Society News

Taking action at a state level

Sarina Neote
July 11, 2023

At the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the public affairs department and the Public Affairs Advisory Committee work together to ensure that policymakers hear from scientists on proposals and changes that would affect the scientific community and scientific research. We strongly believe scientists must be partners in creating a science policy that works for researchers and for the larger innovation pipeline.

The efforts of the staff and the PAAC focus on the federal government; we work with Congress and with federal agencies. However, a good chunk of governing and policymaking happens at the state level. That’s why ASBMB members need to be engaged in state advocacy issues. We can help.

We’ve heard from members that they want to work at the state level to make sure bad policies aren’t enacted and cause harm to the research enterprise as a whole. In the past year alone, numerous bills have been introduced that, if passed, would have a huge impact on the research communities in multiple states. For example:

  • Lawmakers in Idaho introduced a bill to the state legislature that would criminalize the administration of mRNA vaccines across the state.
  • In Florida, H.B. 999 was introduced, which would prohibit state universities from using funds to promote, support, or maintain any programs that advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • And in Ohio, another bill was introduced to remove any required training or courses on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

But it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to state advocacy.

That’s where we can help you. The ASBMB public affairs team has put together a state advocacy toolkit to get you started. You can find it at asbmb.org/advocacy. It’s so important to participate in the governing structures of the states and communities where you live and work, whether that’s the state legislature or the county board of education. And it’s important for all policymakers, at the local, state, or federal level, to hear directly from scientists about issues affecting the scientific community.

We suggest three courses of action you can take at the local level:

  • Reach out to your local representative and set up a meeting.
  • Organize a letter-writing campaign.
  • Write an op-ed on a specific issue and get it published in a local newspaper.

Our toolkit walks you through the steps of how to communicate about an issue, either verbally or in writing, gather support in your community, and/or connect with organizations that are already doing this work in your area.

And you can always reach out to the public affairs staff at publicaffairs@asbmb.org with any questions or concerns. Scientists need to make their voices heard, and we’re here to help.

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Sarina Neote

Sarina Neote is ASBMB's director of public affairs.

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