Guidelines for FCWPP Working Groups

Approved July 16, 2013

At this time FCWPP has three Working Groups: Criminal Justice, Economic Justice, and Local Responses to Global Challenges. Some specific concerns in these areas are listed at the end of this document.

These Working Groups provide opportunities for Friends to follow personal leadings to make an impact on our world, especially our state, as supported and led by Friends’ Testimonies, bringing Friends’ historical experience and diligence to public policy on these issues. In order to accomplish this, each Working Group assumes primary responsibility to identify, research, and in time, recommend ways in which FCWPP might most effectively address issues within the policy area. Levels of involvement vary as individual Friends are led to participate; some Friends may be led to work on only one issue within a policy area, others may embrace a broader range of issues. Activities are carried out in coordination with FCWPP’s Legislative Committee and Legislative Advocate. Working Group Clerks are responsible to see that tasks are completed, but may delegate as appropriate.

Concerns and issues that lead to participation in a Working Group may arise as either personal leadings of individual Friends or leadings from meetings or worship groups. As they become involved, Friends can expect to be guided and nurtured by the Working Group Clerk, Legislative Committee, Legislative Advocate and other experienced leaders in FCWPP. Friends may begin with just an undeveloped concern and need significant support and personal growth to develop it into a public policy position and to become familiar with how public policy positions can be implemented in government at the state or local level.

Essential Working Group activities include:

  • Study and research focal issues, with the goal of developing a solid base of experience and information leading in time to plans, strategies and goals, as well as talking points on the issue. Clear talking points support the work of FCWPP’s Legislative Advocate and are useful in drafting Alerts to Friends throughout Washington. This work is done in coordination with the Legislative Committee, whose approval is necessary to use any results in FCWPP Alerts, website postings, or in other ways that represent FCWPP.
  • When feasible, testify or lobby in support of specific bills supporting the Working Groups’s objectives or goals. FCWPP’s Legislative Advocate will help coordinate testimony and lobbying, as well as being the voice for Friends in Olympia when they cannot be present themselves.
  • Provide feedback during the legislative session when decisions need to be made about whether to support, oppose, or attempt to modify legislation relating to the Working Group.
  • Develop content for the website, in coordination with the Legislative Committee.

Working Group activities may also include:

  • Participating in an annual roundtable to increase personal and group understanding of the Working Group’s goals and objectives in order to better season the agenda and plan for the future.
  • Sharing information about FCWPP’s efforts with Friends in the Working Group members’ home meetings or worship groups, encouraging advocacy contacts with legislators and seeking feedback from Friends to bring back to the Working Group.
  • Networking among Friends and other groups concerning shared discernment for particular leadings that arise in Working Groups and bring potential joint efforts with like-minded groups to the attention of the Legislative Committee and the Legislative Advocate.
  • Researching, reviewing, commenting on, or helping draft position papers on issues identified in Working Group goals and objectives. Position papers could form the foundation for testimony before the legislature and support lobbying efforts.

Normally, Friends will constitute the primary membership of the Working Group, but others may be included for their expertise. Membership in a working group is fluid and does not require approval by the Steering or Executive Committee. The Clerk of FCWPP and the Clerk of the Legislative Committee will be ex officio members of the Working Groups. The Clerk of each Working Group will be an ex officio member of the Legislative Committee and have the option to be — and is encouraged to be — a member of the Executive Committee. Working Group Clerks are appointed by the Steering or Executive Committee.

Working Group meetings may be face to face and/or by conference call. Meeting Notes will be kept and circulated within the Working Group and to the Legislative Committee. The Working Group will conduct an annual evaluation of its mission, practice, and effectiveness each spring or early summer with guidance from Legislative Committee if needed.

The Working Group Clerk:

  • Helps Friends who express an interest in the work the group is doing to find ways they can support or assist with that work.
  • Keeps a list of all Working Group members with contact information.
  • With assistance and support, as needed, from the Legislative Committee and the FCWPP Policy Analyst and Legislative Advocate, assigns tasks, suggests actions, and coordinates activities of the group’s members as required to define and implement group objectives.
  • Structures, schedules, and facilitates—or assigns others to set up and facilitate—the activities of the Working Group.
  • Represents the Working Group—or assigns another to represent the Working Group—as needed at Steering Committee, Legislative Committee, and Executive Committee meetings.
  • As indicated above, the Working Group Clerk serves as an ex officio member of the Legislative Committee and is encouraged—but not required—to also serve as a member of the FCWPP Executive Committee.

Criminal Justice Working Group

Goals will include, but not be limited to:

  • Restorative justice intended to mend the harm suffered by victims
  • Sentencing reform and support for re-entry
  • Reform of prison conditions
  • Addressing the causes of crime including poverty, institutional racism, and the availability of guns
  • Drug law reform
  • Voting rights
  • Elimination of the death penalty

Economic Justice Working Group

Goals will include, but not be limited to:

  • Protect the safety net for economically or physically challenged state residents, permitting them to be healthier contributors to their communities
  • Create and maintain programs, systems, and institutions required to keep people in good physical health
  • Maintain or increase support for women’s health and family planning
  • Create a more equitable tax system that provides adequate revenue to support education, health care, and other needs, particularly for those unable to provide for themselves

Local Responses to Global Challenges Working Group

Goals include, but are not limited to:

  • Preserve and enhance environmental protections
  • Advocate to minimize the impacts of energy generation on the environment
  • Develop and guarantee multimodal options for transportation
  • Support programs that build and sustain healthy locally-based economies