State Policy Network
SPN 28th Annual Meeting August 31-September 3, 2020 Chicago, IL

August 31-September 3, 2020 • Chicago, IL

SPN 28th Annual Meeting

State Policy Network’s Annual Meeting is the premier gathering of organizations and people dedicated to promoting state policy solutions that strengthen communities and improve the lives of Americans.

Registration will open in March 2020.

About the SPN Annual Meeting

Each year, 1,300 attendees representing state-based and state focused organizations from all 50 states gather to be inspired, discover and develop new strategies to replace failed government policies, and network. State Policy Network hosts this meeting to strengthen the state-focused network by:

  • Inspiring attendees to go further—whether that be improving the operations of their organization or advancing policy change through effective leadership, education, outreach, and communications.
  • Providing an environment where policy ideas can be shared, tested, and sharpened so that state solutions that improve the lives of individuals and families can have national impact.
  • Connecting attendees with peers, mentors, philanthropic partners, and experts who can help them to grow and achieve personally and professionally.

Why should you go to the SPN Annual Meeting?

SPN’s Annual Meeting is the gathering place for people who are serious about winning the battle of ideas for this generation and the generations to come. You’ll have access to the wisdom of 1,300 people: policy and professional specialists from 325+ organizations, top-notch speakers, and many industry experts, too. You can also build or join smaller groups of like-minded freedom-lovers to refine your strategies, increase knowledge, and recharge your battery.

Last, but certainly not least, we celebrate victories and have a little fun! Annual Meeting is the place to be for happy warriors determined to advance freedom in the states.


State Policy Network’s Annual Meeting is a gathering of people with diverse viewpoints, undergirded by the belief that free speech fosters civility and progress. Therefore, the views and opinions expressed at State Policy Network’s Annual Meeting belong to those who express them, and do not necessarily reflect the views or official policy positions of State Policy Network. As extensions of individual speech, the materials and publications shared at Annual Meeting likewise are the creations of diverse individuals and do not represent statements of belief or policy on the part of State Policy Network.

Please note: This is a private event governed by rules available here. SPN reserves the right to refuse registration and entrance.

Where else has SPN’s Annual Meeting been?

1992: Colorado Springs, CO
1993: Traverse City, MI
1994: Tampa, FL
1995: San Diego, CA
1996: Minneapolis, MN
1997: Tempe, AZ
1998: Atlanta, GA
1999: Dallas, TX
2000: St. Louis, MO
2001: Boulder, CO
2002: Indianapolis, IN
2003: Seattle, WA
2004: Austin, TX
2005: Charleston, SC
2006: Milwaukee, WI
2007: Portland, ME
2008: Scottsdale, AZ
2009: Asheville, NC
2010: Cleveland, OH
2011: Bellevue, WA
2012: Amelia Island, FL
2013: Oklahoma City, OK
2014: Denver, CO
2015: Grand Rapids, MI
2016: Nashville, TN
2017: San Antonio, TX
2018: Salt Lake City, UT
2019: Colorado Springs, CO
2020: Chicago, IL

Registration & Attendance Policies

Attendance Eligibility

All board members, executives, and staff at current SPN state think tank affiliates and associate members are invited to attend SPN’s Annual Meeting. Go here to see specific membership criteria.

General attendees are also welcome, but they must provide a reference and pass SPN’s review process in order to register.

Review Policy

The SPN Annual Meeting is a privately held event and acceptance of registration is pending verification of eligibility. This review policy ensures registrants have selected the most appropriate ticket option. All registrations will receive notification of registration status within three (3) business days. Payment will not be processed until registration is accepted.

After the review window, accepted registrants will receive an email with a confirmation number.

Cancellation Policy

State Think Tank Affiliates

Affiliate registrations are eligible for full refunds or transfers to members within the same organization until a specified deadline.


Associate registrations are eligible for a full refund less a $75.00 cancellation fee prior to a specified deadline. No refunds after this deadline will be fulfilled. Refunds will only be issued to the original registrant or credit card holder. Associate registrations may be transferred to individuals in the same organization as the original registrant.

General Attendees

Refunds will be issued prior to a specified deadline, less a $75.00 cancellation fee. General attendee registrations are not eligible for transfer.

Terms and Conditions of Attendance at SPN’s Annual Meeting

Your attendance at SPN’s Annual Meeting indicates your agreement to the following terms and conditions. All event attendees must register in advance of admission. A valid photo ID is required for registration and admission.


This event is held for the benefit of our think tank affiliates and associates in the state-based policy community. Anyone who attempts to attend this event without properly registering will be removed. SPN further reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to physically remove from the premises any person, regardless of registration status, who in our judgment threatens to disrupt, inhibit, or undermine the quality of this event or the activities of our guests. This policy also applies to anyone who is responsible for bringing another person to the event. “Premises” shall be defined by SPN in consultation with venue management and local law enforcement.

