GSCSW advocates for state legislation pertinent to the social work profession as well as our clients. With membership input, the legislative advocacy agenda is set prior to the legislative session, which begins on the second Monday in January.
In addition, the GSCSW legislative committee tracks pertinent legislation as is passes through the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives. We send informational emails to members and encourage members to give direct feedback to our legislators and those with whom we collaborate regarding our personal opinions on the matter. GSCSW members have the opportunity to get involved personally in the development of policy by volunteering to testify in front of various committees of the General Assembly on matters important to them. We encourage all of our members to get involved, as decisions made at our state’s capitol affect our clients, ourselves, and our profession.
The only way a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can work is if the people actually get involved!! Here are some suggestions for doing just that:
Did you know that only 50% of Georgians are registered to vote? Of that 50%, only 40% actually exercise their right to vote. That means that 20% of Georgians influence the decisions made for the remaining 80% of us!!! As citizens, our right to vote is the single most important way we have to influence the people who make the decisions for our local, state, and federal governments, and most of us don’t even do it. Get educated about the candidates. Vote early, and vote often.
- Get to Know Your Legislators
Did you know that if a legislator hears from a constituent at least three times, she/he knows who that person is and why they’re calling? When they’re not in session, legislators are in their hometown, where they are prime targets for getting to know their constituents and their concerns. Find out who they are. Check their websites regularly to find out what they are doing. Meet them in their office. Invite them to your organization to meet clients who are willing to talk to them. Put a face on the decisions they make!
- Watch Advocacy Websites
Did you know that up-to-the minute information regarding the General Assembly is available via the internet? Bookmark and regularly visit websites which track legislative sessions and decisions. GSCSW members can log onto the GA General Assembly’s website at http://www.legis.ga.gov to view all pending legislation for current and recent past legislative years. In addition, other helpful website includes Project Vote Smart at http://votesmart.org
- Voice Your Concerns and Priorities
Did you know that the best time to contact your legislators is when they’re NOT in session? Legislators don’t just don’t work during the 40 days they’re in session. Not only are they there to work for you year-round, they are actually more available to you when they’re not in session, when they are extremely busy and have many people competing for their attention all at once. They are more likely to take time to meet with you and give your concerns their full attention when they are back home among their constituents. Make a point of getting to know your legislators in the off-season so that they are more likely to seek out your opinion or take your calls when they’re in session. Don’t forget that you can advocate not only for yourself and your issues, but you can also advocate for your clients as well!
- Join GSCSW’s Legislative Committee
Help get the word out to your Social Work peers by becoming involved in GSCSW’s Legislative Committee. Contact the Committee Chair, Barbara Lewison, LCSW at email@example.com
- Legislative Tracking: NASW-GA’s public website tracks current Georgia legislation and provides a way for you to find out your district and legislators.
- Secretary of State’s website provides information on registering to vote and the election process.
- Find out who your Senator and Representative is in the Georgia General Assembly and the U.S. Congress; look up voting records on current legislators and candidates running for state and national positions.
- Legislative information on U.S. Congress including status of bills, committee information and congressional voting records.
- Legislative Update 2017
Links are provided for informational purposes only. GSCSW does not monitor accuracy or contents of these sites.
Georgia General Assembly Report
Find out what’s been happening during the Georgia General Assembly from the Georgia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Read more here.
Areas of Legislative Advocacy
GSCSW advocates for legislation pertinent to the social work profession as well as to our clients. Items on this year’s advocacy agenda include:
- Aging and Disability
Items addressed included increased funding of home and community-based services; allowing individuals with disabilities to reenter the work force while maintaining Medicaid coverage; supporting minimum standards for nursing facilities and for the Georgia Senior Legal Hotline; and monitoring bills about predatory lending practices will be closely monitored and supported as appropriate.
Advocacy focused on supporting legislation that improves protective services, foster care, and adoption systems throughout the State. It also focused on measures that protect and strengthen the social/environmental conditions of all families.
- Civil Rights
Advocacy focused on ameliorating or preventing discrimination based on any preference or personal characteristic, condition or status. Measures that positively addressed the inequities in the adult and juvenile justice systems are tracked and monitored, and appropriation of funds that promote social justice for all Georgia citizens was supported.
- Consumer Affairs
The prevention of predatory lending practices and legislation regarding accessibility and funding of consumer health/mental services and products were addressed.
Advocacy supported legislation that promotes environmental safety and health in rural and urban areas.
- Family/Domestic Violence
Items addressed included legislative initiatives that promote safe and secure families and neighborhoods through violence prevention, early intervention, conflict negotiation and mediation as well as the provision of effective education, treatment and rehabilitation services for victims and perpetrators of abuse.
- Physical and Mental Health
Advocacy focused on supporting legislation related to healthcare quality, delivery and accessibility, as well as provision of prescription drugs and other continuing care services. Particular attention was given to mental health care access, delivery and funding.
Advocacy focused on the inclusion of the professional social worker in the delivery of services affecting the health and well being of the citizens of Georgia. In addition, monitoring legislation to assure appropriate use of the title “social worker” was a priority.
- Reproductive Choice
Advocacy focused on supporting legislation protecting a woman’s right to reproductive health and choices as well as measures to provide comprehensive sex education in the schools.
- Welfare Reform
Advocacy and monitoring efforts are directed toward measures that modify current legislation regarding existing benefits and options available to current and former public assistance recipients.
Contact the Committee Chair, Barbara Lewison, LCSW at firstname.lastname@example.org