Legislative parliamentarians from across the United States elected Alabama Secretary of the Senate D. Patrick Harris president of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries. Harris was sworn in as the group’s 53rd president at its convention Sept. 27 in Madison, Wisc.
Harris follows longtime Senate Secretary McDowell Lee in the position. Lee lead the society as president in 1974 and 1975. He was Secretary of the Alabama Senate from 1963 to 2011.
The ASLCS was founded in 1943 to improve legislative administration and to establish better communication between clerks and secretaries throughout the United States and its territories. Last week’s convention included a celebration of the group’s 75th anniversary.
In 1974, under Lee’s leadership, ASLCS joined with several state legislative groups to form the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since then, NCSL has grown into a respected bipartisan organization with a membership of more than 7,300 elected legislators and more than 30,000 staff members. The NCSL provides member states with support, ideas, professional connections and a strong voice on Capitol Hill.
The society boasts an active membership of more than 400 legislative secretaries, clerks and support staff. It is by far the largest and most active of the 10 professional organization under the NCSL umbrella.
The ASLCS maintains a close relationship with the Canadian Association of Clerks-at-the-Table (CATT), a similar organization serving the parliamentary staff of Canada’s provinces. It also maintains close relations with the Australia and New Zealand Association of Clerks at the Table (ANSACATT) and the Association of Chief Clerks of Mexico’s State Legislatures and the Federal District of Mexico (ANOMAC).
Harris said the primary focus of his term will be the further expansion of ASLCS’s international footprint by reaching out to parliamentary staffs in other British Commonwealth and European Union nations. He will serve a one-year term.
Harris has served as Secretary of the Alabama Senate since 2011.