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Meeting with Lawmakers How to Impact Floridas Legislative Process Developmental Disabilities Network Webinar December 14, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Meeting with Lawmakers How to Impact Floridas Legislative Process Developmental Disabilities Network Webinar December 14, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Meeting with Lawmakers How to Impact Floridas Legislative Process Developmental Disabilities Network Webinar December 14, 2011

2 Florida Developmental Disabilities Network 2

3 Presenters Sylvia Smith, J.D., Director of Legislative and Public Affairs, Disability Rights Florida Margaret Hooper, MSW, Public Policy Coordinator, Florida Developmental Disabilities Council Elizabeth Perkins, PhD, Health Coordinator Florida Center for Inclusive Communities Daniel Armstrong, PhD, Executive Director Mailman Center for Child Development 3

4 Objectives 1. Raise awareness of the policy work of Developmental Disabilities Network agencies. 2. Increase understanding of ways to become an effective and productive advocate or self- advocate. 3. Learn tips to improve your meetings with legislators. 4. Improve understanding of the legislative process and how to influence policymaking. 4

5 Developmental Disabilities Act Creates and funds the DD Network agencies through the federal Administration on Development Disabilities. Florida Developmental Disabilities Council Disability Rights Florida Florida Center for Inclusive Communities, University of South Florida Florida Mailman Center for Child Development, University of Miami 5

6 DD Act & ADD Mission Ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to culturally-competent needed community services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion in all facets of community life. 6

7 DD Network Agency Partners 7 P & A Council UCEDDs Administration on Developmental Disabilities

8 Specific Functions State Councils on Developmental Disabilities engage in advocacy, capacity building and systematic change activities to carry out the purpose of the DD Act. Florida Developmental Disabilities Council Protection and Advocacy Programs(P&As) protect the legal and human rights of all people with developmental disabilities. Disability Rights Florida 8

9 Specific Functions University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) perform interdisciplinary training, community service, technical assistance, research, and information dissemination activities. 1.University of Miami, Mailman Center for Child Development 2.University of South Florida, Florida Center for Inclusive Communities 9

10 All DD Network Agencies Educate, advise and inform federal, state and local policy makers. Including members of Congress, officials of Federal executive branch, Governors, members of State legislators and staff of State agencies. Assist policymakers to improve the services and opportunities available to individuals with DD and their families. 10

11 Florida Developmental Disabilities Council & Disability Rights Florida Also responsible to: Advocate for individuals with DD. Advocate for the enactment or amendment of legislation. Emphasize non-partisan analysis, study and research. Often informing legislators of the advantages and disadvantages of specific proposals. Serve as a source of information and advice. 11

12 Policy Advocacy Accomplishments Preventing the implementation of major service reductions for individuals on the DD/HCBS waiver Protecting the integrity of the DD service system in a difficult economy Building and helping to support a large coalition to support passage of school restraint and seclusion reform. 12

13 Effective Advocacy Join organizations Register and vote Become active in campaigns Encourage accessible campaigns 13

14 Shared Policy Goals Create or join a coalition that has working relationships with other disability advocacy groups. Network with an organization that supports your view or analysis. Together we have greater influence when we support shared policy goals and bring the faces and voices of individuals with disabilities to policymakers. 14

15 Register and Vote! Learn about your rights and how to register to vote in the Voting in Florida Guide for People with Disabilities Coming in January 2012! 15

16 Join Campaigns and Advocate for Accessibility 16 Events and campaign offices in ADA-compliant facilities. Sign language interpreters for all events. Closed captioning and descriptive audio in commercials/videos. Candidates can open their campaigns to people with disabilities by:

17 Make an Impact! Attend town meetings Sign up for your legislators newsletter Attend and give comments at your county legislative delegation meetings 17

18 Tips for Getting to Know and Meeting with Your Legislator Meet one-on-one with your elected officials Invite legislators to visit you Teach them about your family, your program or your organization Write letters to your legislator Share your opinions Listen to their perspective on your issue Dont hesitate to speak with an aide or leave a message! 18

