The National Black Caucus of State Legislators has 15 policy committees composed of NBCSL members and legislative staff. These committees meet to exchange ideas, network, and find solutions to issues facing all Americans. The policy committees also serve an important function in the policy resolution process. Legislators deliberate and vote on resolutions, which must pass out of policy committees before they can be ratified by the full membership body at the Annual Legislative Conference. Committees are also responsible for submitting model legislation for NBCSL members.
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The Agriculture and Conservation Policy Committee develops policy that will educate the African American community on the importance of rural communities, agriculture, nutrition, and energy conservation; support the development of new sustainable technologies, which include but are not limited to biotechnology, renewable fuels, bioengineering, and sustainable farming practices; promote high quality research and education at the 1890 Land-Grant Universities, with an emphasis on agriculture, biotechnology, environmental technology, and rural economic development; encourage diversity and youth participation in the fields of agriculture, biotechnology, environmental technology, and rural economic development; support African-American land ownership in rural regions; and encourage and support diversity in rural development.
- Chair: Rep. Sonya Harper (IL)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Katrina Jackson (LA)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Kenneth Walker (MS)
The Business and Economic Development Policy Committee develops policies that seek to balance the growth and expansion of business with consumer protection. The committee reviews and addresses matters related to the regulation of corporations and financial institutions, and the safety and solvency of insurers. Additionally, the committee examines banking policies and corporate practices that affect the financial stability and economic development of the African-American community. Examples include but are not limited to access to personal credit and small business loans, affordable mortgage loans, and community reinvestment.
- Chair: Sen. James Sanders (NY)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Christopher Rabb (PA)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Reginald Bolding (AZ)
The Children, Youth, and Families Policy Committee focuses on the development of policies and programs that address the well-being and future of African American youth. It promotes programs to help young people better understand the legislative process and promotes the mentoring and development of African American youth.
NBCSL Supports Mentoring Programs
The National Black Caucus of State Legislators is committed to investing in future of this Nation’s greatest asset, its youth. NBCSL’s Youth Policy Committee strongly encourages legislators throughout the United States to develop and mandate mentoring programs to inspire youth participation in the political process. Read Resolution 04-61 supporting mentoring programs.
- Chair: Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown (DE)
- Vice Chair: Del. Regina T. Boyce (MD)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Darryl Campbell (FL)
The Education Committee monitors state education policies and programs, as well as the distribution of resources that affect access to quality, affordable education, academic excellence, and success of students from pre-school through post-graduate education. Examples span the provision of universal pre-school, the deployment of STEM education in all K-12 settings, the prioritization of economic access to higher education through financial aid and government subsidy, and the protection of student-athletes’ well-being. This committee also reviews and develops policies concerning the financial health and viability of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions.
- Chair: Rep. Felicia Robinson (FL)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Stephanie Bolden (DE)
- Vice Chair: Asm. Chantel Jackson (NY)
The Energy, Transportation, and Environment Policy Committee monitors issues related to conventional and renewable energy sources, domestic transportation, and environmental protection. The committee reviews issues concerning the following: research; exploration; development; production; utilization; and regulation. The committee also considers matters concerning air, water, and surface transportation. Examples include but are not limited to state-federal partnerships, federal aid to highway and mass transit programs, and the authority of states to regulate the transportation.
National Energy Policy
The United States has abundant natural resources and is a global leader in advanced energy technologies. Yet, current demands for energy are placing local economies and suppliers at risk. These limitations pose serious challenges for our Nation. Oil and gas availability, volatile prices, and overburdened electric power grids signal that our Nation’s energy situation requires immediate attention. NBCSL aims to educate its members, constituents, and others on the need for a sound, rational domestic energy policy that assures adequate domestic energy supplies and appropriate infrastructure while maximizing renewable energy sources and protecting the environment.
- Chair: Rep. Barbara Ballard (KS)
- Vice Chair: Sen. Kevin Parker (NY)
- Vice Chair: Del. Jheanelle Wilkins (MD)
The Emergency Preparedness, Cybersecurity, and Homeland Security Policy Committee promotes preparedness and readiness to respond to natural and manmade disasters. The committee fosters collaboration and cooperation between officials at all levels of government, public and private relief agencies, and community-based organizations to ensure individuals and affected areas can quickly recover from the financial and economic consequences of catastrophic events. This committee develops solutions to enable victims of natural disasters to return and participate in the rebuilding of their communities. This committee also seeks to balance state-level policies that facilitate effective law enforcement strategies against cyber-crimes and homegrown security threats with the responsibility to protect citizens’ privacy and other civil liberties.
- Chair: Rep. Ray Hull (RI)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Tony Exum (CO)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Ashley Gantt (FL)
The Gaming, Sports, Tourism, and Entertainment Policy Committee reviews and addresses all matters regarding gaming, sports, and entertainment, including promotion of minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MBEs) as well as ensuring fair wages for workers tied to tourism revenue and the prevention of exploitation of areas, residents, and workers. The committee also encourages increased diversity in the entertainment industry among the executive level, technical personnel, writers, directors, actors, and talent agencies while also supporting positive roles and portrayals of African Americans.
