Friday, October 2, 2015

The National Conference of State Legislators' Website

This post is about a website that I have found useful over the years – the National Conference of State Legislators website. The NCSL bills itself as “the nation’s most respected bipartisan organization providing states support, ideas, connections and a strong voice on Capitol Hill.” So I want to bring to your attention the kinds of work product that you can expect to find on this site.

Material that is likely to be the most useful for researchers is found under (predictably) the “Research” tab. For example, NCSL is keeping tabs on the following topics: genetically modified organisms (“lawmakers across the country introduced 101 bills addressing genetically modified organisms in the 2015 legislative sessions”); civil and criminal justice (“eyes on crime: police body-worn cameras”); labor and employment (“state minimum wages”); and human services (“child support and family law legislation database"), to name just a few.

That gives you a taste of the breadth of topics followed by NCSL, but now I’ll give you a taste of the depth of coverage. Let’s take the section on genetically modified organisms as an example. On that page, NCSL reports on how many states actually passed proposed legislation on genetically modified food, how often a state legislature introduced bills on this topic and what happened to those proposals, and provides links to summaries of the enacted legislation and bill number information. That would provide a great jumping off point for someone wanting to get an idea of how legislation is advancing in this hot topic. 

Take a moment to review the topics covered on this website. I think you will find it helpful.

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