There is a 2% spending cap on the State Budget, with Medicaid and Education taking up most of that, so there is not a lot of wiggle room for funding other programs. Our $1 million funding request is not controversial, but there will likely be a standard response from legislators that there is little flexibility with funding because of the 2% cap. This is where the argument comes in that budgeting is about priorities, so our role is to articulate why the CDRCs should be a priority for the State and that we would appreciate the legislator giving our request consideration (to support the $1 million and ask their leader to do the same).
It is important to note that while we have put a lot of focus on our financial "ask," the legislative meetings are really about you educating your representatives about what you do. Though there are varying levels of advocacy experience in this group, you are all skilled at telling the story about your work, and that is exactly what you will be doing in these meetings. You are the experts at what you do, and having you here with us on Lobby Day is an invaluable asset to our advocacy effort.
We will be meeting primarily with majority members - Senate Republicans and Assembly Democrats. Through these meetings, we will be conveying our statewide presence and looking to identify who our "natural champions" are for this effort. The content you prepare for these meetings is pretty much the same as for the meetings you are having in your districts, but they are just taking place in a different environment.
One topic that has been raised in our group is the Governor's plan for a "Reconciliation Commission" to address police-community disputes. CDRCs seem to be a natural fit for this work, with many of you already operating police-community programs. Raising something like this in your meetings (in the districts or at Lobby Day
) is an example of tapping into what is being discussed at the Capitol. You should be aware, though, that this particular topic can be controversial in some legislative offices. A good way to approach this, then, is to use it as an example of one of the ways you can be helpful if this is something the Legislature wants to pursue in response to the Governor's agenda. The Reconciliation Commission is referenced in Proposal #63 in the press release
for the Governor's 2015 Opportunity Agenda.
Follow directions to Empire State Plaza. You will exit 787 (northbound or southbound) at the Empire State Plaza exit, which will take you underneath the Plaza to the parking garage. Stay in the right lane as you approach the tunnel. The Visitor Lot is the third entrance on the right, just before you exit the tunnel. From your parking space, follow signs to the Concourse, which is the indoor, underground level just below the Plaza.
9:30 Meet at the cafeteria in the Concourse (#16 on the Concourse map, next to the McDonald's)
10:30 Walk to Room 502 in the Legislative Office Building (connects through the northwest wing of the Concourse); this is Assemblymember Harry Bronson's space that will available for us to leave coats (many thanks to Sherry Walker-Cowart for securing this space for us!)
11:00 Meetings begin (Malkin & Ross will share a detailed schedule of the day's meetings later this week, and I will forward it to all of you)
4:00 Meetings conclude
As we discussed on the call, you will be in regional groupings for the day's meetings. Each group will have a designated leader from NYSDRA or Malkin & Ross. The groups are as follows:
- NYCID, CMS, NYPI
- New Justice, Peacemaker Program
- DRC, Mediation Center of Dutchess County
- Mediation Matters (solo)
- Westchester and Rockland Mediation Centers (solo)
- CDRC and DRC of Chenango, Delaware, and Otsego Counties
Meetings will be scheduled every half-hour, with each group having 6-8 meetings in total. There may be last-minute changes to the schedule, and in some cases, you may be meeting with staff instead of legislators. It is critical that you complete a debrief form for each meeting and return them to your group leader at the end of the day or post the information on SWAG upon your return to the office.
Many of you will not get a lunch break. NYSDRA will have granola bars, apples, and waters to help get you through the day! If you do get a lunch break, you can go to the Dunkin Donuts inside the security barrier or the smaller cafeteria just outside security. We will pass by both of these to get to the Capitol and the Legislative Office Building.
Wear business attire for the day and comfortable shoes!
Thanks to Jeff Held's suggestion on yesterday's call, Carla is preparing lapel name tags with the NYSDRA logo, your name, your center's name, and your relationship to your center (director, staff member, mediator, or Board member).
Alison is preparing information
packets for both attendees (all of you) and legislators. The attendee packets will include debrief forms, the guidance document, selected pages from OCA's most recent statistical supplement
(more OCA reports on the CDRCs can be found here
), and extra copies of the leave behind document. The legislator packets will have a copy of the leave behind and room for you to include your CDRC brochure or other relevant materials.
If you have not already, please ensure that I have a cell phone number for at least one person from your center so I can contact you during the day Tuesday with any changes. I will have my phone with me and will be able to receive texts, emails, and calls throughout the day.
If you have trouble reaching me, Lauren Bailey from Malkin & Ross generously offered her contact information
as a back-up. Her cell is (518) 416-3359
, and her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
Each CDRC should bring 10 copies of its own brochures or other relevant materials. We will put these into the legislator packets when we meet in the morning.
Reach out to the other people in your regional group (see above) to identify who will cover which points in your meetings.
When you get the schedule of meetings, research the legislators with whom you will be meeting so you can tailor your discussion at the meeting to the legislator's interests.
Notify me if you expect to arrive late on Tuesday so that we can coordinate a meeting place and get you connected with your group in time for the first meeting at 11:00.