German and Austrian Annual Exchange
June 7-16, 2010
NCSL partnered with the Partnership of Parliaments (PoP), an organization for parliamentarians and professionals from Germany and Austria, for a legislative exchange with Members of German and Austrian provincial or state parliaments. The objective of the exchange is to improve mutual understanding and foster closer cultural and political ties between state policy-makers.
Julie Bell, Education Program Director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, led a politically diverse delegation of state legislators and legislative staff, which included Rep. Jeff Morris (Washington), Rep. Elaine Bowers (Kansas), Senator Curt Bramble (Utah), Sen. Eileen Daily (New Jersey), Sen. Michael Frerichs (Illinois), Sen. Brickwood Galuteria (Hawaii), Sen. Ryan McDougle (Maryland), Sen. Amanda McGill (Nebraska), Peggy Piety (Indiana), and Tim Rice (Illinois). The study tour took place June 7-16, 2010.
The Austrians and Germans were wonderful hosts and provided a welcoming atmosphere for educational exchange. The U.S. delegation appreciated the opportunity to discuss topics that ranged from budget issues to women in government, and also to create personal connections with members of the legislatures; including, the Styrian State Legislature, Vorarlberg State Legislature, Saxonian Legislature, State Chancellery of Saxony (Sächsische Staatskanzlei), the Bundestag (German Parliament), Berlin House of Representatives, the German Green Party, and the state representation of the Free State of Thuringia in Berlin.
Highlights of the trip included discussions with two female Deputy Speakers of the Styria Legislature, an evening with the Hon. Dr. Kurt Flecker, Speaker of the Styria State Legislature, and a visit with The Hon. Dr. Christian Buchmann, Commissioner for Economy of the State of Styria. In Germany, the delegation had the opportunity to engage in political discussions with distinguished members of the newly formed (1990), Saxonian Legislature, including Dr. Johannes Beermann, Chief of the State Chancellary. The last leg of the trip took place in Berlin, where the delegation visited the Federal German Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag), the Berlin House of Representatives, and the “Bundesrat” (German Federal Council).
According to one participant, the engagements during the study tour to Austria and Germany resulted in “an increased knowledge and appreciation for the German and Austrian legislatures, and more generally for state legislative systems and their role versus the federal legislature.”
This project was sponsored by the Partnerships of Parliament (PoP).
Updated June 25, 2010