ERIC Number: ED202329
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1976-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Forces Which Damage Constructive Relationships From the Point of View of the Legislature or the Fine Art of Legislative Diplomacy.
Blount, Clarence W.
To highlight forces that impede constructive relationships between legislators and agency representatives, advice is offered on presenting testimony in legislative sessions or providing information to a legislator, based on the viewpoint of a state legislator. It is advisable to avoid approaching legislators with the attitude that they are the uninformed and are unable to deal with the complexities of the witnesses' specialized field. Since the legislator will make the decisions, the witness should not present statistical data without interpreting it so that the legislator can understand it. Witnesses should avoid a very lengthy presentation and overused generalizations that proposed legislation is not needed because the function is already being done or because it will be very costly to implement. Presenting information that is false or inaccurate is probably the most destructive form of testimony. A direct and organized approach is essential. Guidelines include the following: know the issue being addressed and the facts that support the position presented; be clear and brief; have all relevant cost figures; offer to answer questions or to send answers to questions that cannot be immediately answered; present any relevant past experience; do not be evasive or antagonistic; use demonstration materials such as charts, graphs, or pictures; do not assume legislators have read material sent to them; and respect time allotments for presentations. In addition to testifying or directly contacting legislators, agency personnel may want to support their cause with a long-range educational campaign to win interest and sympathy for programs. It must be remembered that the legislator has to consider many factors, including the taxpayer who pays the bill. (SW)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, MI.
Authoring Institution: State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.; Education Commission of the States, Denver, CO. Inservice Education Program.