Tag Archives: National Conference of State Legislatures

Librarians feted at national legislative conference

Indivisible is working to inspire a cultural shift in how Americans think about the role of government in America by training the next generation of civic-minded leaders, disrupting and reframing negative media discourse about government, and creating a network of champions to change the conversation about government in their communities

This quote is from the website of Indivisible, a unique national initiative that has caught my attention of late – a welcome ray of sunshine in this era of government-bashing.

Yesterday’s email message from State Representative Rick Hansen of South St. Paul (DFL, House District 52A) offers a good example of the sort of positive discourse the founders of Indivisible envisions. Hansen was texting en route home from the Seattle conference of the National Conference of State Legislatures – which, incidentally, met in Minneapolis last year.

With all due pride Representative Hansen boasts that one of the high points of his deep immersion in legislative deliberation was the honor of accepting in the name of Minnesotans two national awards presented to Minnesota legislative librarians by the Legislative Research Librarians staff section of the NCSL.

The awards recognize the professional role of  research librarians as active contributors in the creation of exceptional state documents. The publications cited in the award assure that critical information is accessible for agency staff, legislators, advocacy groups and citizens who are grappling with the complexity of emerging issues.  The work of the cited librarians is evident in these state publications:

  • Minnesota and Climate Change – Our Tomorrow Starts Today, http://climatechangemn.org, prepared by library staff at the Pollution Control Agency

Kudos to the librarians and library staffers who were honored by the elected officials meeting in Seattle.   Thank you also to Representative Hansen for accepting the award in the name of Minnesota residents and taxpayers – and for sharing the good news with constituents back home.


Minnesotans Roll Out the Red Carpet for Elected Officials from Around the Nation

This post was originally written for and published in Minnesota 2020 8-21-14

If the conversation on Nicollet Mall is politically charged this week, there’s good reason.   Gathered at the Convention Center are several hundred elected representatives from around the nation and the world. All week I have had the opportunity to marinade in the lively presence of attendees at the National Conference of State Legislatures – elected representatives and staff of the fifty states’ very diverse governmental entities as well as an impressive contingent of international visitors.

Though members of the Minnesota Legislature are everywhere, the local press seems to me to be conspicuous by their absence. They and their readers are missing a great story – some highlights:

Most notable, perhaps, is the fact that the gathering is remarkably civil. Elected officials with diametrically opposed political views are managing somehow to respect each others’ opinions, to listen, and to discuss with marked civility. I’ve observed discussions of everything from voter registration to health care to humane treatment of farm animals and found attendees willing, if not eager, to hear our their colleagues’ perspective.

One good example of collegiality happened on Tuesday when the members of NCSL conveyed special honors on former Congressman Martin Olav Sabo, recognized as a founding father of NCSL. Particular mention was made of the Congresman’s work on government transparency, specifically Minnesota’s Open Meeting Law. It was a privilege to hear Mr. Sabo accept the recognition and to commend and further inspire the collaborative approach of NCSL.

Minnesotans starred again on Wednesday when Senator Amy Klobuchar joined Cindy McCain (yes, wife of John McCain) to lay out the facts of sex trafficking in this nation. Mincing no words, they outlined the steps these elected officials might make in their own states, as legislators and as community leaders. Their frank and practical approach was clearly an eye-opener for many attendees.

Minnesota leaders, including Governor Dayton and Mayor Hodges as well as a number of legislators are involved as speakers and panelists throughout the conference. Senate President Sandy Pappas and Speaker Paul Thissen headed up the cadre of Minnesota legislators who.master-minded event planning. It was the legislators who arranged the feature of the conference that stands out in my mind as the crowning glory of the Summit – to wit:

Staffers of the Minnesota Legislature are the omnipresent guides that are making the Summit stress-free! Clad in bright blue shirts, volunteers are everywhere! They are smart, smiling, ready to go the extra mile to guide a lost legislator who may be reluctant to admit that she’s overwhelmed by the cavernous Convention Center. The guides don’t just answer but anticipate the visitor’s question. This congenial, informed squadron of local experts sets a high standard not just for Minnesota Nice but for Minnesota Informed!