National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL)

The National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) is a bi-partisan organization founded in 1975. It represents the legislatures in the states, territories and commonwealths of the U.S. to:

  • Advance the effectiveness, independence and integrity of legislatures, and to foster interstate cooperation and facilitate the exchange of information among legislatures.
  • Represent legislatures in dealing with the federal government, especially in support of state sovereignty and state flexibility and protection from unfunded federal mandates and unwarranted federal preemption. The conference promotes cooperation between state legislatures in the U.S. and those in other countries.
  • Improve the operations and management of state legislatures, and the effectiveness of legislators and legislative staff. NCSL also encourages the practice of high standards of conduct by legislators and legislative staff.

(from the NCSL mission statement)

Eight Standing Committees, composed of legislators and legislative staff appointed by the leadership of the legislatures, serve as the central organizing mechanism for NCSL members. Committees provide a means by which state legislators can share experience, information, and advice on a variety of state issues ranging from policy to management. Committees meet together twice each year at the NCSL Capitol Forum and NCSL's Legislative Summit to adopt state-federal legislative policies that will ultimately guide NCSL's lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. Committee meetings also serve as an opportunity for states to network and establish flows of information as well as experience-based suggestions from other states.

Each summer the group gathers for a Legislative Summit to discuss issues and challenges, as well as share ideas and solutions. NCSL hosts web seminars, leadership meetings, and provides access to relevant websites and online documents throughout the year.

NCSL conducts policy research in a variety of areas such as:

  • agriculture
  • budget and tax issues
  • education
  • health care
  • immigration
  • transportation

NSCL also provides a consulting service on policy issues that includes testifying, helping to draft bills, organize workshops, as well as convene legislative-executive teams.  NCSL’s 50-State Bill Information Service provides a searchable database containing the full text of legislation for current legislative session(s).

The NCSL provides resources for numerous topics, including:

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