The Legislative Staff Exchange Program provides opportunities for legislative staff in SLC member states to participate in peer-to-peer briefings and exchanges to develop effective strategies, identify best practices and share innovative ideas across a broad spectrum of legislative processes. Tailored for the particular needs and schedules of the participants, LSEPs are held in both formal and informal group settings, with funding provided by the SLC.
The SLC periodically arranges for policy experts to visit member state capitols and conduct workshops on pre-selected topics for legislative staff. The topics and presenters are decided in close consultation with senior staff in the respective legislative staff office. All costs related to the workshop are borne by the SLC.
On November 2-3, 2016, legislative staff from the Georgia House Office of Budget & Research met in Austin, at the Texas House of Representatives, for briefings, presentations and discussion on paperless appropriations committee work. In an effort to learn how the Texas Legislature adopted paperless technology in their budget and bill drafting process, staff from a number of Texas legislative agencies presented information at the meetings, including the Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Council, Speaker’s Office, House Appropriations Committee and Committee Coordinator’s Office. The sessions were organized with the assistance of staff in the House Parliamentarian’s Office.
The SLC SouthTrain Program convened on October 20, 2016, in Jefferson City, Missouri. Approximately 130 Missouri legislative staff participated in the all-day training, including discussions on:
Scott Raecker, former member of the Iowa House of Representatives and current director of The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University, was the featured presenter for the training.
On October 16-17, 2016, the Southern Legislative Conference, with support from the Griffith Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, non-advocacy, educational organization that provides risk management and insurance education for public policymakers, organized a workshop featuring presentation and discussion on a number of critical and emerging insurance issues affecting state governments. Legislative staff from six SLC states (Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia) participated in the workshop, held in Atlanta, Georgia.
On September 9, 2016, the SLC Legislative Staff Exchange Program arranged for fiscal staff from the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates to meet with their counterparts in the North Carolina General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division (FRD). Four fiscal staff from the Virginia Senate Finance Committee and two staff from the Virginia House Appropriations Committee traveled to Raleigh to discuss processes and procedures related to formulating the state budget. Among the topics featured were an overview of the North Carolina budget process; issues related to tax policy, finance and economic development; Medicaid; salaries and benefits; local government issues; and a discussion of the FRD’s role during the legislative session interim. Hosting the staff from Virginia and coordinating details of the briefings were North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Services Officer Paul Coble, Fiscal Research Division Director Mark Trogdon and Fiscal Research Division Policy Analyst Kristin Walker.
The SLC arranged for legislative staff from Arkansas’s Bureau of Legislative Research to travel to Charleston, West Virginia, to learn about West Virginia’s nationally recognized model of identifying code conflicts during the legislative session. Participants in this Legislative Staff Exchange Program received briefings on identifying bills with conflicting code sections, what to do when conflicts occur, and observed a demonstration of West Virginia’s bill status system.
Members of the Louisiana House Legislative Services office and legislative library met with staff from the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research in Little Rock, Arkansas, to discuss bill drafting, appropriations and procedural processes. This staff training was under the purview of the Legislative Service Agency Director’s Group.
The Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference, organized, in conjunction with the Louisiana House Legislative Services, the fall SouthTrain program.
Scott Raecker, former member of the Iowa House of Representatives and current executive director of Character Counts In Iowa, as well as chairman and CEO of the Josephson Institute, was the featured presenter for the training in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Mr. Raecker’s presentation to the staff of the Louisiana House Legislative Services focused on:
Members of the House Fiscal Division of the Louisiana House of Representatives met with staff in the House Budget and Research Office (HRBO) of the Georgia House of Representatives in Atlanta, Georgia, to discuss processes and procedures related to formulating the state budget. The LSEP, which also was attended by Representative Terry England, Chair of the Georgia House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, was coordinated by Martha Wigton, director of HRBO. The legislative staff covered myriad topics including recent tax initiatives in Georgia, pension plans, provider fees, Medicaid expansion and the HOPE Scholarship.
Through an SLC LSEP, Caroline Dennis, director of legislative operations for the Oklahoma Senate, and Marcia Goff, research director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, hosted North Carolina legislative staff specializing in the areas of energy and environment. The North Carolina staff traveled to Oklahoma City to meet with legislative staff of the House and Senate to discuss legislation and best practices related to natural gas legislation. In addition to meeting with Oklahoma legislative staff, the North Carolina delegation met with representatives from the oil and gas industry and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the regulatory body that oversees oil and gas production.
The SLC arranged for staff members of the West Virginia Legislative Services Division focusing on information technology (IT) operations to convene in Little Rock, Arkansas, and receive briefings from staff at the Arkansas House of Representatives on video-streaming legislative and committee sessions. The LSEP was hosted by Gabe Holmstrom, chief of staff of the Speaker of the House; Buddy Johnson, House parliamentarian; Matt Johnson, production assistant; and Cecillea Pond-Mayo, communications officer.