Additional conditions of attendee conduct may apply pursuant to SPN’s agreement with the owner of the event venue as well as local law enforcement. Any person who is removed may be subject to arrest or detention by law enforcement for violation of this policy or the codes of the jurisdiction of the event. Nothing in this policy is designed to infringe speech or conduct on public property. By registering for or attending this event, you agree that State Policy Network as well as its partners, affiliates, associates, contractors, and vendors assumes no liability for injury, damage or loss which may be related in any way to traveling to, attending, or traveling from this event, or with implementation of this policy.

Emails and Onsite Photography

By registering for and attending State Policy Network’s Annual Meeting, you consent to interview(s), photography, audio recording, video recording and its/their publication. Images, videos, and/or audio recording may be used to promote this event and similar SPN events in the future and highlight the network’s growth and impact. By registering, you also consent to receive important Annual Meeting news and reminders via email.

Session Attendance

All Annual Meeting attendees must wear their name badges at all sessions. Upon entry to many of the conference sessions, SPN will have team members who will scan the unique code on your name badge. This helps SPN better calculate our overall event attendance at specific sessions and create content better tailored to our attendees in the future.


State Policy Network prohibits all unauthorized audio or video recording, image capture, or any form of transcription and transmission of event presentations and activities, including but not limited to statements by presenters, materials displayed or offered during presentations, and comments by event attendees captured without their express consent. SPN further reserves the right at its sole discretion to authorize select audio or video recording and/or transmission of the event, as well as the taking of photographs during the event. Anyone so authorized agrees to use any and all such recordings or images only with SPN’s written consent, and agrees further to make them available without charge to SPN for its unrestricted use. SPN will have anyone conducting unauthorized recording or photography removed from this event, and may pursue at its discretion all available criminal and civil remedies.


All packages, bags, and other containers are subject to search, and may be required to be stored during the event.

Social Media Policy

Thank you in advance for respecting our social media policy and the privacy of other attendees. Because this event is invitation-only and much of the content is intended only for participants, please adhere to the following guidelines to ensure SPN’s Annual Meeting is a safe and respectful environment for sharing strategies and ideas. SPN reserves the right to remove inappropriate or sensitive posts from the Annual Meeting app and to request that attendees remove public social media posts that do not respect the following guidelines.

  • All breakout and workshop sessions are off the record. Live tweeting, recording video, posting pictures, or sharing content from the sessions are expressly prohibited. This discretion ensures our breakout sessions, workshops, and roundtables can be safe and candid environments for strategic conversations and idea-sharing. Plus, we want to respect speakers’ proprietary content.
  • Plenary sessions are on the record. You’re welcome to live tweet or post about the talks. 
  • Share your excitement, inspiration, and connections. While specific strategies and tactics should not leave sessions and discussions, you are welcome to post generally about speakers who inspired you, the general implications for your work, the people you’ve met, etc.
  • Be respectful. For the sessions and events that are not off the record, please be respectful of other attendees’ privacy and think before quoting or posting pictures that could be misinterpreted.
  • Provide context. When posting, remember not all your audience will have the full context, so be aware of posts that might be misconstrued or misunderstood.



Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile
540 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611


SPN’s room block will cover the full conference attendance. Reservations will open in March 2020.

Bob Williams Awards

Bob Williams Awards

The Bob Williams Awards for Outstanding Policy Achievement celebrate state think tanks doing exceptional work to develop and disseminate credible policy research and ideas that can help states implement free-market solutions that will have national impact. The awards are named in honor of our network’s most iconic policy maven and a friend to many, Bob Williams.

Nominations will open in the spring of 2020. Winners will be announced at SPN’s 28th Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. See the 2019 finalists and the 2019 winners.


Best Issue Campaign

Recognizes the organization that ran the highest quality issue education campaign. Submissions will be judged based on measures of execution not necessarily if a win was ultimately achieved. Measure of execution include strategic thinking, exemplary use of outreach tactics, ability to reach target audiences, and team alignment.

Most Influential Research

Recognizes the organization whose original research achieved a high level of influence in academia, media, or policy-making arenas. Submissions should describe one piece of research which is either a single publication or a closely related series of research publications (for example, one white paper, a collection of essays on a single topic, or a book). Submissions should also include information about the impact that the research publication made and clearly communicate the measured outcomes and results.

Biggest Home State Win

Recognizes the organization that achieved a significant policy win in their home state. Your win can come from any jurisdiction in your home state, local government, executive, judicial, legislative, or etc. Submissions will be judged on the significance of the victory and how important the organization’s contribution was to the victory.

Note: submissions for Biggest Home State Win can also be considered for Biggest Win.

Biggest Win

Recognizes the organization whose effort was instrumental toward securing a significant policy victory this year. Wins can be one state or a multi-state effort; offense or defense; state or national. Submissions will be judged on the significance of the victory and how important the organization’s contribution was to the victory.


Bob is the founder of the Washington Freedom Foundation and is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of fiscal and tax policies, election reform, and disaster preparedness. Bob is currently the Director of State Budget Solutions a project of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Bob holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Penn State and was a Certified Public Accountant. In that capacity, he served as an auditor at the Pentagon and Post Office for the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He served five terms in the Washington State Legislature and was the 1988 Republican nominee for governor of Washington State.