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Scott Barstow Carrie Wilde, Ph.D., CRC National Training Conference on Rehabilitation Education October 19, 2003. Legislative Education for Educators: Resources for Teaching and Action on Current Events. The Importance of Legislative Advocacy Training.

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slide1
Scott Barstow

Carrie Wilde, Ph.D., CRC

National Training Conference on Rehabilitation Education

October 19, 2003

Legislative Education for Educators: Resources for Teaching and Action on Current Events
the importance of legislative advocacy training
The Importance of Legislative Advocacy Training
  • Counselors & clients are affected by public policy and legislation everyday
  • Legislative advocacy is a necessary function of the professional and its organizations
  • Yet it is not a professional activity in which many counselors participate
  • By providing training (early), counselors may be more inclined to get involved
why incorporate advocacy training in rehabilitation counselor education
Why incorporate advocacy training in Rehabilitation Counselor Education?
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Excite, empower, motivate, energize
  • Provide information
  • Develop skills and confidence
  • Professional identity development
  • Knowledge of social issues
  • Employability skills
  • Advancing the profession and the country
counselors clients are affected by public policy and legislation everyday
Counselors & clients are affected by public policy and legislation everyday
  • Licensure/certification
  • Recognition under state/federal laws and programs
  • Funding for counseling positions
  • Laws and regulations affecting counseling practice (HIPAA, ADA, Rehab Act)
  • Laws and regulations affecting counselors’ clients (minimum wage, TANF, SSI/SSDI, Medicaid funding, education funding)
legislative update wia rehabilitation act
Legislative Update:WIA & Rehabilitation Act
  • House passed bad bill in May (H.R. 1261)
    • Block granted adult, dislocated worker, youth
    • Allows Governors to unilaterally take money from VR, Medicaid, mental health, disability, other programs to fund One-Stop “infrastructure development”
    • Allows publicly-funded religious discrimination in hiring of employment, training, and rehabilitation personnel
    • Ended Commissioner status for head of RSA
  • Senate bill (S. 1627) approved by HELP committee
    • Avoids major mistakes of House bill, still taps “program partners” for infrastructure development
    • May not reach Senate floor before end of session, but Rehab Act reauthorization may still occur this year

