. Core competencies covered include the legislative institution, model code of conduct, legislative fiscal procedures, and clear and concise communications. Deadline to apply for 2023 is June 23.

Young and New Professionals Webinars 

Constituent Service Is Customer Service: June 14, 2 p.m. ET. 

As an old business adage goes, “A happy customer tells a friend; an unhappy customer tells the world.” Excellent customer service differentiates good organizations from great ones, and poor customer service can have a lasting and negative impact on any organization. This session will uncover the organizational values of businesses that are best known for their culture of customer service and apply them to the legislative environment.

Register Now

Successfully Managing Up: Aug. 2, 2 p.m. ET. 

Managing up is the essential skill of working effectively with your boss. And everyone in a legislature manages up: to a direct supervisor, a legislator or a community of stakeholders. Learn what managing up is, why it’s important and strategies for successfully managing up to those around you.

Register Now

NCSL Briefs (formerly LegisBriefs) 


Rare and Orphan Diseases 
In the United States, more than 7,000 rare diseases collectively affect more than 25 million Americans.

Children's Ombudsman Offices | Office of the Child Advocate 
Children’s Ombudsman Offices, also known in some jurisdictions as Office of the Child Advocate, have been established at the state level in order to assist in providing oversight of children’s services.

Democratizing Police Oversight 
Following increased interest in police oversight, state legislatures are enacting new laws to give the public a greater role.

2023 Mid-Year State Tax Actions Update 
As 2023 legislative sessions wrap up across states it is clear that tax relief is still a priority for lawmakers. At least thirteen states have approved measures that reduce taxes and revenue by millions.

Postsecondary CTE: State Policy Landscape 
Postsecondary career and technical education, commonly known as CTE, is a broad term that encompasses academics, technical skills and on-the-job training to prepare students to enter the workforce upon completion of a program.

Rural Emergency Hospitals 
Rural emergency hospital (REH) is a new Medicare provider designation established by Congress through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. REHs are meant to reinforce access to outpatient medical services and reduce health disparities in areas that may not be able to sustain a full-service hospital.

Petition Requirements to Run for the State Legislature 
Every state except Alaska has a petition process to get on the ballot. Some states require all candidates to submit petitions, some states allow petitions instead of filing fees, and some only require petitions for candidates running as minor party, independent or unaffiliated candidates.


Putting the Proof in the Pudding: How State Legislatures are Using Evidence to Drive Better Results 
This brief examines recent legislative actions that incorporate evidence and data into decision-making by setting evidence standards, building capacity, and measuring performance.

Miller v. Alabama and Juvenile Life Without Parole Laws 
The Supreme Court in 2012 abolished mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole in Miller v. Alabama. 28 states had mandatory juvenile life without parole sentences that were in conflict with the Supreme Court ruling.

State Approaches to Nondegree Credentials 
A breakdown of state approaches to non-degree credentials including certificates, microcredentials, licenses, apprenticeships, and more.

Boosting Oral Health Care in Rural Communities 
Rural communities face a range of barriers to accessing oral care. There are geographical barriers, such as long distances or difficult terrain, but also societal barriers, such as lack of transportation, lack of insurance and a shortage of oral health providers.

State Contraception Policies 
States expand upon federal requirements to address access to contraception through various policy levers, including insurance requirements, scope of practice modifications for advanced practice clinicians and pharmacists and other provider requirements.

Felon Voting Rights 
It has been common practice in the United States to make felons ineligible to vote, in some cases permanently. Over the last few decades, the general trend has been toward reinstating the right to vote at some point, although this is a state-by-state policy choice.

State Options Addressing Access to Contraception 
This brief provides policy options to increase access to contraception.


College Savings Strategies 
As students and families face rising costs, strategies that support saving for college are one approach that can help learners pursue a degree while avoiding burdensome student loan debt.

Special Fees on Plug-In Hybrid and Electric Vehicles 
How states are tackling declining gas tax revenues from electric vehicles and hybrids since these vehicles require no gasoline to operate.

Early In-Person Voting 
This page includes information on statutory requirements regarding in person early voting time periods compared across the 50 states.

The Right to Counsel Beyond Felonies 
State policymakers have focused on three large categories of cases in recent years. First, what should states do about misdemeanor cases that carry a term of incarceration? Second, when should states consider the collateral consequences of previous plea bargains? Finally, how should states handle local municipal courts?

2022 Workforce Development Enactments 
There are over 11 million unfilled job vacancies. To alleviate some stressors on employers and workers, legislatures continue to invest in workforce development.

Strengthening the Direct Care Workforce 
Several states have implemented additional training requirements to address patient safety and prepare workers to handle the challenges associated with direct care work.

Online Voter Registration 
View recent state and territory actions regarding online voter registration. Our table includes which states have online voter registration and related policies.

Prices & Policies: How States Are Tackling Health Care Costs 
The United States spends more per person on health care than any other high-income country in the world and spending has continued to increase over the past few decades. NCSL dives into state policies that look to rein in health prices.

Reentry Legislation: 2022 Summary 
Reentry programs and services aim to help people successfully rejoin society following a period of incarceration. See what reentry legislation focused on in 2022.


Bulk Purchasing of Prescription Drugs

Instead of pooling resources with other states, some lawmakers are consolidating the purchasing clout within their own borders.

Family Friendly Courts: Opportunities for State Legislators To Improve Civil Court Processes 
State courts hear 98% of all civil matters—equivalent to roughly 20 million cases per year. They address disputes over matters such as housing, finances or debts and family relationships.

Credentials of Value 
Summary of state legislation relating to credentials in postsecondary education.

When Does a 'First Appearance' Take Place in Your State 
Every state requires first appearance to be prompt with laws specifying an appearance in court "promptly," "without delay," "as soon as practicable" or within a specified time frame.

Digital Political Ads 
Information about digital political ads, legislative options for regulating them, and a table that includes all significant introduced and enacted legislation.

Developments in Law Enforcement Officer Certification and Decertification 
In this report, NCSL will review the evolving processes states use to certify law enforcement officers and explore state policies that address decertification.

2022 Campaign Finance Enactments 
This web page highlights the 2022 campaign finance enactments and includes summaries of enactments relating to: Administration, Contributions, Crimes/Penalties/Enforcement, Disclosures and Funds Use.

State Actions to Increase Access to Menstrual Products 
States may leverage supportive housing to provide affordable housing and supportive services—including health care—to vulnerable individuals and families.

Voter Registration Deadlines 
This page is intended as a reference to legislators who are looking at their state's voter registration deadlines in comparison to other states.

Public Financing of Campaigns: Overview

Farmers Market Legislation 
State policymakers are considering legislation related to farmers markets such as appropriating funding, addressing food safety needs and supporting the use of nutrition programs

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