We aim to provide resources to policymakers in state and local government positions in order add science to the decision-making process. Elected officials consider several priorities, often competing, when creating policies and voting, but scientific evidence is not always part of that process. While we are still working to fully develop our program, the following are ways that bring science and technology research to the conversation.
Several state general assemblies in the Midwest, including Missouri’s, meet from January to May each spring, with bills pre-filed starting in December. While the legislators are actively filing, debating, and voting on legislation, MOST Policy Initiative will be drafting short Science Notes to describe the science behind policy issues.
MOST policy fellows will provide much needed resources for the Missouri General Assembly. Fellows will assist in scientific, rather than legal, research before bills are written, and also help to inform senators and representatives on benefits and consequences of pending statutes and regulations. Outside of the short legislative session, fellows will assist with building evidence-based research capacity and training workshops for legislators and staff, giving them confidence to address issues about which they feel passionate and better address the needs of their constituents.
Lawmakers are often interested in innovative research findings that may help to solve pressing state issues. To fulfill these requests, we host briefings on relevant and interesting scientific topics, such as biotechnology, flood infrastructure, and rural healthcare, at the statehouse throughout the legislative session and over the summer.
In addition to preparing Science Notes for the Missouri General Assembly, fellows have had opportunities to assist the Executive Branch on a project basis.