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NALIT News | Spring 2021

May 20, 2021

NALIT Legislative Staff Achievement Award Nominations

Do you know a team that delivered software that made life easier for legislators or saved staff hours per week? Or a team that works all hours to make sure the network is up and secure? Perhaps an individual who has dedicated a career to translating legislative business needs to technologists and technologists to members and staff? Or a NALIT member who has dedicated time and effort to promote the NALIT mission and its contributions to legislative IT staff? Please take this opportunity to recognize the outstanding work done by NALIT members.

Each year NCSL provides the opportunity to nominate an individual or work group for a Legislative Staff Achievement Award. NALIT may name up to two recipients–-individuals, teams or legislative offices–-for recognition each year.  NCSL will announce the recipients of the 2021 Legislative Staff Achievement Awards this summer. NALIT honorees will be recognized at the NCSL “Salute to Legislative Staff” event during NCSL Base Camp 2021 (Aug. 3-5, 2021).

All members of NALIT are eligible for this award (if you are an information technology professional working for a legislature, you are a member of NALIT!). Nominations may be submitted by the nominee, by legislators or other legislative staff, or by other members of the Association. 

So why should YOU take the time to nominate someone? Nominate a NALIT colleague in another state to recognize the work they do for NALIT and their legislature. Nominate a member of your IT staff in your state legislature to thank them for their service. Read about past recipients of the award here.

Award Criteria

  • Helping to improve the effectiveness of the legislative institution
  • Supporting the legislative process and the mission of the legislature
  • Exhibiting a high degree of professionalism, competence and integrity in serving the legislature and the public
  • Contributing to the work of the National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Contributing to the National Association of Legislative Information Technology
  • Contributing to existing knowledge and demonstrating expertise in a particular field

Nomination Deadline

Nominations for the 2021 will be accepted starting Monday, March 15, 2021. Nominations must be received no later than Friday, April 30, 2021.

Submit Your Nomination

It's easy to nominate someone! Just send an email describing why you think your nominee deserves recognition. Briefly address how the nominee meets the above criteria, and submit your nomination to the committee.

Going Virtual in Wyoming

By Jamie Schaub , IT Manager, Wyoming Legislative Service Office

Like most state legislatures, at the beginning of 2020 Wyoming was already audio livestreaming legislative floor proceedings. Since 2015, we have also provided an online Hotline for constituents to express support or opposition to a piece of legislation, which includes the ability for the public to leave a 140-character text comment.

For the last four years, we livestreamed 20 interim committee meetings each year utilizing Wyoming PBS and the executive branch’s Enterprise Technology Services Department. To testify before those committees the public needed to visit the capitol or, in the interim, that committee’s designated remote site.

Legislative leadership recognized early in the pandemic that virtual participation during interim committee meetings was an immediate necessity.  For the Legislative Service Office Information Technology staff, the challenge was to initiate virtual meetings early in 2020 with no blueprint for accomplishing the task. First, we needed to consider what we had available, what the legislature could afford to use and how best to secure whatever system we chose so our members were protected.

During 2020, we pivoted to a fully virtual meeting model where members of the public who wished to observe could watch the hearings via the Wyoming Legislature’s YouTube channel. Those who wished to testify registered using an online form on our website and attended the meeting through the Zoom platform when it was their turn to speak. During the other portion of the meeting they watched the proceedings on our YouTube channel.  We have deadlines for registering to testify virtually and the chair always has final authority.

Wyoming has traditionally held some joint interim committee meetings at remote locations such as Jackson, Lander, Casper, Gillette or other locations around the state. Holding the meetings in different parts of the state allowed members of the public to testify at meetings they might not otherwise attend.

For the 2021 interim, we are in the development stages of creating a list of approved remote sites around the state with adequate space for our meetings and audio or video conferencing systems that would allow us to conduct the committee as Zoom webinar. The sites under consideration are public entities—school districts, state agency facilities, community colleges or public libraries, for example—thus allowing the legislature to use the space at minimal cost.

If this hybrid model is approved, use of a remote site would be at the discretion of the committee chair and the Management Council. All members of the committee and committee staff would travel to the remote location for the meeting. The hybrid model would allow Wyoming to return to the time-honored tradition of holding some in-person meetings at remote locations around the state. By using locations with adequate audio or video capabilities, we would still be able to provide a way for constituents to watch or listen to the meeting through our YouTube channel and also hopefully to testify remotely. Wyoming’s willingness to offer a hybrid model serves the people of Wyoming who want to watch committee proceedings in-person while still providing the service of a virtual meeting for citizens who cannot travel.

As many have seen in this last year, some state agencies had to cut travel costs to balance their budgets. Using a hybrid model allows those agency staff to attend and testify when needed without incurring travel costs.

Our YouTube channel allows us to show all meetings that are live, for example, members of the public may switch between watching the Senate and the House which may be streaming simultaneously. The site has also allowed us to provide the citizens of Wyoming with recordings of the meetings that they may view at their leisure. Many of the videos have been reviewed hundreds of times – vastly more than any of the physical committee rooms could hold.

The Information Technology division of the Wyoming Legislative Service Office is proud to provide the legislature with the technology and flexibility it needs to include the citizens in the legislative process.

Jamie Schaub is a member of the National Association of Legislative Information Technology (NALIT). NCSL has resources on remote public participation in committee meetings and live webcasts.

NALIT’s Role on NCSL’s Staff Advisory Committee

By Angela Andrews

Have you ever heard of NCSL’s Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee, or the LSCC, for short? It’s a 49-member staff committee that serves in an advisory capacity to NCSL’s Executive Committee. Its purpose is to coordinate the work of the nine professional staff associations of NCSL, promote professional development opportunities for legislative staff and review and evaluate NCSL’s services for staff.

The officers of each of the professional staff associations serve as members of the LSCC and attend its quarterly meetings. Jeff Ford (Indiana) and Soren Jacobson (Idaho) are members of the LSCC by virtue of serving as chair and vice chair, respectively, of NALIT. Maryann Horch (Virginia) serves as a discretionary appointment to LSCC.

The LSCC is chaired by NCSL’s staff chair, one of NCSL’s three staff officers. This year, the staff chair is Martha Wigton, director of Georgia’s House Budget and Research Office.

The LSCC represents the more than 25,000 staff employed by America’s state legislatures and ensures that NCSL continues to provide high-quality programming, networking and services to help staff do their jobs better and support the legislative institution.

Some examples of NCSL’s programs, services or publications supported by the LSCC:

The Legislative Staff Achievement Awards were created by the LSCC in 1997 to recognize legislative staff for their contributions to their professional staff association, their legislature and NCSL. Twenty-three legislative staff, along with one legislative agency, were recognized on the national level with a Legislative Staff Achievement Award in 2020.

The Legislative Staff Management Institute is the nation’s premier leadership and management development program for legislative staff. It was envisioned by two NCSL staff officers more than 30 years ago; the first class graduated in 1990. The program still operates today, and more than 800 staff have graduated from it. The LSCC oversees this long-standing leadership development program.

LSCC members provide their expertise in assisting NCSL with drafting and publishing documents that support legislative staff and the institution. Recent examples include updating NCSL’s Guide for Writing a Personnel Manual and Model Code of Conduct for Legislative Staff.

Learn more about how the LSCC supports you and your role in the legislature by reading the 2019-2020 LSCC Annual Report.

  • Contact NCSL

  • For more information on this topic, use this form to reach NCSL staff.