Advancing Oversight, Strengthening 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.
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
The First SOA Symposium is November 10, 2023!
We’re accepting working papers from scholars to be reviewed by practitioners and then presented at the symposium. Learn more about how you can participate or watch!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
State Oversight Events & Workshops
We 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.
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.
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!
SOA in the News
- MIRS Monday podcast feat. Levin Center director Jim Townsend (March 27, 2023) at 26:10 – 42:50.
- Detroit Free Press, op-ed by Levin Center director Jim Townsend (March 28, 2023): New Levin Center academy offers Michigan better legislative oversight
- Detroit Today: Wayne State University program aims to help legislatures conduct oversight, interview with Levin Center director Jim Townsend (April 6, 2023)
Download our workshop sheet to see what we can offer your legislature!