The Changing and Creating of Legislation
Although a primary objective embedded in the bylaws of the American Psychological Association is to “advance psychology as a science and profession and as a means of promoting human welfare by the encouragement of psychology ... in the broadest and most liberal manner,” (American Psychological Association, 1981, p. xxii), it is only recently that psychologists have, in any organized or systematic sense, begun to ask how we can have a meaningful impact on our nation’s various legislative bodies as they make decisions affecting our profession and society. As professionals, we have developed an extensive body of knowledge regarding the underlying motivations of people. We possess the technical expertise to design comprehensive evaluations as to how various proposed national policies might influence the lives of our citizens. Accordingly, psychology’s potential contribution is a most significant one. Yet, as a profession, psychologists historically have abdicated any societal responsibility that they might have in this area—in a pragmatic sense, to our colleagues in the legal and medical professions; in a more philosophical or theoretical sense, to our colleagues in political science. In addition, as the costs of our nation’s health care programs and of our other social welfare endeavors continue to mount steadily, we must expect that there will be ever increasing pressures on the state and federal legislatures to be active participants in decisions regarding both the delivery of actual services and the administration of the educational institutions that train our nation’s health care and social service providers.
KeywordsCommittee Member Legislative Process Legislative Body Legislative Proposal Committee Chair
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