All legislators and legislative staff are welcome to participate in the discussion of policy directives and resolutions. Below are highlights of the NCSL policy process.
Policy Directives and Resolutions
All new policy directives and resolutions, and amendments to existing policy directives, must be submitted to the director of NCSL’s Washington, D.C., office by 5 p.m. ET 30 days prior (July 14, 2023) to the annual Business Meeting. All new policy directives and resolutions to be considered must be posted on NCSL’s website no later than 20 days prior to the annual Business Meeting.
- Legislators can introduce amendments to the newly proposed policy directives and resolutions, and to proposed amendments to existing policy directives and resolutions, for consideration at a meeting without prior notice. These amendments must be introduced in writing at the standing committee meeting or annual Business Meeting.
- All policy directives and resolutions are made available digitally on NCSL’s website and app.
- The quorum necessary to adopt policy directives and resolutions by a standing committee must be comprised of appointed legislator members from at least 10 states.*
- The quorum for the annual Business Meeting must be comprised of legislator members from at least 20 states.
(Defaults to Mason’s Manual, when not specifically addressed in NCSL’s Rules of Procedure.)
- Only legislators appointed to the committee** and registered for the meeting can vote on matters of public policy before the committee, including policy directives, resolutions and amendments. The chair will call for a voice vote, except when a roll call is requested by legislator members from at least two states.
- During a roll call vote, only states that were recorded as present during the most recent quorum call shall be eligible to vote.
- Each state has one vote. The vote by a state shall represent the majority view of all the appointed legislator members from the state present. If the legislator members in a state delegation are evenly divided, the state vote is recorded as present.
- Adoption of amendments requires a simple majority of the states responding to the most recent quorum call.
- Adoption of policy directives and resolutions requires an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the states responding to the most recent quorum call. States that pass, abstain or vote present are counted.
- Once the presiding legislator co-chair announces the vote on a policy directive or resolution, the vote is final. A motion to reconsider a question can be made by any legislator member of the committee.
Disposition of Policy Directives and Resolutions
- Consent Calendar: Policy directives or resolutions that pass the committee unanimously. (Policy directives or resolutions may be removed from the Consent Calendar during the General Business Meeting at the request of three member jurisdictions. The policy directive or resolution would then move to the Debate Calendar for consideration.)
- Debate Calendar: Policy directives and resolutions that receive at least one no vote in committee.
- If a committee fails to take up any policy directive or resolution on its agenda before the scheduled time of the committee meeting expires, those policy directives and resolutions are considered tabled and held over until the next committee meeting.
- Adopted policy directives shall not expire but must be reviewed by the standing committee of jurisdiction at least once every four years and can be updated or amended at any time, adhering to the NCSL Bylaws and Rules of Procedure. Resolutions terminate each year at the Summit, unless reaffirmed through the normal policy process.
* The use of the term state includes commonwealths, territories and the District of Columbia.
**Appointments to a committee cannot be accepted once the business meeting for that committee starts.
NCSL Committee Staff Contacts for Policy Directives and Resolutions