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One important element of the Partners program is the training of participants on how to interact with state policymakers. By the end of the P.I.P. training, Partners should know their elected officials and how to speak with them. And, more importantly, their elected officials should know them.
To this end, the Council schedules a session that involves a mock hearing at the State House. Important issues that affect the Developmental Disability Community are selected and participants are tasked with presenting them to real elected officials who are invited to attend the mock hearing.
The participants learn how to research, write, and present testimony to these elected officials, providing them with written information about their concerns. The ultimate goal is to learn how to educate an elected official as a constituent.
Partners make sure these representatives know about good programs and why they deserve support. Additionally, Partners make sure their representatives know about bad programs, effectively explain why they are unsuccessful, and urge them to visit these programs and consider ways to improve them.
2015 Year’s Mock Hearing
For the Mock Hearing, held at the New Jersey Statehouse Annex on Saturday, April 11, 2015 Partners were tasked with providing testimony either for or against a number or proposed bills currently under consideration by the NJ Legislature. Key members of Council staff, a served as members of the mock legislative board before which Partners testified.
Jason Redd, (Former)Chief of Staff for Senate Majority; Lobbiest
Frank Latham, NJCDD Youth Leadership Coordinator
Robert Titus, NJCDD Public Policy Coordinator
Gail Furrer, NJCDD Financial Officer
- The format was a public hearing in joint session for the purpose of the legislators to take testimony on important issues in the developmental disability community.
- A “committee aide” was present to assist the committee with the hearing.
- Three groups presented a pro and con perspective of two issues of concern to the Developmental Disability Community. The two (2) issues were:
Senate Bill No. 2688 – Establishing an “MVP Emegrency Alert System” for missing persons with mental, intellectual, or developmental disabilitie
Senate Bill No. 301 – “Innovative Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act”