Recognizing the significant participation in the NBA, NFL, and MLB of African Americans as professional athletes, this committee encourages policies that ensure diversity among coaches, owners, and proper health and retirement benefits for players.
- Chair: Rep. Christopher Bell (MS)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Ajay Pittman (OK)
- Vice Chair: Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory (VI)
The Health and Human Services Policy Committee addresses issues pertaining to individual and public health, disease prevention, health care, health education, research, health employment, and the promotion of sound health care policies with a view toward specific implications for the African American community and other underserved populations.
Minority Health Offices
Many states have offices of minority health. They have various titles: some are established as official minority health entities (such as an office, commission, council, center, branch, project or other unit) through either executive or legislative branch action. Other states have designated minority health contacts, but no official office or commission. The committee promotes the proliferation and full funding of such offices and supports their ability to implement best practices.
- Chair: Sen. London Lamar (TN)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Karen Bennett (GA)
- Vice Chair: Sen. Marilyn Moore (CT)
The Housing and Community Policy Committee develops policies to address the nation’s housing and community development challenges. The committee examines state and federal policies and regulations that address homeownership, housing, mortgage lending discrimination, low-income housing, predatory lending, homelessness, land use planning, neighborhood revitalization, eminent domain, and related issues.
- Chair: Rep. Diane Hart (FL)
- Vice Chair: Sen. Marshall Bullock (MI)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Christopher Rabb (PA)
The International Affairs Policy Committee considers policies that encourage foreign investment such as trade agreements and export-import promotion. The committee promotes the participation of African Americans in the global economy. This committee seeks to accomplish the following: (1) strengthen relationships with trading partners throughout the world by focusing on the exchange of cultural education, best business practices, and financial resources; and (2) develop broader foreign policy perspectives that will address human rights, economic development, health, environmental stewardship, peace, and democracy, primarily as they relate to Africa and the African Diaspora.
- Chair: Rep. Anthony Daniels (AL)
- Vice Chair: Sen. Tonya Anderson (GA)
- Vice Chair: Rep. John King (SC)
The Labor and Workforce Development Policy Committee reviews and addresses issues and practices related to labor and workforce development. Examples include but are not limited to labor/management relations, affirmative action, minimum wage standards, Right-to-Work initiatives, wage equality, employment security, family leave, and child care.
- Chair: Sen. Karla May (MO)
- Vice Chair: Rep. George Brown, Jr. (KY)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Jeremy Gray (AL)
The Law, Justice, and Ethics Policy Committee addresses issues related to affirmative action; criminal justice, including mandatory sentencing laws, alternatives to incarceration, and ex-offender re-entry services; state and federal initiatives to eradicate illegal drug trafficking; crime victims’ assistance programs; attempts to erode Constitutional rights; and racial profiling. The committee monitors judicial and U.S. Attorney appointments, studies the disparate treatment of African Americans in policing and the judicial system (including the death penalty), and formulates policy to effect remediation. The committee also monitors redistricting plans and the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
- Chair: Rep. Fentrice Driskell (FL)
- Vice Chair: Sen. Royce West (TX)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Omari Crawford (GA)
The Military and Veterans’ Affairs Policy Committee addresses issues that impact African Americans members of the military, such as racial and sexual discrimination and sexual assault. The committee also focuses on the recruitment of African Americans into our nation’s military forces and monitors veteran rights and benefits as they relate to disability, health care, mental health, job training and employment, housing, legal affairs, and other concerns.
- Chair: Rep. Gloria Frazier (GA)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Wendell Jones (SC)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove (MO)
The Telecommunications, Science, and Technology Policy Committee addresses matters related to telecommunications (including infrastructure access, taxation, and rate-setting), science, and technology that affect disadvantaged communities, such as inner cities and rural areas. The committee devises policies and programs to promote the understanding and participation of African Americans in the telecommunications industry.
This committee also develops and promotes the integration of technology in K-12 curricula and advocates for an increase in the representation of African Americans in engineering and other technical professions. Additionally, the committee assesses the impact of technology on voting rights and civic engagement.
- Chair: Rep. K.C. Ohaebosim (KS)
- Vice Chair: Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick (GA)
- Vice Chair: Sen. Kevin Parker (NY)
The Redistricting Committee monitors and addresses issues related to the redrawing of the district lines used to elect public officials. Every ten years the U.S. Census Bureau provides population data for the redrawing of federal, state, and local election districts. This committee will monitor the redrawing process to ensure redistricting efforts promote fair representation, fair elections, and fair access to the polls. This committee will also challenge redistricting efforts that dilute or minimize the voting strength of minorities, and monitor the government’s enforcement of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
- Chair: Rep. Carol Ammons (IL)
- Vice Chair: Sen. Rodger Smitherman (AL)
- Vice Chair: Sen. Rod Hickman (MS)
Have questions about NBCSL's policy committees?
If you have any questions or concerns regarding policy committees, please email us or call us at (202) 624-5457.