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Governmental Affairs Issues and Information

Local GA Chairs

The Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC) is continuing to be active on national legislation and regulation that impacts safety and health, the profession, and the Society. In addition to these activities, the GAC is also committed to supporting your activities on the state level.

First, it is important that ASSE Governmental Affairs knows who the Governmental Affairs Chairs are in each chapter. If you are or know of a new Chair or are otherwise not getting regular governmental affairs information from ASSE, please let Dave Heidorn, Manager of Governmental Affairs and Policy, know at dheidorn@asse.org. You or your GA Chair will be added to an e-mail list that is sent regular governmental affairs information.

A new GA Chair may also wish to review the GAC Handbook for information on the role of the Governmental Affairs Committee, GA Chairs, and staff. The Handbook is available electronically also by contacting Dave Heidorn at dheidorn@asse.org.

Role of the GAC and Staff

The basic premise of ASSE's governmental affairs organization is that the GAC and staff provide support to the activities of the GA Chairs based on ASSE policy and priorities as determined by the GAC. GAC members are appointed by the Chair of the Council on Professional Affairs, which is an elected position and also serves on the ASSE Board of Directors.

Given staff and budget limitations, ASSE headquarters rarely works state governmental affairs issues directly. The intent is to provide information and strategic support for your activities. Therefore, it is crucial for the Chairs and other ASSE members in a state to be aware of the key issues in their state. If constituents in a state do not make their voices known, then there is little impact that a letter from headquarters in Chicago can have. It is up to you and your chapter, with our support, to be the voice for safety where you live.

Governmental Affairs Updates

Attached to this memo is the most recent Governmental Affairs Update, which generally is sent via electronic mail every two weeks to GA Chairs, the Board of Directors, CoPA, GAC and various other Society contacts. The GAC takes pride in this report, as it represents some of the best available, cutting edge federal and state governmental affairs information addressing safety and health. I strongly encourage you to review each report, share it with other ASSE members, take action when issues affect your members, and, in turn, share any related information you have with us through Dave Heidorn.

Speaking Requests

GAC members and national staff often are asked to speak about governmental affairs at chapter meetings and other functions. In a recent year, about fifty invitations to speak were extended by chapters. Funding for the travel alone to meet this kind of demand is not available. As a result, the following guidelines have been established to share the burden.

Guidelines for Region/Chapter
Governmental Affairs Speaking Requests

Requests by regions and chapters to have GAC members or ASSE staff speak should meet the following guidelines:

  • A commitment that two or more chapters, societies or associations will be in attendance.
  • A near guaranteed estimated attendance between 75 and 100.
  • A commitment to share the expense of the national speaker through airfare, hotel, miscellaneous expenses or a combination of all three.
  • A confirmation of the speaking engagement with directions to the meeting site four to six weeks preceding the event.
  • A careful evaluation of the request that includes proximity to other meeting locations, closeness in time to other meetings, magnitude of issues, weather, distance and time required.

It is also important to understand that, even if these guidelines are met, availability may still be contingent upon funding and calendar limitations. As staff time and travel budget is limited, you may find that the national GAC member from your chapter or region is more readily available as a presenter. Therefore, you may want to contact that person first to ascertain their availability to speak.

Thank you for your attention to these issues and, most importantly, your involvement in ASSE governmental affairs. If you have any questions, email Dave Heidorn at dheidorn@asse.org. I look forward to working with you.

Other Resources

Grassroots Advocacy: Be the Voice for Your Profession

As a safety professional, you have the knowledge, skills, and experience to make a significant impact on the prevention of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in the workplace.

As a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, you dedicate your time and expertise to advance the field of occupational safety and health and the safety profession.

As a constituent, you are in a unique position to act as an honest broker to your legislative community. You can use your experience working to eliminate occupational hazards to support or oppose critical safety and health legislation that affects your employer and your professional life. Legislators are not experts in safety and health – you are! Legislators and regulators need guidance to make the best possible decisions when workplace safety issues arise. You have the kind of firsthand knowledge that can positively impact the development of safety and health legislation and regulations.