Influencing Public Policy

Course Number: 
GAFL 500


  • Fall 2017
Course Format: 
Hybrid (on-campus and online)
On-Campus Day(s): 
On-Campus Time(s): 

Fall 2017 on-campus meetings will be held on the following Fridays and Saturdays from 2-5:30pm. This is a half-semester course and occurs first session, September 8 & 9, October 13 & 14.

Online Day(s): 
Online Time: 
8:15pm - 9:15pm
Course Description: 

We will learn the legislative process, but not from a sterile diagram of the steps a bill goes through before receiving the chief executive's signature. Instead, we’ll explore the many ways a concept, the desire to meet a need or fix a problem becomes a legislative proposal and ultimately into law.

We’ll discover the myriad interests that advocate for or against a proposal, from organic grass roots, through influential and/or compelling individuals, to organized interest groups, the executive branch, the role of PACS in making friends, all who help form the proposal, the strategy, the support and the force behind garnering support for and opposition to a proposal within a committee of jurisdiction, the leadership of both legislative chambers, a majority of members of each chamber, and finally the chief executive's team and the chief executive.

We'll discover the modes of persuasive communication that can impact the path of a proposal, from free media coverage, op-eds, to paid media, from print, to radio, TV and social media, and even analyze the power of fake news.

We’ll explore the role partisan and electoral politics can have in the passage or defeat of a bill. Finally, we’ll practice taking a concept to a legislative proposal, and debate the merits and liabilities of a proposal, discover who is a likely supporter or opponent, and try to get a bill to a hypothetical chief executive’s desk.

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829