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Legislative Staff Management Institute

Overview

The Legislative Staff Management Institute (LSMI) is one of many legislative staff development programs offered annually by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

LSMI is designed specifically for senior legislative staff members ( non-partisan and partisan alike) 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. Since 2005, the program has been based in Sacramento, run as a partnership between the Center for California Studies and the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. 

The week-long Institute is held at the USC State Capital Center, which is a few blocks from the state Capitol. Participants are housed at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. The Institute also includes team building activities such as rafting on the American River and an "escape room" experience.

Curriculum

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.

Evaluation

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.” Overwhelmingly, program participants report that they would recommend it to others.

In their words

"LSMI was a keystone experience in my professional development that resulted in lasting positive change for me and my division. It exceeded my expectations." –2016 Participant

“LSMI is far and away the best training experience I’ve ever had.” –2013 Participant

“Very few things have had more impact on me as a professional and as a person than the LSMI.”  –2011 Participant

“For me, LSMI was a challenging and humbling experience—I returned home with a renewed perspective and respect for my coworkers as well as the state legislative institution.” –2012 Participant

“LSMI was a challenging and energizing experience for me.” –2013 Participant

Participants

Since 2005, a total of 376 legislative staffers from 4 different states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands have sent staff to the LSMI. The majority of those states have sent multiple participants.