Between the ideas, the proposals and the policies, there are bills and branches of America's government. Here, the Thicket at State Legislatures thrives. It's a place where questions and debates take root, where introspection, analysis and dialogue flourish. The Thicket is a blog about the state legislative institution and federalism written by and for legislative junkies. Contributors are among the nation's foremost statehouse observers at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

We know we're not the first to speak of political thickets. That was Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter who is credited with coining the phrase in 1946, warning courts about getting involved in the politics of redistricting. The term often describes dense, dark tangles you'd want to stay clear of—just as most people want to steer clear of messy things like politics and the legislative process. But we're not afraid of the brambles, and part of our job is to help you steer your way through the thickets of American democracy.

The Thicket at State Legislatures is part of the mission of State Legislatures magazine and NCSL's Trust for Representative Democracy. State Legislatures is the national magazine of state government and policy, published 10 times a year by NCSL. The Trust for Representative Democracy is a grassroots campaign to strengthen understanding and support for American democratic institutions.

NCSL is the bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs 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.


  • Michael Bird lobbies on behalf of state legislatures with Congress and the administration.
  • Meagan Dorsch handles public affairs efforts relating to NCSL's research and state policies.
  • Corina Eckl directs NCSL's fiscal affairs program.
  • Jan Goehring works on civic education issues at the Trust for Representative Democracy.
  • Pam Greenberg watches privacy, Internet and legislative technology issues.
  • Karl Kurtz is NCSL's expert on the legislative institution. He heads the Trust for Representative Democracy.
  • Julie Lays is an associate editor for State Legislatures magazine.
  • Larry Morandi oversees the education, children and families, energy, environment and transportation programs.
  • Gene Rose directs the communications division, focusing on public affairs and meetings.
  • Ron Snell oversees the fiscal, legislative management and legislative information systems programs.
  • Tim Storey tracks elections and redistricting for the legislative management program.
  • Carl Tubbesing is NCSL's deputy executive director and director of the Washington, D.C. office.
  • Brian Weberg heads the legislative management program, which deals with institutional issues.