Influencing Legislation, Regulations, and Electoral Politics 169 live and connecting them with community and social support systems. You are one of only two social workers employed by the agency. In addition to the pro- fessional social workers, there is an agency director and three case managers. Using information readily available on the state’s legislative website, the coauthor provided students with a copy of the bill, key legislators, and the steps that had been—and still needed to be—taken prior to its hearing in the state capitol (the legislative session was taking place when the coauthor was present- ing the material). You and your fellow social worker learned that the state is considering legislation that would allow some incarcerated offenders to register to vote. Many of your clients would qualify under this law, and you believe that allowing them to register to vote while still incarcerated and educating and encouraging them to vote in upcoming elections would be empowering and assist them in successfully returning to their communities. What first steps could you take? Some possibilities (which are not mutually exclusive) include the following: Mobilize clients, staff, or both at your agency. Mobilize the support of colleagues and staff at other agencies that serve cli- ents with criminal backgrounds. Contact state legislators. Develop and deliver testimony. If you divided the class into small groups, have each group present a summary of their discussion to the class. Based on the presentations and sub- sequent discussion, have the class develop a consensus plan of action. This assignment can easily be adapted into a graded one. 4. If needed, or if you prefer, you can engage students in the activity in exer- cise 3 using a regulatory issue, preferably one that surfaced in one or more of the students’ field experiences. 5. As we noted in Chapter 15, the text went into production during a period of major social unrest. Consider basing the exercises we have presented in this chapter on one or more of the issues the protests reflect: Black Lives Matter police reform overreach of federal law enforcement health and income dispar- ities voter suppression etc.
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