Nola Werren’s Impressions from NCSL 2010 - State and Federal Communications

August 10, 2010  •  

Nola Werren’s Impressions from NCSL 2010

Nola WerrenFor the twelfth consecutive year, State and Federal Communications, Inc. exhibited at the National Conference of State Legislature’s Annual Legislative Summit. This year the conference was held in Louisville, Kentucky. We always find that our attendance at the conference is enriching and productive, even when some days start with a 7:30 a.m. team breakfast meeting and end with the SGAC Late Night event [which, by the way, is never a disappointment]!

However, this year stands apart from the rest in that I was invited to moderate one of the continuing legal education sessions.  Entitled Citizens United v. FEC:  Political Blockbuster?, the panel addressed the ruling in January by the United States Supreme Court that it is unconstitutional to bar corporations and labor unions from making either independent expenditures or electioneering communications.  At NCSL’s 2010 Spring Forum held in Washington, D.C., in April, the group immediately saw the importance of including a session at the annual Legislative Summit to address the impact the Court decision will undoubtedly have on the states.

NCSL Citizens United panelThe panel was comprised of Ken Gross, a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Washington, D.C.; Jason Torchinsky, a partner at Holtzman Vogel PLLC, in Virginia; and Maryland Delegate Jon S. Cardin, who represents Maryland’s 11th District in Northwest Baltimore County. Disclosure requirements in light of the post-Citizens United political landscape were perhaps the most lively debated issue by the panel, and it could not have been more timely given the fact that within the hour after our panel adjourned, Senate Democrats failed to gather the 60 votes needed to overcome an expected filibuster of The DISCLOSE Act, Congress’ legislative response to the ruling in Citizens United.


Here is Nola Werren moderating the Citizens United Panel discussion at NCSL:

No recap of this year’s NCSL Legislative Summit would be complete without mentioning Ohio Night. The venue for the event was the LeRoy Neiman Gallery at the Muhammad Ali Center. Having grown up watching a lot of Sunday afternoon sports with my dad, I was quite familiar with LeRoy Neiman and his signature artistic style. He would usually start with a blank canvass at the beginning of, let’s say, a golf tournament, and by the end of the tournament, his abstract was complete and captured the essence of the event in all its vivid glory. Well, the gallery at the Muhammad Ali Center did not disappoint. Especially impressive were his renderings of the two Ali versus Liston fights for boxing’s world heavyweight championships.

Every year since 1999, our experience at the annual NCSL Legislative Summit seems to outdo the previous year. Next year’s summit in San Antonio will undoubtedly live up to that expectation….and who knows what “political blockbuster” might occur between now and then.

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