ACA PP&L, 2003

legislative update tanf reauthorization
Legislative Update:TANF Reauthorization
  • ON HOLD: Six month extension passed, through March, 2004
  • House passed bad bill in February (H.R. 4)
    • Significantly increases beneficiary work requirements, state participation rates
    • Restricts access to education and training services
    • Contains only marginal increase for child care funding
  • Senate bill approved by Finance Committee
    • Somewhat increases beneficiary work requirements and state participation rates
    • Largely maintains education and training services access
    • Vote likely on Senate floor on large increase in federal spending on child care
legislative update medicare
Legislative Update:Medicare
  • H.R. 1, S. 1, Medicare prescription drug and program update legislation, now in conference committee
    • $400 billion bill, biggest change in Medicare since program’s inception
    • S. 1 contains counselor, MFT coverage language, sponsored by Senators Craig Thomas (R-WY) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
    • H.R. 1 Significantly increases beneficiary work requirements, state participation rates
  • Action may be completed soon, otherwise election year politics may polarize positions
legislative update idea
Legislative Update:IDEA
  • “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,” establishes special education programs and services
  • House bill (H.R. 1350) opposed by ACA and most education groups
    • undermines services and protections for students with disabilities and their families
    • removes current statutory language requiring state education agencies to support personnel standards based on highest requirements in the state
  • Senate bill (S. 1248) approved by HELP Committee, may be brought to floor by end of October, but may also be put off until January of next year
  • ACA working with CCD, NAPSO coalitions to maintain emphasis on qualified personnel
legislative advocacy is a necessary function of the professional and its organizations
Legislative advocacy is a necessary function of the professional and its organizations
  • NO ONE is going to do it for us
  • Numbers count!:
    • Professional organization membership dues are the primary source of funding for legislative work (lobbyist, information dissemination, web page, mailings, fly-ins, Legislative Institute, trainings, studies…)
    • Bigger membership = more clout (especially if members are active!) AARP v. us
other aca s
Other “ACA’s”
  • Am. Camping Assn
  • Am. Canoe Assn
  • Am. Correctional Assn
  • Am. Communications Assn
  • Am. Collectors Assn
  • Am. Chiropractic Assn
  • Am. Citizens Abroad
  • Am. Council on Alcoholism
  • Am. Cycling Assn
  • Amputee Coalition of America
  • Arms Control Assn
  • Adult Children of Alcoholics
  • Assn of Consulting Actuaries
  • Appalachian College Assn
  • American Callers Assn
  • American Canine Assn
why be an advocate it won t make a difference anyway
“Why be an advocate? It won’t make a difference, anyway.”
  • Cause and effect—voting/participation rates; you get out of the system what you put into it
  • Policy is made the 364 days out of the year when there aren’t elections
  • How does your member of Congress or state legislator know about your issue?
  • The squeakiest wheel gets the grease, and there are lots of wheels squeaking
  • There is no end to what you can do: writing, meeting, campaigning, picketing, talking, organizing, running for elected office
  • It’s your only alternative if you want to change anything: ”Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.”—Winston Churchill
why be an advocate it won t make a difference anyway1
“Why be an advocate? It won’t make a difference, anyway.”
  • The importance of swinging (baseball analogy)
  • Congress was not constituted to enact laws, but rather to keep bad laws from being enacted; legislative change is supposed to happen slowly
  • You don’t hit a single (or a double, or a homer) without coming up to the plate, time and again, and taking your swings
  • Asking for a specific law/regulation change = getting in line
how does your member of congress or state legislator know about your issue and take action
How does your member of Congress or state legislator know about your issue, and take action?
  • He/She is smart
  • He/She probably knows a counselor
  • Someone else is probably talking to them
  • We’ve got a lobbyist
  • He/She will do the right thing, it’s her/his job
why be an advocate someone else will do it
“Why be an advocate? Someone else will do it.”
  • Someone else may not be doing it!
  • Even if someone else is doing it, what if there were two voices instead of one?
  • It only takes a few contacts to make a difference on minor issues
  • Your call or letter may not be the 10th or 20th one that goads a legislator into action, but it makes that 10th or 20th call or letter possible
preparing for your district visit know what you want
Preparing for Your District Visit: Know What you Want

What your lawmaker can do for you:

  • Introduce or co-sponsor a bill or amendment
  • Vote for/against legislation
  • Send a “Dear Colleague” letter; talk/write a committee chair on your behalf
  • Speak in favor of your position in public
  • Say “I support you” or “I’ll consider your comments”
  • Help answer questions, solve problems

ACA PP&L, 2003

preparing for your district visit getting to know your legislator
Preparing for your District Visit:Getting to Know Your Legislator

DO YOUR HOMEWORK:

  • Who are your senators, representatives?
  • What is their legislative record and general philosophy?
  • What issues are they passionate about?
  • What committees are they on?
  • What party do they belong to?
  • Are they newly elected, a senior or ranking member, chair?
preparing for your district visit getting to know the office
Preparing for your District Visit:Getting to Know the Office

Who’s Who:

  • District/State Scheduler
  • Field Representative(s)
  • District/State Office Director

What to Expect:

  • Limited time
  • Limited space
  • Limited attention
out of the mouths of babes tips from congressional staffers
Out of the Mouths of Babes:Tips from Congressional Staffers

In a recent survey, staffers agreed most on

the following:

  • Abide by the 5 minute rule (98%)
  • Advocates should know something about the district (80%)
  • Leave limited, highly relevant and focused materials (80%)
  • 1-3 people is the ideal number to come to a meeting in the office (78%)
  • Don’t chat, have an action plan (76%)

Advanced Consulting, 2003

planning your district visit the logistics
Planning your District Visit:The Logistics
  • Limit the number of people involved
  • If you are visiting as a group, know who will say what
  • Plan for parking
  • Plan for security
  • Plan for time
    • Expect delays
    • Meeting length = 15 minutes
    • Keep content to 5 minutes, 1- 3 talking points
timing is everything district work periods dwp
January 7

