State Legislators Who They Are And How To Work With Them: A Guide for School Health Professionals

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State Legislators Who They Are And How To Work with Them: A Guide for School Health Professionals  (PDF file 16 pages)

State legislators form opinions and vote on legislation that affects adolescents every year, including developing, overseeing and funding a wide range of adolescent school health programs. Even during times when other policy issues take precedence—for most states in 2010 that meant balancing the budget—lawmakers continue to take actions on a range of issues related to adolescent health, some of which are identified at right.

Because of the variety and complexity of the policy issues before them, state legislators often rely on their staff, researchers, experts in the field, lobbyists, practitioners and community members to gather information and develop policies that address a need or respond to an opportunity (such as new federal funds). Legislators have access to research through legislative staff or research organizations such as the National Conference of State Legislatures; however, they also rely on experts in the field—people like you—for information and first-hand perspectives about the effects of laws and public funding on adolescents.

This guide is designed to:

•   Help school health professionals and administrators understand how state legislatures work and how state legislators gather information and develop policies related to adolescent health.
•   Identify how people outside the state capitol—specifically, school health professionals—can communicate effectively with their elected leaders and provide constructive input through the legislative process.