Santa Fe Community Educators Network
Meeting Minutes for February 23, 2018
School for Advanced Research
In Attendance: Amanda Thomas, ARTsmart; Rebecca Chornenky, ARTsmart; Deborah Boldt, Reel Fathers; Brian Skeele, Sustainable Santa Fe; Katie Weeks, Audobon NM; Shawna Jones, Botanical Garden; Leona Hillary, Santa Fe Children's Museum Northern Youth Project; Drew Ayotte, Meow Wolf LLC; Katy Gross, Littleglobe; Joane Lefrak, SITE Santa Fe; Emily McRae, AmeriCorps VISTA; Elysia Poon, SAR; Shannon Bay, Georgia O'Keefe Museum; Pamela Dresher, Bradbury Science Museum; Veronica Silva, Santa Fe Children's Museum; Alanna Herrera, Wise Fool NM; Amanda Lee, SITE Santa Fe; Nadine Stafford, Interfaith Coalition for Public Education; Mollie Toll, Museum of NM; Louise Majorey, Opportunity Santa Fe; Shannon Palermo, Railyard Park Conservancy; Mollie Parsons, Santa Fe Botanical Garden; Katrina Stacey, Georgia O'Keefe Museum; Brenna Two Bears, SAR; Matthew Contos Wikswo, CCA
Presenter: Judy Williams
Judy asked all of the groups to help educate and motivate their constituents to get out and vote.
What is advocacy, and what’s the difference between advocacy and lobbying?
Advocacy is talking about an issue, and advocating for it. This is a GENERAL approach, not directed at a specific action or piece of legislation. Advocacy and lobbying get mixed up . Lobbying is when you ask a legislator to vote for or against a specific piece of legislation. Both are important.
501-c3 organizations can lobby, but can’t devote more than 20% of an annual budget of $500,000 to lobbying. (A sliding scale is applied to larger organizations.)
“How can we get into trouble?” Judy says that’s really unlikely for the groups present. 501-c3 organizations can advocate for a bill, but not for a candidate or political party. (Must be a 501-c4, as the Sierra Club or the NM League pf Women Voters, or another type of organization).
Personal vs. professional advocacy: Make it clear if you are speaking for yourself or the organization. Some organizations don’t want you to state an opinion that differs from that of the organization; some just require you to separate them.
You have a role to play within your organization, letting them know about issues that are worth advocating for.
There is power in numbers. CEN may be able to advocate as a coalition.
What goes on at the legislature?
Know that NM legislators are unpaid, and do not have a staff. They get a ($163) per diem plus mileage during the session, but that’s it. They are eligible for retirement benefits as well. They do plenty of work between sessions, which of course is also unpaid. This one-month session encompassed ~2000 bills, resolutions, memorials and constitutional amendments. There were also about 200 “Dummy Bills, which are just place holders in case las-minute issues arise. LWV finds them non-transparent—introduced late in the session without an explanatory title, and then used to file all kinds of bills at the last minute.
Respect the legislators you interact with—they will remember you. The NM legislature prides itself on its politeness and ability to work together.
Show up, and be punctual (which means early), at hearings. Controversial issues fill committee rooms fast. If you want to speak, you have to get a seat. No standing room. At Committee hearings, it’s important to know how controversial it’s going to be. May be packed into a tiny space.
Be brief and specific and be time sensitive
Do your homework: know positions and policy stances of key players.
You can only lobby or advocate to the legislators who represent you. The others won’t pay much attention. But if you represent an organization you can speak to all the legislators whose votes you want.
Death by committee: if the leadership of each house wants to kill a bill, they assign it to multiple committees. There isn’t enough time for all these committees to meet and consider legislation, so it just dies along the way. This happens because a committee will vote against it, assuring it doesn’t move on to the next committee. Or the committee can just not schedule a bill for a hearing.
Speaking before a committee: you must be very prepared, very brief.
Senators and representatives really want to hear from citizen advocates, and as such you really stand out from the paid lobbyists in suits.
Peter Wirth’s tips for citizen advocacy are excellent and sensible.
The legislative web site (www.nmlegis.gov) is really helpful. Sessions are webcast and archived, so can be watched from outside the Roundhouse. The Bill Finder feature is very helpful for tracing a specific piece of legislation through the system.
The farther along the session gets, the crazier things get.
Senator Peter Wirth (D) and Senator Sander Rue (R) frequently speak at the League’s annual Citizens’ Advocacy Workshops. consistently come to LWV forums. These are open to the public and occur in December, on a Saturday morning.
Find out how to communicate with legislators. Some prefer and consistently read their emails. **They all have their preferences.
Visit legislators’ offices: leave your business card or summary of your position, along with a simple statement about how you wish them to vote on specific legislation.
Www.lwvnm.org http://lwvnm.org/Action/ has brief fact sheets on specific issues and bills.
Educate your legislators as to why it’s important for them to support certain issues. They are looking for “you tell me why I should vote for this bill”.
When you speak: be courteous and respectful, dress professionally. Introduce yourself and your affiliation, and state your position simply and concisely.
Judy invites us to contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org 505-920-7817
The Summer Programming meeting on March 16 will be at 9am at the O'Keeffe Annex
March 30 CEN meeting at Children’s Museum: Integrating summer programing into school year efforts. We will be discussing a recent report by the Wallace Foundation on Integrating Summer Programming into Core District Priorities and operations. http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/Making-Summer-Last.pdf
CEN now represents 46 different organizations. The constituency at any given meeting fluctuates!
Adelante: Shannon Bay: Once a week on Wednesdays. CEN provides programing for homeless or nearly-homeless families. Few spaces left in the school year. See CEN web site for openings.
Creative Collaborations: Matthew Contos: organizations go into classrooms for at least 7 sessions. Funding is $700 per project. Best to slate this for next year if you have not yet signed up, as schools are focused on testing and year-end activities now.
21st c: Daily afterschool curriculum four days a week. nmafterschool.wordpress.com has written descriptions of existing programs. Organizations are paid $1100 for giving the teacher training and….
Summer programing: City has again agreed to fund summer programing, at both Camino Real and Chapparal. Aimed at rising 3rd and 4th graders. This next year there will be a wraparound program during the school year for 2nd and 3rd graders, that could be funneled into the summer program the following summer.
Overview of curriculum due soon on March 15th (to Mollie Parsons, Shannon Bay, or Adria Winfield; must be tied into literacy).
The Summer Programming meeting on March 16 will be at 9am at the O'Keeffe Annex.
Participants in the city summer program are required to attend April 27th (reading tie-in assistance). Others not providing summer programing are also welcome.
Organizations receive $1000 per week of programing delivered.
Programing runs week of M June 11, through F July 20.