http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/defaulttext.asp

Select-a-Lawmaker

 

Attention All Party Analysts:

We will win in 2000! With an organized effort our party will be successful in accomplishing our agenda. California has waited too long!

As our party's legislative analyst and lobbyist, it is your job to help our party faction recruit the votes it needs in the Assembly to further our legislative aims. You will be helping us by researching the voting record of an individual member of the Assembly. We will compare their voting patterns with the objectives of our party.

Based on your findings, we will devise a strategy to most efficiently utilize our time and resources. We will devote the majority of our money and time to support those candidates who have voted in alignment with our objectives.

You are responsible for making a final recommendation to our party. Did the candidate you researched vote during the last term in a manner consistent with our objectives? Should we back him/her with our resources?

 

Chair, Political Action

Party Central Committee

 


Task

By computer draw, you will be assigned a member of the California Assembly and a political party or party faction. A political faction is a group of people within a political party with a common purpose or ideology. Based on the aims of our faction, you will examine a representative number of bills voted on by the Assembly last year. The bills will deal with a broad spectrum of causes and concerns. In addition to a summary of the bills, you will receive the voting results on each bill.

First, you must find out if your candidate has a similar view of government as we do. To begin with, you need to place our political faction on the political spectrum. Then you should exercise your knowledge of your Assembly representative by identifying as accurately as possible his/her position on the political spectrum. Lastly, you must compare the respective positions of your representative and our faction on the spectrum. Decide if you believe our faction should back the representative with its resources.


Procedure


Resources

Official California Legislative Information
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html
Silicon Valley Public Access Link
http://www.svpal.org/government.html
 
California Senate and Assembly Bills
http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/acsframeset2text.htm
 

Learning Advice
 
Refer to the straight line political spectrum provided. This spectrum will give you a clearer graphic representation of where on the spectrum your representatives will land. Carefully examine the Sample Party Faction Description Sheet and seek clarification from your Political Action Chair, if needed, before analyzing the bills.


Evaluation

The majority of your evaluation and feedback will come as a result of an assessment of your scorecard. The legislator's "grade" will not be as important as the rationale that you give for the grade.

Additionally, your oral presentation at the "Draft" must be clear and persuasive.


Conclusion

At the concluding "Draft" involving the pool of legislators, you will receive a final opportunity to identify your rationale for grading your individual legislator. In addition, you will be able to match the needs of your organization with the voting records of all the legislators.

Use this guide to inform your understanding of the news. Follow the activities of the California Assembly in the newspaper and bring further examples of actions or votes these legislators have taken based on their positions on issues discussed in class.


Reflection

Complete the Concluding Questionnaire evaluating the Select-a-Legislator activity.

Think about the importance of knowing how your legislators vote and making informed decisions about which politicians for whom you will vote.

 


Teacher Notes

Grade Level and Unit:

12th grade political science

H/SS Standards:

12.7 Students analyze and compare the powers and procedures of the national, state, tribal, and local governments, in terms of:

2. the major responsibilities and sources of revenue for state and local governments

5. how public policy is formed, including the setting of the public agenda and how it is carried out through regulations and executive orders

6. the process of lawmaking at each of the three levels of government, including the role of lobbying and the media

Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills:

Historical Research, Evidence and Point of View

2. students identify bias and prejudice in historical interpretations

3. students evaluate major debates among historians concerning alternative interpretations of the past, including an analysis of authors' use of evidence and the distinctions between sound generalizations and misleading oversimplifications

Lesson Length:

4 hours (may be shortened by providing students with fewer bills)

Lesson Purpose:

This lesson guides students to:

Needed Prerequisite Teaching:

This lesson should be preceded by an exercise to familiarize students with the political spectrum and where different factions would be placed.

Teacher Shortcuts:

Using a computer grading program like "Making the Grade" will make the pairing of students to legislator easier. Use the "Select-a-Student" feature of the program to choose students. Any manual system may substituted if the program is not available.

Providing one bill per student at the beginning of the lesson is ideal. If you wish to prolong the exercise, more bills may be assigned.

The Sample Party Faction Descriptions is only a guide. Create your own faction description to take into account political issues of importance at the time your class completes this lesson. It will be helpful to follow the format given. Follow this explanation of the lesson plan. These faction sheets provide important clues as to how a group would vote on an issue.

Extra Materials Needed:

It is recommended that teachers add points to the final grade for completion of the questionnaire as motivation for a sincere effort.

Credits:

Ed Cabrera
Atascadero High School
Atascadero Unified School District
E-Mail: Cabear@mail.telis.org
Region 8 & 11 Professional Development Consortium-SCORE Institute