February 17 - 21

April 14 - 25

May 26 - 30

June 30 - July 4

July 28 – Labor Day

September 3

September 30

November - December

Congress reconvenes

Presidents Day DWP

Spring Break

Memorial Day DWP

July 4th DWP

August DWP

Return to DC

Fiscal year ends

Adjourn for the year

Timing is Everything: District Work Periods (DWP)

2003

:

how should you ask visiting or talking with a legislator staffer
How Should You Ask?Visiting or Talking with a Legislator/Staffer
  • Legislators are hungry for front-line information, and talking to their constituents is the best way to get it
  • Legislators put their pants/pantyhose on one leg at a time—they’re not dukes and duchesses, they are your employees!
  • Legislators want to—and need to—be liked
  • Pretend legislators and their staffs are in customer relations at your local Sears or Wal-Mart

ACA PP&L, 2003

how should you ask developing your message
How Should You Ask?Developing your Message
  • Know your facts
  • Make it your own message
    • Share personal and professional stories
  • Be positive
  • Be specific – Ask for something
  • Adhere to the 5 Minute Rule

ACA PP&L, 2003

communicating with legislators and staff
Communicating with Legislators and Staff
  • Develop a long-term relationship – BE A REHAB COUNSELOR
  • Always be courteous, dependable, honest
  • Don’t be afraid to say “ I don’t know” – this can turn out to be a great tool for follow up!
  • Dealing with staff rather than legislators has its advantages - Expect (and appreciate) youth
  • Institutional memory in an elected official’s office can be short
  • Don’t assume they know anything about your issue

ACA PP&L, 2003

how to conduct a lobbying visit
How to Conduct a Lobbying Visit
  • Walk into office and introduce yourself to the receptionist
  • Begin meeting by explaining who you are , who you represent, and who rehabilitation counselors are
  • Hit the issue – ask for something specific!
  • Provide materials for future reference
  • Thank the legislator. staff member for their time/help, and exchange business cards
  • Follow up!! ACA PP&L, 2003
follow through on your visit maintaining contact
Follow through on your visit: Maintaining Contact
  • Telephone calls
  • Letter, email, fax, postcard
  • Write a letter to editor, or a newsletter article
    • Be sure to share a copy with the legislator
  • Invite Legislator to your classroom or professional meeting
  • Support the legislator
    • Volunteer
    • Send money ACA PP&L, 2003
aca public policy legislation resources
ACA Public Policy & LegislationResources
  • “Washington Update” section of Counseling Today
  • ACA web pages
    • http://www.counseling.org/site/PageServer?pagename=public
    • http://capwiz.com/counseling
  • Reports and briefing papers
    • Available at conferences and on the web
  • Government relations listserv
  • ACA Legislative Institute—February 22-24, 2004, in Alexandria, Virginia

ACA PP&L, 2003

legislative advocacy resources arca ncre
Legislative Advocacy ResourcesARCA & NCRE
  • ARCA Public Policy & Legislation
    • Chair: Carrie Wilde, wildec@stjohns.edu
    • Web page, listserv, ARCA newsletter
  • NCRE Public Policy & Legislation
    • Webpage, listserv, NCRE newsletter
legislative advocacy resources how to track legislation
Legislative Advocacy Resources:How to Track Legislation
  • Library of Congress, “Thomas” http://thomas.loc.gov
  • www.senate.gov
  • www.house.gov
  • State Legislative web sites

ACA PP&L, 2003

legislative advocacy resources aca public policy legislation
Legislative Advocacy Resources:ACA Public Policy & Legislation

Phone: 800-347-6647 Fax: 800-473-2329

Scott Barstow, x234 rehab, vocational, employment, career

sbarstow@counseling.org counseling, state counseling issues

Chris Campbell, x241 grassroots, communications,

ccampbell@counseling.org education issues

Dara Alpert, x242 mental health, substance abuse,

dalpert@cousneling.org healthcare, social advocacy

Christie Lum, x354 administration & logistics

clum@counseling.org publications, listserv, web page

Call us with questions, and with comments and input!

a parting thought
A Parting Thought

“You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no results.”

Mahatma Ghandi