What is NCSS?

The National Conference of State Societies (NCSS) is the non-profit, voluntary umbrella association for state and territorial societies in the national capital area. At one time or another, all 50 states have had active societies as well as the District of Columbia and our 5 territories: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and CNMI.

State society officers first informally met in the late 1930s to share ideas and programs. In cooperation with the D.C. Commissioners and with the Washington Board of Trade, the state societies helped to re-launch the first post-World War II Cherry Blossom Festival in 1948. State societies re-started the pre-war tradition of sponsoring state cherry blossom princesses and the U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen in that year to promote peaceful relations with Japan. NCSS is the only civic organization that has sponsored the National Cherry Blossom Festival® events every year for 67 years without interruption.

The informal association of state officers became a formal organization on April 3, 1952 when President Harry Truman signed Public Law 82-293 that gave a congressional charter to the Conference of State Societies in 1952. It is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)4 tax-exempt, non-profit organization, with a 501(c)3 Charitable Foundation that the IRS approved in 1970.

P.L. 105-225 - is our Charter and operating statute. The measure was introduced in the 105th Congress as H.R. 1085 by Rep. Henry Hyde of IL, to “revise, codify, and enact without substantive change certain general and permanent laws, related to patriotic and national observances, ceremonies, and organizations, as title 36, United States Code, "Patriotic and National Observances, Ceremonies, and Organizations.” The House passed the bill by voice vote on 2-3-98, and the Senate passed it by unanimous consent on 7-30-98. President Clinton singed the bill into law on 8-12-98, which essentially superseded our original 1952 charter. The NCSS can be found in chapter 1505 (sections 150501-150513; pgs. 137-139).  

House Report 105-326. The House issued a report on H.R. 1085, which outlines the changes in the new bill from our original 1952 Charter. As the introduction to the report explains, H.R. 1085 was simply a codification of title 36 of the United States Code (Patriotic and National Observances, Ceremonies, and Organizations). The NCSS can be found in chapter 1505 (sections 150501-150513; pgs. 150-156). 

36 U.S.C. 150501-150513 - is the NCSS chapter as published in the United States Code. Scroll down to find a link for each individual section (sections 150501-150513). In addition to the current legislative text, each section outlines the changes from the original 1952 law (similar to the House Report).

NCSS plays a unique role in the National Cherry Blossom Festival® by sponsoring a series of events that highlight educational and cultural exchange programs for The Cherry Blossom Princess Program - "Aspiring Leadership and Empowering Young Women" who are college students or young professionals selected by state/territorial societies and embassies to represent them. Today the festival is a cooperative effort of many organizations including the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc., the Mayor’s office, the National Park Service, the Japan America Society of Washington DC, and NCSS, just to mention a few.

Click here to view a copy of the NCSS By-laws.