2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

Legislative Policy

Fall quarter

Faculty: Michael Hoover

Fall: CRN (Credit) Level 10352 (2 GR)  

Credits: 2(F)

Class Standing: Graduate

Offered During: Evening and Weekend


This intensive weekend course will provide the theoretical and philosophical bases for legislative power, but it will focus much more on practical means for understanding how legislative policy is made-and how to have an effective voice in that process.  Class will be held on the Capitol Campus in the Senate Caucus Rooms and Senate Chambers; Mike Hoover is Senior Counsel for the Washington State Senate. 

We will look at the distinct role the legislative branch plays in our separation of powers system of government, and we will explore the ways in which the "three P's of policy"-process, politics, and personality-combine in ways both predictable and perhaps unexpected to create legislation.  Why do hard facts make for bad laws, and why do seemingly good people make bad policy choices?   This will be an interactive class where students will work with real-world legislation and explain why they could do a much, much better job than elected representatives in crafting policy .  Depending on availability, some guest speakers are expected to come and share their experiences and insights with the class.

Students are responsible for obtaining and reading one of these three books by legislative insiders from different legislatures:   Inside the Statehouse: Lessons from the Speaker, by Ralph G. Wright (about the Vermont State House); The Art of Legislative Politics, by Tom Loftus (about the Wisconsin State Assembly); or A Disorderly House: The Brown-Unruh Years in Sacramento, by James R. Mills (about the California State Assembly).  Students will write a paper on how various factors chosen by the student-such as citizen participation, lobbyist roles, partisan politics, procedural rules, staff, or media coverage-combined to play a dominant role in legislative policy discussed in their chosen book.  Other materials will generally be provided by the instructor in advance of the course.  Students will also choose a bill from this past 2009-10 biennium of the Washington State Legislature and will write about key points of that legislation's progression through the legislative process.  

This is a lot to pack into one weekend, so please plan your schedule carefully to ensure that you can make this compressed timeframe work for you.  Your active participation in this interactive class will be crucial not only to sharing your ideas and learning with the class, but also in making what truly is an enjoyable subject even more fun and interesting!


Maximum Enrollment: 20

Advertised Schedule: 5-9p Fri, 9a-5p Sat/Sun (Nov 5-7)

Campus Location: Olympia

Online Learning: Enhanced Online Learning

Books: www.tescbookstore.com