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Get to Know NCSL’s Policy Week in 6 Questions

The weeklong series of virtual meetings on the conference’s policy positions starts June 10.

By Molly Ramsdell  |  June 10, 2024

1. What is Policy Week?

NCSL Policy Week is a series of virtual meetings hosted by the NCSL’s standing committees that provide an opportunity for all legislators and legislative staff to learn about standing committee policy processes, and to discuss the policy directives and resolutions to be considered at the annual NCSL Business Meeting at the Legislative Summit, Aug. 5-7, in Louisville, Ky. Register for the Summit here.

2. What are policy directives and resolutions?

Policy directives and resolutions are NCSL’s positions on various state-federal issues. They define the conference’s advocacy efforts as the voice of state legislatures in Washington, D.C. Reviewed every four years, policy directives are broad statements on specific issues. They are consistent with preserving state sovereignty and flexibility and protecting states from unfunded federal mandates and unwarranted federal preemption. Resolutions are more targeted and bolster NCSL’s positions on specific federal bills, regulations or actions. All policy directives and resolutions for consideration at the annual business meeting have been approved by one of NCSL’s standing committees with the required three-quarters supermajority.

If a policy directive or resolution passes out of a standing committee unanimously, it is placed on the consent calendar. If it receives at least one negative vote, it is added to the debate calendar. All items on the consent calendar are considered en masse at the annual business meeting. Items on the debate calendar are considered individually.

3. What is the NCSL Business Meeting?

The NCSL Business Meeting, to be held this year on Aug. 7, allows each state to weigh in on what’s happening at NCSL, including the conference’s budget and audit; its positions on state-federal issues; and the nominating committee reports on the coming year’s slate of officers and Executive Committee members.

4. How does voting work at the business meeting?

After a roll call of all member jurisdictions (the 50 states, the territories and Washington, D.C.) establishes the required quorum (20 states), each jurisdiction can cast one vote regardless of the number of members present from that state. In most years, at least 45 of NCSL’s 56 member jurisdictions are present. For the budget, audit and nominating committee reports, a simple majority of the most recent quorum is required for passage.

For the policy directives and resolutions, approval by three-fourths of the member jurisdictions responding to the most recent quorum is required for adoption. Only legislators can vote on policy directives and resolutions.

5. Are there other rules governing the business meeting?

NCSL has official bylaws and rules of procedure that govern the standing committee meetings and the annual business meeting. On any issue not covered by those rules or procedures, Mason’s Manual of Parliamentary Procedure shall be the standard authority, when applicable.

6. Where can I access the documents to be voted on at the NCSL Business Meeting?

All materials will be made available on the NCSL mobile app and at

Molly Ramsdell is NCSL’s vice president of state-federal affairs.

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