National Conference of State Legislatures

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National Conference of State Legislatures
NCSL logo.jpg
President:Bruce Starr
Vice-president:Curtis Bramble
The National Conference of State Legislatures, also known as NCSL, is a bipartisan organization established in 1975 that "serves the legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states, its commonwealths and territories."[1] The organization is classified as a nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation.[2]

The mission statement of NCSL is as follows:[1]

  • "Improve the quality and effectiveness of state legislatures."
  • "Promote policy innovation and communication among state legislatures."
  • "Ensure state legislatures a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system."

The foundation supports: the Trust for Representative Democracy, the Center for Ethics in Government and the Women's Legislative Network.[2]


NCSL was founded on January 1, 1975, from the merger of three separate organizations that represented the interests of states legislators and legislative staff.[1]


NCSL is governed by an executive committee. The committee is composed of 63 members: seven officers, 30 at-large legislator members, four regional legislators from the Council of State Government, six ex officio members, and 16 legislative staff members. The executive committee implements the conference's policies and is in charge of disbursement of funds.[3]

A full list of executive committee officers can be found here.[4]

Task Forces

In addition to 12 standing committees, NCSL currently has eight task forces. The task forces can have 20-30 legislators and legislative staff. According to NCSL, task forces are appointed by the NCSL president and staff chair. Task forces have Republican and Democratic co-chairs.[5]

Below is a list of the eight task forces:

  • Energy Supply
  • Federal Health Reform Implementation
  • Federal Deficit Reduction
  • Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness
  • Immigration & the States
  • International Relations
  • Military & Veterans' Affairs
  • State & Local Taxation of Comm. & Electronic Commerce

2001 I&R task force

On December 7, 2001, the NCSL convened an I&R (initiative and referendum) Reform Task Force chaired by then Sen. DiAnna Schimek. The purpose of the task force was "to review the growing use of initiatives and referendums around the country and to examine their effect on representative democracy at the state level."[6]

Task Force:
In addition to former Sen. Schimek, the task force included:

  • Christopher J. Badgley - Vice President for State Government Affairs, for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
  • Albert G. Barnett (Jerry) - the President of Americans for Representative Democracy and the principal of Thomas-Huntington, Ltd.
  • Sen. Jim Costa - member of the U.S. House representing California's 20th Congressional District. Costa was first elected to the House in 2004.
  • Sharon L. Eubanks - Senior Attorney for Administration with the Office of Legislative Legal Services (OLLS), the nonpartisan, in-house counsel for the Colorado General Assembly
  • Sen. Marilyn Jarrett - represented the 21st District of Arizona
  • Patrick M. Kelly - Director of State Government Relations and Grassroots Programs for the Biotechnology Industry Organization
  • Frank H. Plescia - Senior Director of U.S. State Government Affairs for Monsanto Company in St. Louis
  • Rep. Lane Shetterly - represented 34th District of Oregon
  • Michael J. Stewart - Senior Research Analyst with the Research Division of Nevada's Legislative Counsel Bureau

Ultimately, the group made 34 recommendations. In summary, the task force reported:[6]

...the task force concluded that the initiative has evolved from its early days as a grassroots tool to enhance representative democracy into a tool that too often is exploited by special interests. The initiative lacks critical elements of the legislative process and can have both intended and unintended effects on the ability of the representative democratic process to comprehensively develop policies and priorities.

As a result, the task force suggests that initiative states reform drafting, certification, signature-gathering and financial disclosure statutes; adhere to single subject rules; and improve practices regarding voter education. It also recommends that initiatives be allowed only on general election ballots.

It is the task force's intent that the discussion and adoption of the reforms in this report lead to a more thoughtful lawmaking process, improve interaction between initiative proponents and legislatures, and ultimately produce better public policy and reinforce representative democracy.

The full list of recommendations can be viewed here.


NCSL has a number of sponsors. The organization features a list of sponsors, divided into three primary groups: platinum sponsors - $25,000; gold sponsors $12,500; and silver sponsors - $7,500.[7]

As of early 2012, platinum sponsors include:[7]

Other sponsors can be found here.

Elections reports no contributions made by NCSL to candidates for federal office.[8]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term "National + Conference + State + Legislatures"

All stories may not be relevant to this organization due to the nature of the search engine.

National Conference of State Legislatures News Feed

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External links