19 Efficient Electronic Communications Never a better or easier time to communicate with government representatives! s are read by legislative aides. Your position in the subject line is counted. Important for people with disabilities who have historically had difficulty getting their voices heard. 19

20 Efficient Electronic Communications Write letters to the editor or opinion/editorial columns. For specific tips about advocacy letters, please see 10 Steps for Effective Self-Advocacy on the Disability Rights Florida webpage. 20

21 Effective Discussions Know what you want to say – be prepared! Make sure your message clear in your own mind. Write down your most important points. Know your core message and stick with it! Rehearse! 21

22 Effective Discussions Have evidence of examples Be ready to support your view with two or three salient, well-documented facts Use personal examples, when appropriate Communicate clearly Jargon is a barrier to communication -- dont use shorthand terms or acronyms. Describe issues using everyday language 22

23 Effective Discussions Be quick Keep your message brief Plan for less than five minutes to make your case and answer questions 23

24 Effective Discussions Take a deep breath. Relax. Introduce yourself as a constituent. Thank the legislator for taking the time to meet with you. Be personable and professional. 24

25 Effective Discussions Briefly identify your affiliated organization and explain its mission State your purpose and/or request. Identify yourself and your organization as an expert. Give the legislator a chance to explain his/her perspective on the issue. 25

26 Your Legislators Point of View Your legislator wants to do the right thing. Your legislator wants to be responsive. Your legislator may know nothing about your issue. Your legislator wants to know how legislation affects his/her local district. 26

27 Your Legislators Point of View Your legislator finds it hard to vote against a friend but easy to vote against someone he/she doesnt know. Be willing to compromise. An all or nothing attitude often gets one NOTHING! 27

28 Leave a Positive Impression! Identify the bill or issue clearly Leave information behind Thank your legislator Write a thank you note to your legislator 28

29 Strength in Numbers Dont go alone. 1 person has as much right as 1,000 people to petition the Legislature, but having a friend along will help. Attend Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day! Fan out through the House and Senate Office Buildings. 29

30 Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day February 1, 2012 The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council & the Arc of Florida Great opportunity to work with other self- advocates and families to educate the Legislature on disability issues 30

31 2012 Session Starts earlier than usual Begins January 10, 2012 Lasts 60 days New legislative districts a key focus Budget Special Session – March or April? 31

32 How a Bill Becomes a Law Either chamber may start any type of legislation Both chambers (Senate and House) must pass identical language or the bill dies. The process differs slightly between chambers. A legislator or committee must sponsors a bill. It must be referred to one or more committees related to its subject. Committees then decide whether to hear the bill. Committees study the bill and decide whether to amend, or vote in favor or against the bill. 32

33 How a Bill Becomes a Law If passed, the bill moves to other committees or to the full chamber. The full chamber then votes on the bill. If it passes in one chamber, it is sent to the other for review. A bill goes through the same process in the second chamber as it did in the first. A bill can go back and forth between chambers until a consensus is reached. The bill could fail at any point along the way. 33

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35 Engage the Process Directly Attend committee meetings as bills are heard. Provide committee members with input. Ask for support or opposition before. 35

36 Learn and Read More Florida Developmental Disabilities Council: Legislative Information Page Capitol Update Newsletter Partners in Policy Program Disability Rights Florida Website Electronic Newsletter Florida Center for Inclusive Communities Inclusion Insider Newsletter 36

37 Learn and Read More Minnesota Developmental Disabilities Council Online Learning Making Your Case Other Organizations Training Events Look for the Family Network on Disabilities Legislative Webinar scheduled in January.Family Network on Disabilities 37

38 Learn and Read More Florida Self-Advocates Networked (FL SAND) Florida Self-Advocates Networked Florida Unites and WaiverProvider.com Florida UnitesWaiverProvider.com Family Care Council of Florida The Arc of Florida Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities 38

39 Find Inspiration 39 We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which over time add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee. Marian Wright Edelman On Behalf of Children

40 For more information: Sylvia Smith, Margaret Hooper Elizabeth Perkins Daniel Armstrong 40

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