What is LEAD?
LEAD stands for Legislative Education and Advocacy Day. The Social Work Student LEAD event is hosted annually by the National Association of Social Workers - New York State (NASW-NYS) Chapter, the New York State Social Work Education Association (NYSSWEA), and the New York State Association of the Deans of Schools of Social Work, and brings hundreds of social work students and professionals to the Capitol in Albany. The goal of this event is to further social workers’ knowledge about policy issues in substantive areas of social work practice, teach participants about legislative advocacy, and provide an opportunity for social workers to lobby on behalf of specific legislation.
What are we advocating for?
This year, the 2018 Social Work Student LEAD event will advocate for:
(1) Social Work Investment Initiative (#InvestinSocialWork)
(2) Banning conversion therapy (#BornPerfect)
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) launched a national campaign today to end so-called "conversion therapy," also known by the misnomers "reparative therapy," "ex-gay therapy," or "sexual orientation change efforts."
2018 LEAD RESOURCES AND MATERIALS
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Empire State Plaza Convention Center
8:00 – 9:30 am Registration
9:30 – 10:00am Morning Program/Review of Issues/Review of Agenda
10:15 – 10:40 am Rally at West Capitol Park
11:00-2:45pm Legislative Appointments & Blanket Canvassing
3:00-3:30pm Closing Program (Return to Convention Center)
The Empire State Plaza Convention Center is located at the Underground Concourse, below the Egg Performing Arts Center.
The rally will begin at 10:15AM at West Capitol Park.
Social Work Investment Initiative Toolkit
Make a difference in your profession. This toolkit is free to download.
Social Work Investment Initiative Call-In Day: March 6
Get involved today. Call your legislators and urge them to end the exemption and invest in social work.
Opinion: I Was Tortured in Gay Conversion Therapy. And It’s Still Legal in 41 States.
NYTimes, Sam Brinton, 1.24.18
Conversion Therapy and LGBT Youth
The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, Christy Mallory, Taylor N.T. Brown, and Kerith J. Conron, 1.18
HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW IN NEW YORK STATE
1. A bill is introduced by a Senator or Assemblymember.
2. It is given a number and sent to the appropriate standing committee.
3. The members of the committee evaluate bills and decide whether to "report" them (send them) to the floor for a final decision by the full membership of that legislative house. Other Committee actions that can be taken on bills are: public hearings, amendment, defeat, or hold for consideration.
4. If it is reported out of committee, it goes to the third reading calendar. The bill must then age for three legislative days before it is voted on. At this point the bill is subject to amendment (changes have been made to the original bill), star (all further action on such bill is suspended until further notice), lay aside (the bill is either taken off the calendar for that day or put aside to debate on the floor), recommittal (has been sent back to a committee).
5. If passed in one house, the bill is then sent to the other house where it is treated as a new bill and referred to a committee. Once that house passes the bill in the identical form it goes to the Governor for approval.
6. The Governor has 10 days (not including Sundays) to sign or veto bills passed by both houses. The Governor's failure to sign or veto a bill within the 10-day period means that it automatically becomes a law.
7. Vetoed bills are returned to the house that first passed them, together with a statement of the reason for their disapproval. A vetoed bill can become law if two-thirds of the members of each house vote to override the Governor's veto.
8. If a bill is sent to the Governor when the Legislature is out of session, the Governor has 30 days to make a decision, and failure to act (pocket veto) has the same effect as a veto.
1. Be prepared. Many legislative visits are part of "lobby days" or other group efforts. Everyone in the group should know what role they are playing. Choose a team leader to address the issue or issues. Many times the legislator may not be able to meet with you, but a staff member is almost always available. Meet with the staff member, they will bring your concerns back to the Legislator. Bring materials for the legislator and/or staff member.
2. Identify yourself. Have group members introduce themselves, who they represent and whether or not they are a constituent.
3. Know your subject. You do not have to be an expert, but know what effect the pending legislation will have/or has had on the area you are representing. If available, convey data specific to the area you are representing. While area is often geographic, it can also be used to describe a field of practice such as child welfare services.
4. Be concise and stay focused. The time allotted for legislative visits is usually 15 to 20 minutes. Get your point across and let the legislator know what you expect from them.
5. Know the legislator. Know the legislator's position on the issue before you meet with them. Stress the importance of their continued support. If the legislator supports your position, tap into their inside knowledge for subsequent courses of action. Visit the legislator’s Senate or Assembly webpages to learn about where their district is, the committees on which they serve, and bills they have sponsored. Assembly Members: assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ Senators: www.nysenate.gov/senators
6. Do not burn any bridges. If they do not support your position, be courteous about disagreements and leave the meeting on good terms with the legislator or staff member. The only way they will change their minds is if they are listening to what you have to say. Even if they don't change their mind on that particular issue, there may be a time in the future when they support another issue. You might ask what information they might need to allow them to change their minds on the issue. This gives you an opening to come back and to revisit the issue with them.
7. Remember you are the boss. Remember your tax dollars pay their salaries. They are responsible to you. You should feel comfortable in your right to be speaking with them. You shouldn't, however, make that point in an explicit statement to the legislator.
8. Follow-up. Thank the legislator or staff member at the conclusion of your visit and follow-up with a brief thank you letter. In your letter, outline any commitments the legislator offered and if you promised some additional information be sure to follow through.
Other Forms of Advocacy
§ Letter writing campaigns to legislators.
§ Grassroots activities such as rallies.
§ Building coalitions.
§ Local lobbying visits by constituents to their legislators.
§ Media activity including news conferences, editorial board visits, letters to the editor.
Legislative Appointments vs. Blanket Canvassing
The LEAD Committee will set up all of your appointments for the day and you will be placed in a group with fellow social work colleagues who share the same legislative representative(s) as you. Your representatives are based on the district/address in which you are registered to vote (sorry, no Senator Gillibrand or Schumer here – that's a much longer bus ride!).
If you are not registered to vote in NY, we will set up appointments based on the location of your school.
Canvassing the floor is an activity that involves working together in teams assigned to specific areas of the Legislative Office Building (LOB) and the Capitol, leaving behind materials at every legislative office to inform them of our advocacy issues.
Group leaders are responsible for taking the lead on assigned meetings with legislators (no more than 2 meetings will be scheduled per person). Knowledge of the issues, comfort in speaking with staff and elected officials and leading the group in conversation are required. Group leaders will also be responsible for the leave behind materials for each meeting they are assigned.