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Lobbying policymakers to defend and improve science education

Webinar conducted December 18, 2013.

Josh RosenauDena Sher, Image via ACLUVic Hutchison, holding a photo of the eponymic Anodonthyla hutchisoniDescription: Bills attacking evolution education and climate change education were filed in almost a dozen state legislatures last year, and a new legislative season starting in January will bring many more.

Stopping bad legislation and encouraging policymakers to support strong science education requires the active involvement of local citizens. When lawmakers hear from their own constituents—the voters who put them in office, the neighbors and colleagues whose good opinion they value—bad bills can be stopped and science education can be made stronger. When local citizens are silent, or can be shouted down by a vocal opposition, dangerous laws are enacted. 

This interactive training will be led by a panel of state lobbying experts. They will discuss their own experience fighting bad bills, and share advice and resources to help citizens like you become active and effective lobbyists on behalf of science education. Experienced activists will have a chance to hone their skills, while those without lobbying experience will learn how to get involved and be most effective without repeating common mistakes of rookie lobbyists. We will discuss how to keep track of a bill's progress, how to identify and befriend sympathetic legislators, and why the most effective lobbying happens well before testimony at a committee hearing. 

The panel will be led by Josh Rosenau, Programs and Policy Director for the National Center for Science Education. He has worked with citizens in dozens of states as they worked to fight dangerous bills. Vic Hutchison is a professor emeritus at U. Oklahoma and founder and past president of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, a group of concerned citizens with a remarkably successful record of blocking anti-science bills in the conservative Oklahoma legislature. Dena Sher fights creationist policies and other attacks on civil liberties as legislative counsel at the ACLU's national office, and previously as state legislative counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State.