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, NCSL opened LSMI to bid, and the USC Price School of Public Policy, in collaboration with Center for California Studies of California State University, Sacramento, was awarded the contract.

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 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.” For the last five years, 100% of program participants indicating that they would recommended it to others.

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%

In their words
“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

“The program has truly been one of the highlights of my years with the legislature.”
–2006 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

Since 2005, a total of 333 legislative staffers from 41 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
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
US Virgin Islands 1
Washington, DC 3
Puerto Rico 1
Nigeria 5
Kosovo 1