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Legislative Staff Management Institute


The Legislative Staff Management Institute (LSMI) is one of many legislative staff development programs offered annually by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL; LSMI is designed specifically for non-partisan and partisan senior legislative staff members as well as those on their way to such positions. The purpose of LSMI is to develop and enhance leadership and management skills for top and up-and-coming legislative staffers. Consequently, LSMI curriculum focuses on the practical application of concepts and tools that legislative staff can use to meet the increasingly complex policy and management demands that confront American state legislatures throughout the country.

Created in 1989 by the National Conference of State Legislatures, LSMI was housed for many years at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota. In 2004, however, the NCSL opened LSMI to bid and the Center, with its partner the Sacramento Center of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development and the Center for California Studies of California State University, Sacramento assumed responsibility for organizing and hosting LSMI.

The week long Institute is held at the USC Sacramento Center, which is a few blocks from the state Capitol. Participants are housed at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. The Institute also includes team building such as rafting on the American River and other activities.


LSMI curriculum emphasizes learning by doing, with practical application of skills for effective communication, team building, negotiation, conflict resolution and creating professionalism based on core values of representative democracy. LSMI faculty are nationally recognized experts with extensive professional experience as well as research-based knowledge.

The curriculum has five major components:

  • Interactive seminars with experience-based learning for eight days;
  • Distance learning prior to and after the program through the internet;
  • Legislative content specific to current issues and staff;
  • Management processes for leadership and personal growth; and
  • Group activities outside the classroom.


Each year LSMI participants are asked “To what degree would you recommend this program to other legislative staff members? Don’t Attend, Maybe, Yes, or Must Go.” In 2008, 100 percent of participants ranked LSMI as Must Go or Yes; 88 percent said it was Must Go. This is consistent with the rankings from earlier LSMIs held in Sacramento:

YEAR Don’t Attend Maybe Yes Must Go Total Yes or Must Go
2014 0% 0% 17% 83% 100%
2013 0% 0% 11% 89% 100%
2012 0% 0% 16% 84% 100%
2011 0% 0% 10% 90% 100%
2010 0% 0% 31% 69% 100%
2009 0% 5% 22% 73% 75%
2008 0% 0% 12% 88% 100%
2007 0% 4% 15% 81% 96%
2006 0% 0% 1% 94% 95%
2005 0% 4% 22% 74% 96%


Since 2005, a total of 129 legislative staffers from 30 different states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands have sent staff to the LSMI. Of those states, 24 have sent multiple participants.

States Participating In LSMI
2005 – 2014

Alabama 2
Alaska 15
Arizona 1
Arkansas 19
California 25
Colorado 31
Connecticut 6
Florida 19
Georgia 2
Hawaii 7
Idaho 4
Illinois 3
Indiana 2
Iowa 3
Kansas 2
Kentucky 16
Louisiana 6
Minnesota 6
Mississippi 3
Missouri 2
Montana 2
Nebraska 2
Nevada 11
New Hampshire 1
New Jersey 6
New Mexico 30
North Carolina 7
North Dakota 1
Ohio 4
Oklahoma 7
Oregon 2
Pennsylvania 6
South Dakota 3
Tennessee 4
Texas 18
Utah 4
Vermont 3
Virginia 6
Washington 15
West Virginia 6
Wisconsin 10
U.S. Virgin Islands 1
Washington DC 3
Puerto Rico 1
Nigeria 5
Kosovo 1
TOTAL Participants 333
Total Number of States 41




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