Public Policy and Advocacy Program FAQ

Why is public policy important?
As health and human service professionals, we see how public policy affects the lives of our clients on a daily basis. Laws and policies directly affect how social service professionals provide services for clients. Public policy has the potential to enhance the lives of clients and increase the effectiveness of services or to create barriers for clients and restrict services. Public policy is a tool for health and human service professionals to advocate for their clients and create social change.

MSSA has over 3,000 members statewide who represent a diverse spectrum of social service agencies and organizations. Together, we can be a force to be reckoned!

How does the legislative process work in Minnesota?
The Minnesota State Legislature's website gives an overview of how a bill becomes a law in Minnesota and answers Frequently Asked Questions. While each legislative session is unique and unpredictable, the legislative process follows a general format.

First, constituents work with their legislators to write their ideas into legal form, called a bill. Legislators can agree to "author" a bill, meaning that they will introduce the bill in either the House or the Senate. Then, the bill will be sent to appropriate committees, made up of legislators, for discussion. After the bill has been approved by all the appropriate committees, it will go back to the full House or Senate for a vote. If the bill passes in the House and the Senate, the Governor can choose to sign the bill into law or veto it. Sometimes constituents will work with legislators over the course of multiple years to pass bills that did not become laws the first time they were introduced.

The Minnesota State Legislature works on a biennium--meaning that the legislature works in 2-year cycles. The first year of the cycle is always an odd-numbered year. These years are meant for creating and passing a state budget. The second year of a biennium, or even-numbered years, is for budget review and left-over items from the first year of the session.

What has MSSA's public policy program worked on successfully in the past?
MSSA works to advance legislative issues that align with our mission, vision, and values. Click here to view our legislative agenda from 2020.