Lawmakers Gather for NCSL Capitol Forum


NCSL NewsKey State Issues on Agenda for Legislators at Annual Meeting

Washington, D.C.—Education, energy, the sharing economy, transportation, the federal budget and health care are just a few of the topics on the agenda next week at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) 2015 Capitol Forum, Dec. 8-11 in Washington, D.C.

Hundreds of state legislators and legislative staff from around the nation will gather to examine issues important to state leaders. Lawmakers will also meet with their congressional delegations to discuss a variety of issues including long-term funding of transportation, reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and e-fairness legislation.

“This year’s NCSL Capitol Forum is bringing together legislators, legislative leaders and some of the nation’s top experts to discuss the latest topics affecting states today,” said Utah Senator Curt Bramble, president of NCSL.

Following are some of the featured sessions. All times are Eastern:

Wednesday, Dec. 9

  • Lobby Day on Capitol Hill— State legislators will meet with members of their congressional delegations to discuss state-federal issues including transportation, education, e-fairness, and other important issues concerning the states.

Thursday, Dec. 10

  • Police-Community Relations: At national, state and local levels, dialogue is underway on how to improve relationships between police and the diverse communities they serve and protect. This session will include commissions, task forces and membership groups at the forefront of these conversations. Dec. 10, 8:30-10:15 a.m., Marriott Wardman Park, Washington 3.
  • Trends in Telehealth: Reimbursement, Licensure and Patient Safety: This session will examine the issues faced by states in implementing telehealth, including reimbursement for telehealth encounters, provider licensure, and patient privacy and safety concerns. During this session The NCSL Telehealth Project will release its white paper about these very issues and discuss the report at this meeting. Dec. 10, 8:30-10 a.m., Marriott Wardman Park, Lincoln 6.
  • Out of Bounds? A Legal Analysis of Pay-to-Play Fantasy Sports: People have been playing traditional fantasy sports for decades, but daily fantasy sport sites have become big business in the U.S. Recently, DraftKings and FanDuel have been accused of “insider trading” and both companies have been named in a new class action lawsuit alleging negligence, fraud and false advertising. The session will discuss more about fantasy sports’ legal standing, the validity of these accusations, and what states can do to regulate this new industry. Dec. 10, 8:30-9:45 a.m., Marriott Wardman Park, Washington 2.
  • Drones and The Future of the Skies: In what seems like one of the fastest moving issues of public policy, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), better known as drones, have implications across countless industries. With safety and privacy concerns at the top of legislators and regulators concern, what can we expect the future of the skies to look like? Dec. 10, 8:45-9:45 a.m., Marriott Wardman Park, Wilson ABC.
  • Who Governs? Legislator Demographics in 2015: Learn the latest trends in ethnicity, age, gender and occupations of state legislators from the national release of new research and data on the demographics of lawmakers in 2015 from NCSL and The Pew Charitable Trust. During this session NCSL will release its survey results regarding legislative demographics and discuss the findings. Dec. 10, 10:30-11:45 a.m., Marriott Wardman Park, Hoover.
  • General Session | When Religious Freedom and Anti-Discrimination Collide: Proponents argue the government shouldn’t infringe on the right to exercise one’s religious beliefs, but opponents of religious freedom acts contend they allow legal discrimination. Indiana brought the debate into national focus. Is there middle ground? Utah may be the model. Dec. 10, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m., Marriott Wardman Park, Thurgood.

Friday, Dec. 11

  • General Session | The Sharing Economy: The popularity and meteoric success of Uber, AirBnB and Lyft made them economic powerhouses and challenged the culture and structure of prevailing business models. But fascination has given way to serious concerns about public safety, regulation, worker exploitation, and serious implications for legislative policy. Dec. 11, 8-9:15 a.m., Marriott Wardman Park, Thurgood.
  • Issue Forum | More on the Sharing Economy: While the emergence of the Sharing Economy has been felt across numerous industries, its impact is perhaps no more prevalent than in the areas of housing and transportation. Experts from the lodging and transportation industries will share their perspectives on what state policymakers need to know about these new forms of travel. Dec. 11, 9:30-11 a.m., Marriott Wardman Park, Lincoln 3 & 4.
  • General Session | The Shrinking Middle Class: Implications for the Future: From the halls of Congress to the campaign stump to Main Street, the discussion of income, wealth and prosperity has major implications for politics and policy. Will a strengthening economy put the debate to rest, or are reform strategies required to improve the prospects of the middle class and those at the bottom? Dec. 11, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Marriott Wardman Park, Thurgood.

A complete list of this year’s speakers can be found on our website along with the full agenda. All meetings held in conjunction with NCSL’s Forum are open to the press. Registration is required but free to credentialed members of the media. On-site registration for media is available at the Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Rd., NW, Washington, D.C. Please review NCSL’s media policy before registering.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.