Committee - LAC
Legislative Advocacy Committee
- The LAC is led by the LAC Chair, or a Chair and Co-Chair leadership team.
- The Chair/Co-Chair prepares agendas for LAC meetings, conducts LAC meetings, and is the leader distributing and/or assigning tasks to the LAC members.
- The Chair/Co-Chair receives information from others and using a collaborative process determines what actions to take and who in the committee is best suited or volunteers work on the task.
- The Chair/Co-Chair may create subcommittees or suggest to the BOT that a Task Force be formed for larger or more complex tasks.
- In order to maintain continuity and adjust to the ever-changing political landscape it is recommended that the LAC strive to meet monthly when the legislature is out of session, and weekly (Day of the week to be determined) during legislative sessions.
- LAC meetings are times for:
- Planning for upcoming legislative events,
- Members sharing research on topics,
- Leadership team updating members on all the legislative activities happening,
- Leadership assigning tasks to members,
- Discussion on bills with recommendations or action plans to be developed,
- Review of talking points or other materials,
- Discussion of the functioning of the committee, or other topics.
- Minutes of the LAC meetings should be kept and be available to WSPA BOT and members.
- LAC members are encouraged to keep the LAC leadership team informed of progress on an assigned topic or task.
- The major function of LAC is to review, and monitor introduced bills and act to support or oppose selected bills at the direction of the BOT. Actions may be:
- Distributing information to legislators,
- Arranging member meetings with legislators,
- Testifying at hearings,
- Participating in meetings with stakeholders,
- Directing our lobbyist to take certain actions.
- The LAC strives to develop relationships with legislators and other stakeholders towards building coalitions that support and align with WSPA mission.
- The LAC may help to plan, prepare, and introduce legislation at the direction of the BOT.
- The LAC strives to inform and involve WSPA members of legislative activities which may affect the practice of psychology; that potentially threatens the integrity and strength of licensing statue and/or disciplinary process; that may impact mental health parity and any legislation that directly or indirectly affects mental health treatment and/or access to mental health care.
- LAC supports and may provide advocacy training to WSPA members.
- LAC endeavors to collaborate with United Psychologists - Political Action Committee (UP-PAC) to inform them of legislators’ involvement with WSPA and/or legislative relationship needs.
- Ideally, most of WSPA legislative activities should be subsumed in the LAC to facilitate ease of coordination & communication. With BOT knowledge, LAC will scaffold, as needed, subcommittees or Task Forces to address emerging political issues (i.e. Prescriptive Authority).
- Reviewing And Monitoring Introduced Bills
- The LAC will develop and adjust WSPA’s Legislative Agenda (see Preparing Agenda document).
- LAC members will use this document in conjunction with WSPA’s legislative priorities when reviewing introduced legislation.
- DPA & WSPA’s Lobbyist will provide input to WSPA’s Legislative Agenda and priorities.
- The LAC Chair or Co-Chair will work closely with our Lobbyist during a legislative session arranging for weekly reviews (Monday AM/Thursday AM) of all bills introduced and are of interest to WSPA be triaged, researched and evaluated for possible response and/or future actions.
- LAC Chair or Co-Chair will have assembled a list of bills to be assigned to LAC members to read/review (THURSDAY) pre-filed bills or bills that are on the Legislative Floor for First Reading (Bills must have 3 readings in each house in order to pass the Legislature). Bills are then assigned to specific committees. Committees hold 3 kinds of meetings:
- Work Sessions
- Relevant issues are determined and reviewed.
- Public Hearings
- Testimony from interested parties are taken, and,
- Executive Sessions
- When the committee decides how it will report the bill to the whole house.
- NOTE: Not all bills get scheduled for a hearing and never move out of committee.
- When the committee decides how it will report the bill to the whole house.
- LAC members are asked to review each bill in terms of the bill’s level of PRIORITY to WSPA Legislative Agenda and provide a recommendation as what WSPA’s POSITION should be regarding the bill.
- DETERMINING PRIORITY – ALL bills START at MEDIUM PRIORITY. After review - the bill will either be HIGH (Priority), REJECTED (as filtered by our AGENDA) or request further MONITORING.
- A recommendation for Monitoring means the LAC member would like others to review and weigh in.
- DETERMINING POSITION – ALL bills START at NEUTRAL POSITION. After review - the bill will be designated as one WSPA should SUPPORT or OPPOSE.
- LAC members are encouraged to complete a BILL REVIEW WORKSHEET (See proposed Worksheet) that include brief notes or comments concerning how and why they made their recommendations for each bill they read.
