Legislative analysts review new legislation to see how it will affect their employers. They can be employed across many different sectors, since many different industries have an interest in what new legislation is being considered by lawmakers.
At any given moment, hundreds of bills are presented for consideration at all levels of government, and many of these proposed laws could have profound effects for other organizations. To stay abreast of these changes, many agencies and businesses employ legislative analysts to look at the bills, determine how they will affect the organization and help develop a response. Generally, a bachelor's degree and some experience are required for legislative analyst jobs.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in political science, public affairs or related field|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||-2% for all political scientists|
|Median Salary (2016)**||$51,343 for legislative analysts|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **PayScale.com
Government officials and agencies, nonprofit and service agencies and private companies employ legislative analysts to monitor and analyze the activities and new policies established by local, state and federal governments. Depending on their employers, they may focus on particular types of legislation, such as that dealing with healthcare or agricultural issues, or their work may be more broad-based, such as all legislation that affects state government. These professionals not only stay abreast of what is happening in government, but they provide summaries of the proposed or passed legislation, note how it affects their employer and assist with constructing their employers' response to the legislation.
In some cases, legislative analysts may be called upon to communicate their employers' stance on legislative policy both internally and externally. Sometimes, organizations hire analysts on a freelance or consulting basis to work on a specific project or issue.
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The primary duty of a legislative analyst is to follow and examine the legislation initiatives that affect their employers, and provide detailed reports about how the legislation will influence the organization's activities. This may require extensive research, meetings with executives and government officials and contacting outside experts to request additional information. In some cases, legislative analysts might work with members of the government before bills are proposed or passed, providing information and insight that will influence the shape of the bill.
Communication is a key duty of a legislative analyst, since he or she is expected to communicate their findings through reports, memorandums, social media and presentations. In some cases, analysts may be called upon to testify before committees to present their employer's response to new bills or laws. They also communicate with government officials, lobbyists and members of the public who have questions about legislation.
Legislative analysts also may be called upon to perform other duties, depending on the size of the organization. For example, some might be responsible for organizing meetings and conferences, or arranging official visits from legislators to the organization. They're also expected to be experts on and stay abreast of developments and changes in government and budget processes and the area that they're analyzing. This is usually accomplished through attending conferences, meetings and seminars, and traveling to program sites when necessary.
PayScale.com listed the median annual salary for legislative analysts as $51,343 in January 2016, with the majority of these professionals earning between $36,037 and $79,761 per year.
Legislative analysts are expected to know the business implications of laws and bills being presented to lawmakers and engage with lobbyists and government officials. They may be responsible for organizing meetings and writing summaries and reports. A bachelor's degree in a related field is the minimum educational requirement for this work.