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MPA Psychologists shape the future of their profession through legislative action.
A key to keeping the field of psychology healthy and growing is to ensure that our researchers, teachers, students, providers, and clients have a facilitating environment. To ensure that supports necessary to our work remain in place, a major focus of the Minnesota Psychological Association’s task is to advocate legislatively for our profession. Legislative Advocacy is one of the primary roles of MPA. In its support of psychologists and the people to whom they provide service, MPA utilizes an active legislative team that works at all levels of government to initiate necessary systems change. In its approach to advocacy, it is our aim to support legislation that affects the whole person, not just those issues specifically related to psychology.
Legislative advocacy has been described as a three-legged stool. One leg is having a professional lobbyist whose concern it is to raise issues with appropriate legislators. This professional can gain the ear of legislators because of ongoing trusting relationships. Bringing specific pieces of legislation is the second leg, taking affirmative action to make specific changes for psychology. Grassroots efforts, by which individual members develop working relationships with their legislators or members of Congress, is the third and most important leg of the stool, as it allows for widespread education about the concerns of psychologists.
While MPA does have professional staff who spend significant time interacting with various governmental entities, MPA is a volunteer association, and seeks to actively mobilize its membership in grassroots activity in the legislative arena. We continually strive to get more students and psychologists involved in the advocacy process, as a network of relationships with elected and appointed officials is crucial for our profession. MPA’s legislative agenda is primarily focused on state issues; however, national and international issues sometimes become a concern.
Mental Health Day
As part of its grassroots strategy, each year MPA joins with other mental health groups in Mental Health Day on the Hill. Typically held in the early spring, this event provides members the opportunity to work with staff in presenting our legislative priorities to Minnesota senators and representatives. MPA members make appointments with the individuals who represent them, and are accompanied on these visits. It is an empowering experience for the participants, and an excellent way to share psychologists’ viewpoints with state legislators.
Working on legislation requires the development of partnerships with other advocacy organizations and professional associations. Whenever possible, it is MPA’s desire to work collaboratively with others to solve problems for mutual benefit. MPA is a member of the Mental Health Legislative Network, a collection of more than twenty organizations working together to improve services for individuals with mental illness. MPA is also represented on the Health Care Reform Review Council, the Legislative Task Force on Autism Spectrum Disorders, Health Care Access Commission Workforce Shortage workgroup, the CHMH Transformation Task Force, the Child and Adolescent Depression Task Force, and a collaborative task force with the Minnesota Psychiatric Society to study sex offender commitment laws. An MPA representative routinely attends meetings of the Board of Psychology and works collaboratively to further our common interests.
Ongoing Advocacy Issues
Political Action Committee (PAC)
MPA is able to accomplish all of these legislative improvements through our Political Action Committee. You can donate to these efforts any time by writing a check to MPA Political Action Committee and mailing it to 5353 Wayzata Blvd. #350 Minneapolis, MN 55416.
MPA Legislative & Advocacy Leaders
Federal Advocacy Coordinator (U.S. Federal Government)
MPA Legislative Committee Chair (Minnesota State Government)
Minnesota House of Representatives Information