The Indiana Law Blog has a post noting that LSA is having a celebration of its 50th anniversary tomorrow (March 7). Marcia was there at its founding in 1967 (and worked for its predecessor). Its creation came during a time of legislative reform generally. The agency is nonpartisan and is responsible for drafting legislation, calculating the fiscal impact of proposed legislation, and providing legislators — to the extent possible — with unbiased advice. Legislators obviously have partisan interests to serve as well, and for this, they have caucus attorneys who can and sometimes do draft legislation. But, for the most part, the bulk of the legislation is drafted by LSA. I’m biased, but I’d put the clarity and functionality of our Indiana Code up against any state’s, and it’s far more usable and understandable than the United States Code. (As an LSA staffer, it was not my job to offer policy advice. So, I won’t – at this point – comment on the merit of the policies reflected in that Code.)
I was only there from 1996 – 1999, but the agency had a significant impact on me. Legislative drafting exercises some different muscles than the more narrative brief writing or drafting contracts (which is, stylistically, maybe a hybrid between briefs and legislation). It forces a precision that can be helpful. (In many ways, I think legislative drafting and computer programming have a lot in common.) It gave me an interest and an insight into the legislative process which (in combination with my unpursued dream of being a newspaper columnist) morphed into this blog. And, it gave me some marketable skills that I was able to parlay into the job I have now.
Most of all, I was fortunate to work with some really great people. (My boss was kind enough to arrange to have himself appointed judge for a day so he could be the officiant when Amy and I got married.) I think the list of people who worked there when I was there is getting pretty small, but I think the culture of quiet diligence and professionalism still endures, and that’s a tremendous asset to the State.
So, from DI #93, Happy 50th Birthday to LSA!