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RELACS Report | Spring 2021

March 9, 2021

Online Training - March 2021

NCSL and our partners are offering interesting webinars next Thursday. Register now for your seat in one of these great virtual events.

SLLC Supreme Court Midterm Webinar 

Thursday, March 18, 2021 | 1 p.m. ET/ Noon CT/ 11 a.m. MT/ 10 a.m. PT

The Supreme Court’s 2021 docket is set for the 2020-2021 term. Many new cases of interest to states and local governments have been added, ranging from a takings case to a case involving college athlete pay. Join us for a discussion of the most interesting cases for states and local governments to be decided this term, featuring Dan Geyser, Alexander Dubose & Jefferson’s Supreme Court chair, who will argue a case about appellate costs for the City of San Antonio; Matthew Littleton, Donahue, Goldberg, Weaver & Littleton, who wrote the SLLC’s amicus brief in the takings case; and Sarah Harris, a partner in Williams & Connolly’s Supreme Court and Appellate practice, who represents a school district in a case involving student off-campus speech and the First Amendment.     

 Sponsored by the National Association of Counties.  

Elections Cybersecurity (From a Legislative Perspective)

Thursday, March 18, 2021 | 2 p.m. ET/ 1 p.m. CT/ Noon MT/ 11 a.m. PT

Here’s the good news: 2020’s election saw no known cyberattacks. Here’s the bad news: The future could be—is likely to be—a different story. Find out what are the threats and what are steps lawmakers can take to protect the very core of our democracy. Learn from experts at the University of Southern California’s Election Cybersecurity Initiative, where the catch phrase is, “Our Candidate is Democracy.”

Moderator: Wendy Underhill, director, Elections and Redistricting, NCSL


  • B. Clifford Neuman, associate professor of computer science practice, University of Southern California
  • Adam Clayton Powell III, senior fellow, executive director, USC Election Security Initiative

Sponsored by NCSL.

2021 - RELACS Legislative Staff Achievement Awards Nominations

Do you know a legislative staffer who has done exceptional work for your legislature? Please nominate them for the Legislative Staff Achievement Award!

This Legislative Staff Achievement Award may be awarded to an individual and/or office from each staff professional association of NCSL who has demonstrated excellence in supporting the work of a state legislature and strengthening the legislative institution. The awards have added meaning in that they are bestowed by the recipients' peers through each of the staff professional associations and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff association (RELACS) may nominate two recipients each year to receive this award. The selection process must be equitable and open to all RELACS members. "Excellence" can be defined as: top-quality, distinctive, of merit, outstanding, first-class, or expert. This recognition can be awarded to a group as well as an individual.


All members of the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff association (RELACS) are eligible for this award. Examples of accomplishments recognized by RELACS for the Legislative Staff Achievement Award include the following:

  • Exhibiting a high degree of professionalism, competence, and integrity in serving the legislature and the public.
  • Helping to improve the effectiveness of the legislative institution.
  • Supporting the legislative process and the mission of the legislature.
  • Contributing to the work of the National Conference of State Legislatures or the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff association.
  • Demonstrating expertise in a particular field.
  • Contributing to existing knowledge.
  • Nominations should briefly address how the nominee meets the above criteria.

Make a Nomination

Send nominations by April 30, 2021, to the NCSL liaison to RELACS: Kae Warnock. NCSL will announce the recipients of the 2021 Legislative Staff Achievement Awards this summer. RELACS honorees will be recognized at the NCSL “Salute to Legislative Staff” event during NCSL Base Camp 2021 (Aug. 3-5, 2021).

Thank you for considering the nomination of a deserving RELACS member!

RELACS’ 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. Jamie Shanks (Tennessee) and Fred Messerer (California) are members of the LSCC by virtue of serving as chair and vice chair, respectively, of RELACS. Past RELACS chairs Anne Sappenfield (Wisconsin) and Charlotte Carter-Yamauchi (Hawaii) are members of the NCSL Executive Committee and Wendy Jackson (Wisconsin) 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. You can learn more about how the LSCC is organized here.

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.

Angela Andrews is NCSL’s liaison to the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee.

  • Contact NCSL

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