Difference between revisions of "National Conference of State Legislatures"

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{{tnr}}The '''National Conference of State Legislatures''', or NCSL, is a body established in 1975 to serve the members of the various state legislatures in the United States.
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{{tnr}}The '''National Conference of State Legislatures''', also known as '''NCSL''', is a bipartisan organization that "serves the legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states, its commonwealths and territories."<ref name="About">[http://www.ncsl.org/about-us.aspx ''NCSL.org'',"About Us: Mission," retrieved April 27, 2012]</ref>
  
As an organization representing state legislators, the NCSL maintains an uneasy relationship with the ballot initiative process.  When citizens [[signature collection|collect signatures]] to place initiatives on the ballot, it is generally because those citizens believe that their state legislature (and by extension, the individual members of that state legislature) have failed to legislate in accord with the preferences of the voters of the state.
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The organization was established in 1975.
  
The NCSL has been a leading advocate of measures that make it more difficult for citizens to qualify initiatives for ballot placement.
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==Mission==
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According to NCSL, the organization has three primary goals:<ref name="About"/>
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* "Improve the quality and effectiveness of state legislatures;"
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* "Promote policy innovation and communication among state legislatures;"
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* "Ensure state legislatures a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system."
  
NCSL maintains two offices: one in Denver, [[Colorado]], and the other in Washington, D.C.
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==2001 I&R task force==
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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."<ref>[http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/elections/i-and-r-reform-task-force-bios.aspx ''NCSL'',"I&R REFORM TASK FORCE," retrieved April 27, 2012]</ref><ref name="TaskForce"/>
  
==NCSL's position on ballot initiatives==
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<u>'''Task Force:'''</u><br>
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In addition to former Sen. Schimek, the task force included:
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* Christopher J. Badgley - Vice President for State Government Affairs, for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
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* Albert G. Barnett (Jerry) - the President of Americans for Representative Democracy and the principal of Thomas-Huntington, Ltd.
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* [[Jim Costa|Sen. Jim Costa]] - member of the [[U.S. House]] representing [[California's 20th congressional district]].  Costa was first elected to the House in 2004.
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* Sharon L. Eubanks - Senior Attorney for Administration with the Office of Legislative Legal Services (OLLS), the non-partisan, in-house counsel for the Colorado General Assembly
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* Sen. Marilyn Jarrett - represented the 21st District of Arizona
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* Patrick M. Kelly - Director of State Government Relations and Grassroots Programs for the Biotechnology Industry Organization
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* Frank H. Plescia - Senior Director of U.S. State Government Affairs for Monsanto Company in St. Louis
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* Rep. Lane Shetterly - represented 34th District of Oregon
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* Michael J. Stewart - Senior Research Analyst with the Research Division of Nevada's Legislative Counsel Bureau
  
In 2002, the NCSL convened a national task force chaired by [[DiAnna Schimek]], a noted foe of the initiative process from Nebraska.  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."<ref>[http://www.ncsl.org/programs/legismgt/irtaskfc/final_report.htm#execsum NCSL Task Force, Executive Summary]</ref>
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<u>'''Recommendations:'''</u><br>
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Ultimately, the group made 34 recommendations. In summary, the task force reported:<ref name="TaskForce">[http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/elections/initiative-and-referendum-in-the-21st-century.aspx ''NCSL.org'',"Initiative and Referendum in the 21st Century: Final Report," retrieved April 27, 2012]</ref>
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<blockquote>''...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.''<br><br>
  
The task force included included representatives from seven of the 24 initiative states, and lobbyists from tobacco company Philip Morris and the Monsanto Company.
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''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.''<br><br>
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''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.''</blockquote>
  
Ultimately, the group made 34 recommendations; one of them was:
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[http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/elections/initiative-and-referendum-in-the-21st-century.aspx The full list of recommendations can be viewed here.]
 
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* "The Initiative and Referendum Task Force found that opportunities for abuse of the process outweigh its advantages and does not recommend that states adopt the initiative process if they currently do not have one."<ref>[http://www.ncsl.org/programs/legismgt/irtaskfc/final_report.htm#preface ''Initiative and Referendum in the 21st Century'', Final Report]</ref>
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The recommendations of the task force were never formally adopted by NCSL policymakers.<ref>[http://www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=351177 ''Stateline'', "Colorado voters to test ballot reform", October 28, 2008]</ref>
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==Funding==
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NCSL reported total income in 2005 of $2,857,000.<ref>[http://dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990_pdf_archive/742/742232576/742232576_200606_990.pdf NCSL's 2005 tax return]</ref>  The NCSL Foundation reported total income of $2,4 million in 2004.<ref>[http://dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990_pdf_archive/742/742232576/742232576_200506_990.pdf NCSL's 2004 tax return]</ref>  The NCSL did not report its donors on its federal income tax return in either 2004 or 2005.  How the NCSL is funded is not known; it does not provide information about its sources of funding on its website.<ref>[http://www.ncsl.org/public/fsl/overview.htm "About NCSL"]</ref>
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==External links==
 
==External links==

Revision as of 14:46, 27 April 2012

The National Conference of State Legislatures, also known as NCSL, is a bipartisan organization that "serves the legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states, its commonwealths and territories."[1]

The organization was established in 1975.

Mission

According to NCSL, the organization has three primary goals:[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."

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."[2][3]

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 non-partisan, 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

Recommendations:
Ultimately, the group made 34 recommendations. In summary, the task force reported:[3]

...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.

External links

References