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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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{{Short organization profile |
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name                =  National Conference of State Legislatures|
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organization image  =  |
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leadership          =  William T. Pound|
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website            =  [http://www.ncsl.org ncsl.org]|
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}}{{tnr}}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."<ref name="About">[http://www.ncsl.org/about-us.aspx ''NCSL.org'',"About Us: Mission," retrieved April 27, 2012]</ref> The organization is classified as a nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation.<ref name="501c3">[http://www.ncsl.org/about-us.aspx?tabs=1027,82,570 ''NCSL'',"NCSL Foundation for State Legislatures," retrieved April 30, 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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William T. Pound currently serves as the NCSL Executive Director.<ref name="About"/>
  
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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The foundation supports: the [http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections.aspx?tabs=1116,87,245#1116 Trust for Representative Democracy], the [http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections.aspx?tabs=1116,87,245 Center for Ethics in Government] and the [http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections.aspx?tabs=1116,83,197 Women's Legislative Network].<ref name="501c3"/>
  
NCSL maintains two offices: one in Denver, [[Colorado]], and the other in Washington, D.C.
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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's position on ballot initiatives==
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==Task Forces==
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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.<ref>[http://www.ncsl.org/state-federal-committees.aspx?tabs=855,106,700#700 ''NCSL.org'',"NCSL Executive Committee Task Forces," retrieved April 27, 2012]</ref>
  
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>'''Below is a list of the eight task forces:'''</u>
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{{colbegin|2}}
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* Energy Supply
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* Federal Health Reform Implementation
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* Federal Deficit Reduction
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* Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness
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* Immigration & the States
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* International Relations
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* Military & Veterans' Affairs
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* State & Local Taxation of Comm. & Electronic Commerce
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{{colend}}
  
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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===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"/>
  
Ultimately, the group made 34 recommendations; one of them was:
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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
  
* "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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<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 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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''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>
  
==Funding==
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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.]
  
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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==Sponsors==
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NCSL has a number of sponsors. The organization features a list of sponsor, divided into three primary groups: platinum sponsors - $25,000; gold sponsors $12,500; and silver sponsors - $7,500.<ref name="Sponsors">[http://www.ncsl.org/about-us.aspx?tabs=1027,82,573 ''NCSL'',"NCSL: sponsorship list," retrieved April 30, 2012]</ref>
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As of early 2012, platinum sponsors include:<ref name="Sponsors"/>
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{{colbegin|2}}
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*[http://www.1800contacts.com/ 1-800 CONTACT, Inc.]
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*[http://www.att.com/#fbid=h8I9A12qooi AT&T]
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*[http://www.anga.us/srdlanding America's Natural Gas Alliance]
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*[http://www.us.astellas.com/ Astellas Pharma US, Inc.]
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*[http://www.astrazeneca-us.com/ AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals]
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*[http://www.comcast.com/ Comcast Cable Communications]
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*[http://www.theesa.com/ Entertainment Software Association]
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*[http://www.esri.com/ Esri]
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*[http://www.isri.org/iMIS15_prod/ISRI/default.aspx Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.]
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*[http://www.mylan.com/ Mylan]
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*[http://www.nea.org/ National Education Association]
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*[http://www.nei.org/ Nuclear Energy Institute]
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*[http://www.timewarnercable.com/ Time Warner Cable]
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*[http://usa.visa.com/?country=us&ep=v_gg_new&akamai=true Visa]
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*[http://www.walmart.com/ Walmart]
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{{colend}}
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'''''[http://www.ncsl.org/about-us.aspx?tabs=1027,82,573 Other sponsors can be found here.]'''''
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
  
 
* [http://www.ncsl.org Official website]
 
* [http://www.ncsl.org Official website]
* [http://ncsl.typepad.com/the_thicket/ The Thicket], the blog of the NCSL.
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* [http://www.ncsl.org/documents/public/execlscc/NCSLOfficers1975_2011.pdf NCSL officers 1975-2011]
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* [http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/elections/the-canvass-all-issues-and-index.aspx The Canvass: States and Election Reform]
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* [http://ncsl.typepad.com/the_thicket/ The Thicket], NCSL blog
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* [http://ncsl.typepad.com/prop50/ Prop*50: Ballot Measure News from All 50 States], NCSL blog
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* [http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/elections/ballot-measures-database.aspx Ballot Measure Database]
  
==Notes==
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==References==
 
{{reflist}}
 
{{reflist}}
  
 
[[Category:National political organizations]]
 
[[Category:National political organizations]]

Revision as of 11:13, 30 April 2012





National Conference of State Legislatures
Website:ncsl.org
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]

William T. Pound currently serves as the NCSL Executive Director.[1]

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

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."

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.[3]

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."[4][5]

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:[5]

...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.

Sponsors

NCSL has a number of sponsors. The organization features a list of sponsor, divided into three primary groups: platinum sponsors - $25,000; gold sponsors $12,500; and silver sponsors - $7,500.[6]

As of early 2012, platinum sponsors include:[6]

Other sponsors can be found here.

External links

References