168 Influencing Legislation, Regulations, and Electoral Politics 2. Many schools and programs of social work participate in Lobby Days, sponsored by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), which expose students to legislative advocacy at the federal and state levels. If possible, require students to attend a Lobby Day. Afterward, facilitate an in-class discussion of students’ reactions to and thoughts about what they have observed. 3. Alternatively, students can be required to interview a local politician and dis- cuss their views of the political process in general, a specific piece of legisla- tion, or both. Legislative and Regulatory Influence 1. Begin with a brief lecture to acquaint students with the tasks involved in influencing legislative and regulatory processes, referring to the examples pro- vided in the chapter. 2. Refer students to the manual for advocacy published by Indivisible Movement, which we discuss in the chapter. As we note, its authors are former Democratic congressional staff members, but the strategies that it describes are relevant to any attempt at legislative advocacy. 3. Identify a legislative initiative (e.g., legislation under consideration, legis- lation in need of revision, or a social issue that needs to be addressed through legislation). In small groups, or with the class as a whole, ask students to develop a plan to influence legislators at the state, federal, and/or local levels. We recommend that you select the issue or provide students with several issues from which they can choose. The issue should be consistent with the values and ethics of the profession, but also one that all students can embrace. You may wish to select an issue that has surfaced in one of more of your stu- dents’ field experiences, has received media attention, or is under consider- ation in a legislative body. Alternatively, you can select an issue on which your local chapter of NASW—or the national organization—is focused. The pri- orities of NASW may be found at https://www.socialworkers.org/Advocacy/ Policy-Issues. We find that it is helpful to provide students with a practice context within which the need for legislative advocacy is grounded. For example, one of the coauthors used the following case scenario to help students develop a proposal to influence state legislators considering a bill that would allow some individuals with criminal records to vote: You are employed in a transitional housing program for individuals recently released from prison. The goal of your program is to facilitate your clients’ rein- tegration into the community by helping them find employment and a place to
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