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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Legislative Policy Practicum (Spring 2018)

  • Course Number: LAW-865
  • Class Number: 03634
  • Instructor: Heidi Rummel

Course Description

The Legislative Policy Practicum provides students with an opportunity to participate in real-world advocacy on juvenile justice issues.  Students will observe and participate in many facets of the legislative and regulatory processes and policy advocacy, and should be available to travel to Sacramento for hearings and meetings with legislators.

Since 2008, Professors Rummel and Calvin have engaged in legislative advocacy resulting in the passage of historic juvenile justice reforms in California, including Senate Bills 9 and 394 (first creating a process for juveniles sentenced to life without the possibility of parole to petition for resentencing and subsequently eliminating the sentence of life without parole for juveniles in California), Senate Bills 260, 261 and 1308 (establishing the Youth Offender Parole Hearing process), Assembly Bill 1276 (providing access to education and rehabilitative programming for children and young adults entering prison), Prop 57 (eliminating direct file and providing rehabilitative measures and credits for California prisoners), and Senate Bill 395 (providing counsel to youth during custodial interrogation).

Students will work closely with Professors Rummel and Calvin and will be directly involved in the legislative process in some or all of the following ways:

Strategic Policy Advocacy

Students may be asked to (1) identify potential areas for juvenile justice reform; (2) research and evaluate potential legislative solutions; and (3) develop short-term and long-term strategies for the implementation of proposed reforms.

Legislative Process

Students may be asked to (1) research and draft legislative language for a proposed bill; (2) respond to proposed amendments and opposition to the bill; (3) develop and draft legislative testimony; (4) collaborate with stakeholders; (5) develop grassroots support; and (5) work directly with legislators and staff.

Regulatory Process

Students may be asked to participate in the development of regulations to implement recent legislation, including (1) researching and drafting regulatory language; (2) drafting public comments; (3) responding to opposing positions through the public comment process; and (4) working directly with the administrative agency promulgating the regulations.

Enrollment is limited to 15 students.  Prior experience with legislative or juvenile justice issues is not required.

The course is offered for 3 units.  It is not available for CR/D/F grading.  There is no final exam. Grading will be based upon the quality and timeliness of work projects completed during the semester and class participation.  Because the projects are driven by the needs of the legislative and regulatory processes rather than the academic calendar, it is likely that work will not be spread precisely evenly through the semester.  Depending on the timing of each project, the final due date for course work may be as late as the last date of the exam period.

Course Details

  • Unit Value: 3
  • Grading Options: Numerical Only
  • Schedule: M 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
  • Room Number: Room 118/120
  • Exam: None
  • Writing Requirement: No
  • Skills/Experiential Unit Requirement: Yes
  • Participation: Required and graded
  • Enrollment Limitation: 15 students