NCSL Welcomes New Leadership Officers Elected at NCSL Legislative Summit


NCSL News; picture of microphone and colorful backdrop

For Immediate Release

Nov. 5, 2021

TampaSpeaker Scott Saiki of Hawaii became the 48th president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) at the annual Legislative Summit in Tampa, Fla. Saiki, a Democrat, succeeds Republican Speaker Robin Vos of Wisconsin.

NCSL, a bipartisan organization serving the nation’s 7,383 state lawmakers and more than 20,000 legislative staff, alternates its leadership annually between the two parties.

Speaker Scott Saiki of Hawaii

“I look forward to working with my colleagues from around the country as the new NCSL president,” Saiki said. “Throughout my years at the bipartisan organization, NCSL has served as the premier voice for states, providing valuable resources to members and effectively advocating on behalf of states in Washington, D.C. In this role, I will continue to represent my home state of Hawaii and work to advocate for a greater reliance on federalism to allow states to innovate and find solutions for the issues facing our country today.”

Saiki has served as speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives since May 2017. He had previously served as majority leader. He has been an active member of NCSL and served on the Task Force on State and Local Taxation as well as the NCSL Executive Committee. Saiki was born in Honolulu. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa and his law degree from the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law.

Other officers elected were:

  • Idaho Speaker Scott Bedke (R), president-elect. Bedke has served in the Idaho House of Representatives for 10 terms and has served as speaker of the House since December 2012. He has been an active member of NCSL, most recently serving as vice president of the NCSL Executive Committee.
  • Rhode Island Speaker Pro Temp Brian Kennedy, vice president. First elected in November 1988, Kennedy is the senior ranking member of the House of Representatives. During his time, he has championed legislation aimed at business and consumer protections as well as elderly protection laws. He has been on numerous NCSL committees and most recently serving as co-chair of the NCSL Executive Task Force on Insurance.
  • J.J. Gentry, South Carolina Senate Counsel, staff chair
    J.J. Gentry, South Carolina Senate Counsel, staff chair. Gentry has worked for the South Carolina Legislature since 2001, first with the House Education and Public Works Committee, and since December 2016 with the South Carolina Senate Ethics Committee. His current responsibilities include to act as a consultant to legislators and legislative staff, monitor the ethical conduct of legislators and legislative staff, conduct research, draft legislation, facilitate hearings and meetings, and handle constituent and media relations. He has served as co-chair of the NCSL Law and Criminal Justice Committee and has served on the NCSL Executive Committee.
  • Anne Sappenfield, Director, Wisconsin Legislative Council, staff vice chair. Sappenfield serves as director of the Wisconsin Legislative Council. She leads a staff of 24 who provide committee staffing, legal and policy research to members of the Legislature. She has been active since 2006 with NCSL’s standing committees, serving as staff chair of the overall standing committees and staff chair of the standing Committee on Human Services. She is a past chair of the Research, Editorial, Legal and Committee Staff association, a professional staff association of NCSL.

NCSL is governed by a 63-member Executive Committee, elected yearly, which includes both legislators and staff, under the leadership of seven officers.

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. Stay connected with NCSL on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.