With another election season approaching, the retirement of many long serving legislators in chambers around the country will create additional gaps in institutional knowledge. Each long serving legislator has learned the processes and techniques of how to get legislation passed that will benefit their constituents and also how to get that legislation through the process smoothly. These legislators would mentor their colleagues and impart knowledge onto the next generation of legislators.
The importance of both partisan and non-partisan staff cannot be overstated, but is often overlooked when gathering requirements to improve systems.
A significant part of the knowledge they impart is about staff and the role they play through every part of the process. Staff is critical to every step of the legislative process, and often long-tenured staff themselves are the linchpins holding the process together. The importance of both partisan and non-partisan staff cannot be overstated, but is often overlooked when gathering requirements to improve systems.
Staff support legislators in many aspects, from answering phone calls and messages and drafting legislation to advising on procedural rules. Staff creates legislative drafts and documents like Calendars, Journals, Agendas, and training manuals. Staffers have taken the time to learn about how a chamber does the business of the people and share that knowledge with all legislators. Recognizing that staff has unique expertise and experience will benefit all in the legislative process.
Staff are the backbone of the legislature and make it all possible. Everyone in the public sphere benefits from the tireless work that they all do on a daily basis.
Each staff job is unique in its own duties and responsibilities. Editors ensure bills say what they are supposed to and include all amendments and changes necessary for accuracy. Drafters who analyze the legal implications of new legislation and advise legislators on those best paths forward to achieve their goals. Committee staff who keep track of legislation, witnesses, documentation and amendments making its way through the committee process. Clerk’s and Secretary’s offices cover numerous aspects of the legislative process from document production to the parliamentary process itself.
Staff are the backbone of the legislature and make it all possible. Everyone in the public sphere benefits from the tireless work that they all do on a daily basis. Appreciation of all staff who work for the best outcome for all cannot be understated. They have worked numerous extra hours ensuring work is completed to the best possible standards, and they will continue to work extra hours with the highest work ethic to ensure these standards are always met. Gratitude to all staff working in the legislative trenches may not always be there, but staff will always be working to the best of their abilities. Their knowledge and understanding will always be the backbone of successful legislative work and needs to be incorporated into every step of current-state documentation and “to be” design.
Bill MaGill is the former Clerk of the Vermont House of Representatives with 18 years of experience in the Clerk’s office, where he played an important role in chamber administration, legislative policy and support, office management, and digital communications. Contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to learn more about Tallan’s solutions for Legislative Management.