Southern Legislative Conference | Serving the South

The Southern
Office of

The Council of State Governments


Marty Garrity
Director, Bureau of Legislative Research, Arkansas

Chair, SLC Legislative Service Agency (LSA) Directors Group, 2016-17

Marcia Goff
Research Director, House Committee Services, Oklahoma

Vice Chair, SLC Legislative Service Agency (LSA) Directors Group, 2016-17

Group Liaison

Nick Bowman
Research and Publications Associate

Legislative Service Agency (LSA) Directors Group

Throughout its history, the SLC has encouraged regional cooperation and networking among key legislative staff members in the South. Currently, the Conference’s LSA Directors Group comprises the staff executives charged with the full range of administrative and programmatic services for the legislative bodies in the 15 Southern states. The LSA Directors meet to share knowledge and insights on legislative staffing operations. Frequently, an LSA Directors’ meeting will include presentations on, and analysis of, the disparate bill drafting and information management systems employed by the legislatures in their respective states. Directors’ meeting program agendas have focused on open meeting and open records provisions; state legislative committee structures and staffing patterns; state redistricting initiatives, homeland defense, legislative personnel policies, and Freedom of Information in a legislative agency.

SLC Carter/Hellard Legislative Staff Award

Named in honor of the late Sam Carter, Director of Research of the South Carolina House of Representatives, and the late Vic Hellard, Jr., Director of the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, the award will be presented at the Legislative Service Agency Directors’ (LSA) Luncheon at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) to the individual whom, in the judgment of the LSA Directors, has demonstrated excellence and dedication in staffing service to state legislators in the South. Specifically, the individual should have:

1) demonstrated a longstanding commitment to the legislative institution and a clear vision and understanding of the role of legislative staffing in representative government;

2) participated in the provision of staff work resulting in systemic public policy reform or institutional improvement;

3) consistently approached his or her legislative work with grace and good humor under pressure; and

4) be currently employed by a state legislature or legislative service agency at the time the award is given.

2016 SLC Carter/Hellard Award Winner

Estella Smith
Administrator, Committee Staff Section
Bureau of Legislative Research, Arkansas

Ms. Smith started her service with Arkansas’s Bureau of Legislative Research in 1978 as an administrative assistant. For 11 years, she served in various positions with the Bureau and, in 1989, became administrative assistant to the assistant director. In 1996, Ms. Smith obtained her bachelor’s degree and became a legislative analyst with the Bureau.

After serving for five years as a constituency services analyst for the Arkansas Senate, Ms. Smith returned to the Bureau of Legislative Research in 2001. Since 2011, she has served as the administrator of the Committee Staff Section of the Bureau. Ms. Smith has an extensive knowledge of the legislative process, parliamentary procedures and personnel management.

List of Carter/Hellard Award Recipients


LSA Directors group fall meeting


The LSA Directors Group Fall Meeting will be October 28 to 30 at the Westin Buckhead Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia. If you are planning to attend, please RSVP by September 23. If you have any questions, please contact Nick Bowman.


SLC Legislative Services News

Our monthly news bulletin, SLC Legislative Services News, collects articles on topics relevant to the group, including the role of technology in state legislatures, legal developments in our region, and public sector professional development.

September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016

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