For the first time in ten years, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) will be hosting their annual Legislative Summit in Boston. From August 6-9th, more than 6,000 legislators, government workers, and public policy professionals will gather at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to participate in panel discussions and policy round-tables. Speakers and panelists will convene on every policy topic under the sun, and feature individuals from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Pew Charitable Trusts,  and U.S. Representatives among many others.

At SM&, we are thrilled that NCSL is coming to our backyard. Here are the top three items we’ll be watching at this year’s conference:

Health Care

From Massachusetts to California and everywhere in between, all eyes are on health care. In Massachusetts, with the Affordable Care Act’s future an uncertainty and our own in-state reform debate looming, attendees will be eager to listen and strategize on how state policies can continue moving health care priorities forward.

Digital Communication

Understanding the importance of integrating digital communication and a clear, direct message is central to passing public policy. For this reason, NCSL is dedicating several workshops and panels to understanding the importance of this skill, and how to capitalize on it, see the In the Trenches with Social Media event on August 6.

Women

From state houses to the halls of Congress, the discrepancy between male and female representation in politics is astounding. According to The New York Times, Nevada is one of the top states for women’s representation at 39.7 percent. Given the importance of encouraging women to legislate, NCSL has chosen to kick off the conference with three events, one of which is a Women’s Legislative Network.

The National Conference of State Legislatures serves as an exciting opportunity to broaden Massachusetts’ exposure in the public policy space, as we are given the opportunity to hear from US legislatures and professionals far and wide. If you are interested in attending, you can find a full schedule of events and registration details on the NCSL website. We hope to see you there!