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Advancing Oversight, Strengthening Democracy

As the U.S. Supreme Court wrote seventy years ago, when lawmakers engage in oversight, they serve as the “eyes and voice” of their constituents. Never has it been more important for legislators in every state to use their unique fact-finding power to get to the heart of important issues and solve problems. The State Oversight Academy’s goal is to offer knowledge, tools, and networks to help lawmakers ensure that government keeps its promises to the people.
Jim Townsend
Director, Levin Center for Oversight & Democracy

What is the State Oversight Academy?

The State Oversight Academy is the first and only national institution dedicated to promoting effective bipartisan fact-finding and oversight by state legislatures as essential to good governance and democracy.

SOA will build a national community of practitioners, scholars and other experts, good government advocates, and the public interested in advancing transparent and accountable government and mitigating disinformation that can foster extremism and stymy dialogue across the political divide. By advancing the theory and practice of bipartisan, fact-based legislative oversight, SOA will become a leader in advancing democratic renewal and civic discourse across the United States.

Objectives

1. Improving the practice of oversight in state legislatures across the country via trainings and events with lawmakers and staff

2. Fostering academic research and scholarship on state legislative oversight

3. Translating scholarship into actionable best practices to be shared among states

4. Increasing the visibility of legislative oversight as an essential legislative function

Subscribe to the State Oversight Academy Newsletter!

What’s happening in the world of oversight? Our monthly newsletter includes updates from state legislatures across the country, an overview of SOA’s activities, and announcements for the upcoming month!

State Legislative Oversight Wiki 2.0

State legislatures conduct oversight in countless ways and often through committees and with help from partner agencies. SOA’s Wiki is the first resource of its kind to include links to legislatures and committee websites; committee jurisdictional information; recommended agency reports; and fiscal data; as well as a submission tool for legislators, department officials, and staff to submit their own updates and corrections.

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Our FAST (Federal and State Tutorials) Classes are short podcasts with experts that provide brief introductions to new oversight tools, concepts, or topics. This quick listen is full of tips to get your oversight investigation off the ground!  Available in the podcast feed of the Levin Center’s Oversight Matters on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also listen online here.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts Subscribe on Spotify

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State Oversight Matters Blog

The State Oversight Academy’s blog, State Oversight Matters, offers expert advice on conducting oversight investigations in your state legislature, oversight news from statehouses across the country, and other important topics in the field.

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Oversight Overview and Headlines

Oversight Overview is a video series that explores how state legislatures across the nation are performing oversight of a particular issue, such as Medicare, corrections, and child welfare. Headlines explores hot news topics during the legislative session.

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Checks and Balances in Action - Legislative Oversight across the States

The Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy commissioned a study of each state legislature’s capacity to conduct oversight and the extent to which each state uses that capacity. Find out more about your state’s oversight performance in this unique resource.

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State Oversight Masterclasses, Events, & Workshops

We produce oversight masterclasses; hold regular panels, classes, and presentations about important topics in state legislative oversight; as well as custom-designed oversight workshops for members of state legislatures and their staff seeking to strengthen their ability to conduct fact-based, bipartisan, high-quality investigations. 

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State Oversight Resources

We are a knowledge hub and resource center for state legislatures. Browse our state legislative oversight directories, articles, and Levin Center testimony here.

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State Oversight Academy Newsletter

What’s happening in the world of oversight? Our monthly newsletter includes updates from state legislatures across the country, an overview of SOA’s activities, and announcements for the upcoming month! Missed an issue? Catch up here.

SOA in the News

“Having the Levin Center teach legislators and legislatures on the importance of oversight -- and the skill and the art of oversight -- is critical. 26 years ago, I worked on Capitol Hill and observed grizzled senators conduct real, old-fashioned oversight and hold agency heads and cabinet secretaries' feet to the fire. What we see on C-SPAN is generally missing in many state legislatures, and I think we can all do a better job.”

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Download our workshop sheet to see what we can offer your legislature!

Thank you for your recent webinars highlighting how legislators can use audit work to make meaningful changes in public life. We appreciate the Levin Center bringing together experts for meaningful discussion. And keeping the recordings on the Center’s YouTube channel ensures we can use the videos to train our auditors as well.

Contact us to arrange a presentation or workshop in your state!