- The LAC reviewer communicates their notes and recommendations to the Chair/Co-Chair by SATURDAY of that week. If a bill is designated needing further MONITORING the Chair/Co-Chair will ask other members to review the bill.
- Please note that additional read-throughs by other LAC members is highly encouraged as many of the bills will be poorly written, vague or excessively complicated and we are all learning from each other.
- As a bill moves through the committee process, the staff prepares the bill report, which will include the legislative history of the bill, background on the issue, a summary of the legislation, the names of those who testified and a summary of the testimony for and against the bill.
- LAC Chair/Co-Chair prepares all the data from the reviewers to prepare for a LAC ZOOM Review Meeting (Sunday).
- (Proposing) LAC Conduct a Review Meeting (Sunday – time to be determined). Chair/Co-Chair facilitates this weekly meeting (the DPA and WSPA President is invited to attend).
The PURPOSE of this meeting is to:
1) Update & inform members of recommendations made for each reviewed bill and determine which if any of the bills need to be submitted to the WSPA BOT for further action, response or position
2) Chair/Co-Chair may elicit further discussions of more complex bills or bills that the group needs to discuss/decide recommendations,
3) If necessary and appropriate, continue to develop a Plan of Action on bills designated as HIGH Priority that WSPA is either in SUPPORT or in OPPOSITION that the LAC will be recommending to the BOT. Such planning may include: arranging testimony, assist in the research and scripting for testimony, preparing bulleted talking points, request members to contact their legislator, reach out to other stakeholders, etc.).
4) Amend WSPA Legislative Agenda with these new weekly data/decisions.
- LAC Chair/Co-Chair in collaboration with WSPA President & DPA will determine the level of urgency and action after reviewing LAC recommendations from weekly bill reading on MONDAY morning. The BOT must approve any revisions recommended by the LAC to the WSPA Legislative Agenda.
- LAC Chair/Co-Chair contacts and informs Lobbyist of revised Legislative agenda and oversees the actions/plans related to the weekly decisions made.
- LAC Chair/Co-Chair informs DPA (or other designated LAC member) of the weekly decisions. DPA informs the WSPA membership of the weekly bills under consideration and decisions/positions on those bills. (Tuesday).
- Developing Relationships With Other Stakeholders:
- In coordination with the BOT the LAC Chair/Co-Chair will facilitate with LAC members what organizations or groups the WSPA needs to contact or order to form a more perfect coalition, which may strengthen WSPA legislation efforts.
- LAC Chair/Co-Chair decides who from the LAC is to make contact to other groups for legislative efforts.
- The person(s) designated by the LAC Chair/Co-Chair reports back to the Chair/Co-Chair regularly concerning the contacts and progress made.
- The LAC Chair/Co-Chair will update as necessary the WSPA BOT of contacts and connections made with outside groups.
- These contacts and relationships are made for the purposes of:
- Gaining insights into what other groups may be planning to do legislatively,
- To increase and improve the reputation/credibility of WSPA and psychologists in general, and
- Build partnerships with like-minded groups to affect legislative change that aligns with WSPA’s Mission.
3. Plan, Prepare, And Introduce Legislation:
- Any and all legislation being introduced on behalf of WSPA should involve the LAC input & recommendations.
- The LAC may be involved in the research and planning of legislation on WSPA’s behalf. The LAC and the WSPA BOT may delegate parts of the planning and preparation of new legislation to others with the understanding that the LAC and the BOT be kept informed of progress and efforts made by any outside entity.
- The LAC will strive to be equipped to assist with the introduction of legislation. This preparation may include:
- Research a problem/issue facing the practice of Psychology,
- Research other jurisdiction’s solutions to such a problem or issue,
- Propose a legislative fix/alternative to the WSPA BOT,
- Build partners and coalitions to support proposed legislation,
- Analyze and acquire potential legislative sponsors,
- Provide supportive materials needed for bill passage (talking points, documents, individuals to testify),
- Collaborate with Grassroots Advocates and WSPA members to make legislator contact when needed, and
- Be the liaison to APA for legislative matters.
4. Inform & Involve WSPA Members Of Legislative Matters; Provide Advocacy Skills Training
- The LAC has major responsibilities of informing and educating WSPA members and various entities within WSPA (BOT, DPA, UP-PAC, Ad hoc JD/PhD Committee, Grassroots Advocates, lobbyist) of legislative matters and how they impact psychologists in the State.
- The LAC needs to maintain good collaborative working relationships with various parts of WSPA.