Advocacy

PTA defines advocacy as supporting and speaking up for children - in schools, in communities, and before government bodies and other organizations that make decisions affecting children.

 

For more than a century, PTA has provided families and child advocates with the support, information, and resources needed to focus on the health and education of America's youth.

 

Child advocates work with policy makers at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure sound policies that promote the interests of all children.

 

As the oldest and largest volunteer child advocacy association in the United States, PTA has had an indelible impact on the lives of millions of children and families. PTA’s legacy includes the creation of universal kindergarten classes, child labor laws, school lunch programs, a juvenile justice system, and local school wellness policies.

 

State laws can have a major impact on the health and education of our children. Involving PTA members in state and local advocacy is an important part of securing adequate state laws, funding, and policy for the care and protection of our children.

 

A legislator’s voting record is public information and within our guidelines to publish.

 

We encourage our members to work with state legislators to influence legislation, serve on local school boards, attend district meetings on topics of local and state budget cuts, work with school leaders and state education officials to implement PTA's National Standards for Family-School Partnerships, and volunteering on Parental Information and Resource Center (PIRC) boards to help guide and build relationships between PIRCs and state PTAs. (National PTA 2011-2012, www.pta.org).

 

Refer to the PTA Nonpartisan Parameters & Guidelines for more details.

Make a Call

Contacting your legislator can be as straightforward as making a call. When timing is critical, phone calls are an effective way to let your legislator know whether you support or oppose a bill – especially if a key decision will occur within 72 hours.

 

The Kansas Legislative has a toll-free HOTLINE.

1-800-432-3924

 

The number is operational fromJanuary through May, during the legislative session.

 

Did you know...

Some calls take less than 5 minutes

The phone is often answered by a secretary or staff member. Briefly introduce yourself. Indicate whether you support or oppose a particular bill or issue. Ask that your preference be noted and passed along to the elected official. Thank the secretary or legislator for their consideration. Done!

 

Be Clear and Polite

If you want to brush up on basic facts, go to Legislative tab of the www.kansas-pta.org for information before making the call.

  1. Introduce yourself and share your city and zip code, making clear you are a constituent.
  2. Let your legislator know you are a PTA member. If you have any special credentials, state them. Just the fact that you're associated with a PTA is a credential, but you may have other qualifications to support your opinion.
  3. Briefly state why you are calling, as congressional offices can be busy. Concise calls tend to be effective.
  4. State the bill number of the issue of interest, if you are calling about pending legislation.
  5. Avoid any personal attacks. Stay focused on the issue.
  6. If calling a federal legislator understand that you will likely be speaking to an aide,  not the legislator, but staff people and secretaries are important contacts as well.

 

Ask for Action

 If your legislator supports the issue:

  • Arm him/her with information supporting their position (this will help counteract opposing viewpoints).
  • Give specific examples of the effect of the bill locally.
  • Give your legislator encouragement to maintain support.
  • Ask him/her to contact committee members, talk to undecided colleagues, or co-sponsor legislation.

 If your legislator opposes the issue:

  • Ask him/her to reconsider his/her position
  • Give specific examples of the effects of the bill locally.
  • Give information to support a positive position.
  • Ask your legislator not to propose or support amendments that would hurt the bill’s chances.
  • Don't forget to thank them for taking the time to talk with you.


 


www.kansas-pta.org

Publication of the Kansas PTA Advocacy Team (2011).

Debbie Lawson  debbie@burlislawson.com

Nancy Niles Lusk nnlusk@kc.rr.com

Mary Sinclair, PhDmsinclair1@kc.rr.com

 

The Kansas legislature consists of two chambers — the House of Representatives (125 members) and the Senate (40 members). Each Kansan is represented by one member in each chamber. Legislators from both houses are referred to as members of Congress. Outlined below is the most basic route and timeline a bill would follow in order to become a law.

 

 

JAN – Introducing a Bill.  Any member of Congress may introduce legislation. The bill is given a number according to the order and chamber it was introduced and then referred to a committee within the chamber of origin. For example, the tenth bill introduced by a state Senator on an issue related to school transportation would be assigned the number SB10 and would most likely be referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Education.

 

JAN – Committee Action. Committee chairpersons are assigned by the political party in power. Each committee has a chair, vice chair and ranking minority party member. The chairperson decides whether or not a bill will dead-end or be given a hearing or a “mark-up” for further action. The chairperson then decides whether to hold a vote to move the bill out of committee.

 

FEB  – Floor Debate and Votes Once a bill is voted out of committee, the next opportunity for action is an introduction to all members of its chamber of origin. In the House of Representatives, the speaker of the house determines if and when a bill will come before the full body for a vote. In the Senate, this is the function of the majority leader. Each chamber of the legislative branch has a different process for voting on and amending bills after they are introduced.

 

MARCH – Referral to the Other Chamber.  After a bill has been passed by one chamber of Congress, it is then referred to the other chamber. Upon receiving a referred bill, the second chamber may consider the bill as it was received, reject it, or amend it.

 

APRIL  – Conference on a Bill.  If the House and Senate versions of a bill vary after passing both chambers, a conference committee is created to reconcile the two different versions of the bill. If no agreement can be reached, the bill dies. If the conference committee is able to come to a consensus, both the House and Senate must pass the new version of the bill. If either chamber does not pass this version, the bill dies. Often, the House and Senate committees of jurisdiction will negotiate provision of non-controversial bills to avoid conference.

 

APRIL – Action by the Governor.  After the final version of the bill is passed in both chambers of the legislature, it is sent to the Governor to be signed into law. The Governor can either pass the bill with a signature or veto the bill. Taking no action is referred to as a “pocket-veto”. The state legislature can override a veto with two-thirds of the roll call vote and change the bill into a law.

 

last week of APRIL – Veto Session.  Both chambers of the Kansas legislature have the option to reconvene after the regular session to vote on any bills the Governor may have vetoed. Recently, this time has been used by the legislature to resolve major budget bills that should have been completed during the regular session.

 

Excerpted from Kansas Action for Children and National PTA — links to full details below:

How a Bill Becomes a Law — PDF download from the National PTA website.

The Kansas legislative process— PDF download from the Kansas Advocacy Center.


www.kansas-pta.org

Publication of the Kansas PTA Advocacy Team (2011).  

Debbie Lawson  debbie@burlislawson.com  

Nancy Niles Lusk nnlusk@kc.rr.com

Mary Sinclair, PhD  msinclair1@kc.rr.com