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Copyright 2003 by Laura Remson Mitchell Legislative Advocacy Using the System to Improve Life for People with Disabilities.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright 2003 by Laura Remson Mitchell Legislative Advocacy Using the System to Improve Life for People with Disabilities."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright 2003 by Laura Remson Mitchell Legislative Advocacy Using the System to Improve Life for People with Disabilities

2 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Three Myths About Legislative Advocacy u You need a lobbyist to do legislative advocacy. u You cant lobby effectively if youre not in Sacramento. u One person cant make a difference.

3 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Myth 1: You need a lobbyist. The facts: u Professional lobbyist is very valuable, but not absolutely necessary. u Partner with groups that have lobbyists. u Technology gives us a powerful lobbying tool we can use for ourselves.

4 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Myth 2: You cant lobby effectively if youre not in Sacramento. The facts: u Some things require a presence in the Capitol, but you can be effective even if youre not in Sacramento. u Internet allows anyone to identify and track legislation and to respond! u Technology makes it easier for advocates to organize and stay connected.

5 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Myth 3: One person cant make a difference. The facts: u Everyone has something to offer. Some identify and track key legislation. Some organize grass-roots advocacy. Some spread the word and respond to action alerts. u Together, we have made and will make a difference!

6 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell u State Assembly (80 members) u State Senate (40 members) u Two-year legislative sessions Odd-numbered year is first year of session. çImportant note: Bill numbering starts over at the beginning of each session. So bills with the same number in different sessions may be by different authors and on completely different subjects. Bills must meet certain legislative deadlines to move forward. Snapshot : The California Legislature

7 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Key Legislative Terms (Understanding California Bill Names) u AB: Assembly Bill u SB: Senate Bill u ACA: Assembly Constitutional Amendment u SCA: Senate Constitutional Amendment u Chaptered bill: Bill that has been approved by Legislature, signed by Governor, then assigned a chapter number in Californias statutes for that year.

8 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Idea to Bill to Law Where in this Process Can We Affect Policy? (indicated by ) u How Can We Affect Policy?

9 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell The First Steps Idea ( ) u Drafting u Introduction Bill receives number. Bill referred to policy committee. May be referred to fiscal committee.

10 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Action in House of Origin Committee action ( ) (can pass, amend, kill, etc.) u Second reading (read on Floor for later debate) Floor debate and vote (third reading of bill) ( )

11 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Action in Second House u Bill read first time, referred to committee Committee action. ( ) u If passed by committee, bill is given second reading on Floor of second house and scheduled for later debate and vote. Third reading and vote in second house. ( )

12 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Resolving differences If Assembly and Senate pass different versions of bill, differences must be reconciled. This can be done by Concurrence ( ) One house agrees to other houses version. Conference committee ( ) Both houses must approve any compromise bill. ( ) u If approved by Legislature, bill goes to Governor.

13 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Governor acts (within 12 days of receiving bill). ( ) Signs bill or Allows it to become law without signature – Bill is chaptered. Vetoes bill – Bill returns to Legislature for possible override. (Requires two-thirds vote in each house.) ( ) Action by Governor

14 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell How Can We Affect Public Policy? u Propose a bill (idea stage). u Seek amendment to a bill. u Advocate for or against a bill. u Follow up after enactment of a bill to assure that appropriate regulations are in place.

15 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Doing Legislative Advocacy u What you need to know Know your political address! Know who your elected representatives are, and keep that information up to date. Call your local elections office. For California Assembly and State Senate representatives, check online at ATION/MEMBERINFO.HTM

16 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Whom Should I Lobby? u Be sure you lobby at the level of government that has authority to deal with your issue. If youre not sure, call one of your representatives and ask.

17 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Finding Out About Legislation u Check on-line bill information resources like California Legislative Information and Thomas web sites. (See later slide for URLs.) u Network with other disability groups. u Subscribe to lists for various disability groups or individuals you trust.

18 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Why Should I Track Legislation? u If youve proposed an amendment, youll want to know when, if it has been put into the bill language. u Some amendments may make you want to change your position on a bill. u Occasionally, a bill may be hijacked to deal with a completely different subject, sometimes with a different author!

19 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Advocacy Tips u Advocacy tools Coalition building Legislative visits Letter-writing campaigns (including fax and e- mail). Avoid form letters or at least what looks like a form letter. Telephone campaigns Letters to the editor Calls to talk shows

20 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Advocacy Tips u Tactics should be appropriate for issue, context Calm, respectful, and informed approach is best in some situations. In-your-face advocacy may be best in others. –Dont over-use demonstrations. If too many, they will be ignored and/or attention will be on demonstration and not on your issues.

21 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Advocacy Tips Sometimes we need to use both approaches. –We need to respect one another and appreciate the important role that both types of advocacy play. Dont burn bridges. –Someone who is an adversary on one issue may be an ally on another.

22 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Making Legislative Visits u Capitol vs. district office Policy experts usually are in Capitol office. Visits or regular phone contact with district offices still can be useful in establishing ongoing relationship. Friendly staff may be helpful in arranging meetings with elected official.

23 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Making Legislative Visits u Staff vs. elected official Sometimes meeting with staff can be more productive. Youll get more time for visit with staffers. Staffer may be better informed on your issue (if meeting with policy person). Not uncommon for staffers to later run for office themselves.

24 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Making Legislative Visits u Visit in groups of three when possible. Size of group shows your issue affects more than just one person, but group isnt big enough to seem threatening or hostile to legislator. Each member of interview team can provide supplemental information during meeting when appropriate and may offer different perspective on meeting for further planning.

25 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Making Legislative Visits u At meeting Be prepared! Keep message focused, brief and clear. Try to put human face on your issue. Offer to help member in working on issue. u After meeting Follow up with any requested information. Send thank you note.

26 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Using Internet for Advocacy u Identify and track legislation and regulations. u Share information and plan strategy with other advocates via and web sites. u Contact legislators and regulators via e- mail or their web sites or get contact information for letters, office visits, etc.

27 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Key Web Sites for Advocates u Official California legislative information Links to important information about legislation and legislative process. Search for California bills at Subscribe to bills you want to track. u Thomas (federal bill search)

28 October 2003A Power Point show by Laura Remson Mitchell Basic Action Plan u Connect (electronically and with other people) u Communicate (with other advocates, with prospective allies, with policy makers, etc.) u Advocate!


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