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RELACS Report | Spring 2024

May 28, 2024

​RELACS Communication Platform

The primary avenue for information on RELACS meetings and the newsletter is the new RELACS Communications Platform. It's your source for the latest discussions on statute revision and publication, onboarding new staff, bill drafting software and bill markup.

The RELACS platform is set up for weekly digests. However, you may want to change your notifications to daily when we get closer to the meeting season.

Not sure how to use the platform?

  1. Make certain you know your NCSL login and password.
  2. Visit and log in to your account.
  3. In the address bar, navigate to NCSL's server will ask you for permission to access our database to verify you work for a legislature. You should see the RELACS logo. If you don't, please contact Kae Warnock for assistance.

Election of 2024-25 Executive Committee

Please nominate a colleague or yourself to serve on the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff Executive Committee!

Nominations for 2024-25 will be accepted through Friday, June 21. The Executive Committee has openings for a vice chair and three directors. Elections will be conducted at the RELACS annual business meeting, held in conjunction with the NCSL Legislative Summit in August.

Vice chair: The vice chair is elected for one year and automatically succeeds the following year to the office of chair for one year. The vice chair, along with the chair, serves as a representative of the association on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee and should be able to travel (at the expense of the legislature that employs the vice chair or chair) to the LSCC meetings to be held during the 2024-25 term.

Directors: Directors are elected for a two-year term and may be reelected for a second consecutive term. To the extent practicable, the eight directors must represent committee staff; bill drafters; editors; researchers; legal staff, including litigation counsel or committee counsel; staff members engaged in other legislative drafting, code revision, statutory publication, or administrative rules review or compilation; and persons doing other committee, legal, editorial or research work in state legislatures. Please note: Directors are not required to travel. All RELACS Executive Committee meetings occur via Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

If you know of someone who would be a great representative of the legislative staff serving in one or more of these roles, please consider nominating them for one of these positions. Or, if you'd like to become more involved with RELACS, please feel free to nominate yourself. Make your nominations by June 21, 2024 by filling out the Call for Nominations form. Thank you for considering the nomination of a deserving RELACS member. 

2024 NCSL Legislative Summit

Unbridle your legislative potential this year in Louisville, Aug. 5-7! Engage in transformative discussions, gain valuable insights from public policy experts, and develop new skills to take your career to the next level. Set against the backdrop of Louisville's rich equestrian heritage, this immersive experience is the perfect opportunity to forge valuable connections and prepare for the policy challenges that lie ahead. Register today to secure your spot!

RELACS Legislative Staff Achievement Award recipients will be recognized at NCSL's Legislative Summit during the RELACS business meeting, Monday, Aug. 5, 10:15-11 a.m., and at the Salute to Legislative Staff lunch, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.

Register for the 2024 Legislative Summit

2024 RELACS Professional Development Seminar

The 2024 RELACS Professional Development Seminar will be in Austin, Texas, Oct. 13-16. Session titles include: Deliberate Creativity: Three Elements of Innovation, Legal Ethics, Bill Drafting Manuals: Crafting and Editing, Research Skills, Common Constitutional Provisions Legislative Staff Need to Understand, How to Safely Use AI Tools, Statute/Code Revision, Supreme Court Update, Legislative Litigation, Data Visualization, Editing Practices, Staffing Structures and more!

Register for the 2024 RELACS Professional Development Seminar

RELACSing at Work

By Erica Warren

For many of us, summer brings a lighter workload as legislative sessions either end or take longer breaks. But summer means things are gearing up for RELACS as we look forward to the Legislative Summit in Louisville, Ky., in August and the RELACS professional development seminar in Austin in October. I look forward to catching up with you in person at these conferences. But rest assured, if you are unable to attend either of these conferences, there are other ways to stay involved with RELACS.

The executive, nominations and awards committees have been preparing for the RELACS annual business meeting at the Summit, where we will elect a new vice chair and directors for the coming year and hear reports on what has been happening behind the scenes. Our business meeting will start at 10:15 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 5.

While the Summit provides for some professional development opportunities for RELACS members, the Program Planning Committee has been focused on RELACS-related programming for our October professional development seminar. They have a great lineup for sessions, including:

  • Supreme Court Update, from SCOTUSblog founder Amy Howe.
  • Deliberate Creativity: Three Elements of Innovation.
  • Bill Drafting Manuals: Crafting and Editing.
  • Legal Ethics, a two-hour workshop.
  • Safe Practices When Using AI Tools in the Legislature.
  • Statute/Code Revision.

I want to personally thank Brett Ferguson for spearheading Texas' planning and hosting of this exciting seminar.

Finally, I want to thank the members of the RELACS Report editorial board for keeping our members apprised of RELACS-related content while the NCSL and RELACS websites have been undergoing an overhaul, and NCSL shifts to the RELACS Communication Platform for members to communicate about work-related topics, replacing the outdated listservs.

Erica Warren is RELACS' immediate past chair and an assistant statute reviser for the Kentucky General Assembly.

RELACS Legislative Exchange Program: Host States

The 2023 RELACS Legislative Exchange Program provided stipends to three participants to visit a host legislature and learn about their processes.

RELACS will provide this opportunity again in 2024. This an excellent professional development opportunity for legislative staffers. Participants will spend a few days with another legislature's legislative services office to learn about similarities and differences between the states. The goal of the program is to familiarize participants with all aspects of their host legislature, with an emphasis on their job specialization. In addition to offering hands-on training, the exchanges facilitate the sharing of ideas and innovations between state legislatures, with the host offices and exchange participants learning from each other.

We are compiling a list of legislative service offices (research, drafting, legal, committee and editing) willing to host a participant in 2024. The financial cost is minimal or nonexistent for host offices, and it is a win-win experience for both the host and selected participant. This is an opportunity for a legislative staffer to visit your capital city and learn more about your state.

"Hosting a research analyst from a different state was a rich experience for our team, allowing us to showcase and celebrate our work and innovations. In tailoring the experience to the person's professional goals and in the debrief after, we were also able to learn about their office's approach. We are eager to host again!"

- Misty Mason Freeman, director, Oregon's Legislative Policy and Research Office

If you are willing to host a participant in 2024, please complete this host form by June 15, 2024.

2024 RELACS Legislative Exchange: Call for Participants

The RELACS Executive Committee invites members to participate in the RELACS Legislative Exchange Program.

Legislative services offices handle unique responsibilities and play important roles in their institutions and in the legislative process. The exchange program allows selected participants to spend time with another legislature to learn about its processes and procedures. In addition to offering hands-on experience in another legislative service office, the program facilitates the sharing of ideas and innovations between state legislatures. The host legislatures and the participants will have opportunities to learn from one another.

Participants will spend three to five days observing and working with staff from a host legislature. Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses. However, to offset these costs, the RELACS Executive Committee will award a small stipend to each of the participants.

For more details on qualification requirements, please see the attached LEP application. Only complete applications will be considered.

The deadline for submissions is July 15, 2024.

Please do not hesitate to contact Kae Warnock should you have any questions.

  • Contact NCSL

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