Legislative Testimony Influences State Decision-Making

Faculty; Policy

​Most state legislators say testimony at legislative hearings is influential, though few reported that it changes their votes, according to research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Researchers surveyed 862 U.S. legislators in 2012 and asked them about the impact of testimony. Most legislators said it influenced their awareness of issues or encouraged them to take action like conducting additional research. They cited knowledgeable and credible presenters who presented unbiased information as having the most impact.

“This is a promising finding for public health advocates seeking to influence policy,” wrote Dr. Sarah Moreland-Russell, Assistant Research Professor at the Brown School. “Testimony can provide policymakers with more and higher quality evidence and may help to bridge the gap between health research and health policy.”

The paper was published online in the International Journal of Health Policy and Management.

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