Public Policy 101: Intervening and Testifying in Legislative Settings
This workshop is a continuation of the Public Policy 101 workshops presented at SCRA’s Biennial Conferences since 2005 (Corbett, 2005, 2007, 2009).
This workshop will further the past visions of various SCRA Presidents from 1998 to present that conclude public policy has been neglected and should be a high priority within SCRA. This includes former Presidents Bond, Maton, Solarz, and Toro, such as detailed in their Presidential Columns in The Community Psychologist, 31(3); 32(2); 33(1) and 36(4) or in a Presidential Address on the future direction of the field, such as in The American Journal of Community Psychology 35(1/2) (p. 3-6). More recently, Elias notes the keen need for attention to public policy and proposes it as a three year priority, as detailed in his Presidential Columns 41(3/4); 42(1); and 42(3). Further, he states that SCRA influence on public policy at multiple levels of government is “…long, long overdue”, The Community Psychologist 42(1), p. 2.
The workshop also furthers training in Advocacy and Public Policy, proposed by Scott (2007) as one of the core competencies of CP training and it advances a future vision proposed to promote the professional development and continuing education of SCRA members at all Biennials through Workshops offered throughout the Conference schedule (Corbett, 2008a, 2008b, 2009), as noted in The Community Psychologist, 41(2); 41(3/4) and 42(4), respectively.
The workshop content of Public Policy 101 details an action oriented approach to guide participants to participate in the public policy influencing process through the preparation of pre-filed testimony, testifying and defending the testimony position, as well as bolstering that position during the hearing process. This is done by describing a case where the presenter submitted testimony as a disability advocate, testifying to New York State’s non-compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and U.S. Supreme Court’s Olmstead Decision (Corbett, 2001; 2009). Handouts will include the presenter’s written testimony, a transcript of the cross-examination and additional samples to illustrate different formats, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each.
The workshop furthers both exposure and proficiency training objectives (Corbett, 2008, 2009) by empowering participants to directly intervene with their state legislatures by submitting testimony in various formats while testifying to and defending an advocacy position or social justice issue of their choice. The workshop has potential value to anyone interested in public policy intervention as an advocate, as well as CP faculty who may wish to gain insight into ways to incorporate the Advocacy and Public Policy core competency within their graduate training programs for all students with an interest in public policy intervention.
Christopher J. Corbett is a master’s level community psychologist and member of SCRA (Society for Community Research and Action), ARNOVA and ISTR since 1994.
Keywords: policy advocacy, community psychology practice, scra biennial conference, gjcpp