DENVER — Hawaii State Senator Les Ihara, Jr. (D-Palolo, Kaimuki, Kapahulu) has been named co-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Legislative Effectiveness Committee. NCSL President Stephen Morris, Kansas Senate President, made the appointment.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to help improve the effectiveness of our nation’s state legislatures, and represent the states’ agenda in the continuing debate over the changing state-federal relationship,” Senator Ihara said about his new appointment.

The Legislative Effectiveness Committee is one of 12 standing committees of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The standing committees are responsible for developing policy directives that guide NCSL’s states’ agenda on Capitol Hill and within the administration. The directives stress: opposition to unfunded federal mandates, prevention of unnecessary preemption of state laws, protection of state revenue sources, and increased state flexibility in state-federal programs.

The NCSL Legislative Effectiveness Committee examines strategies, practices and procedures for making legislators, staff and legislatures more effective. The committee focuses both on key skills for legislators and on key operations and powers of state legislature. The issues include education and training for legislators and legislative staff, legislative structure and management, rules and procedures, leadership, committees, staffing, information resources, constitutional issues and ethics. The committee also addresses topics concerning the executive branch of government and Congressional procedures and reform.

“Senator Ihara brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to the table,” said Senator Stephen Morris. “I am pleased that he has accepted the appointment and I look forward to his valuable contributions to state public policy over the next year.”

NCSL has just completed an active year in representing the interests of the states in Washington, D.C. including work on introduction of the Main Street Fairness Act, an extension of the Real ID Act deadline, and obtaining over $16 billion in federal assistance to help cover the cost of federal mandates in Medicaid.

NCSL is the bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staff of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.

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