The following guidelines were developed by the National Recreation and Park Association's Public Policy Division.
Can you be an Advocate? Actually, you can!
Advocacy Guidelines for Public Employees...
Public employees are subject to regulations concerning contacts with members of Congress or state legislators. Fortunately, this does not translate to a blanket prohibition on lobbying your legislators, such as conducting activities for the purpose of influencing a member of Congress or state legislature to favor or oppose legislation or appropriations.
The First Amendment protects your right to lobby members of Congress and congressional staff and committees as well as state legislators.
However, your statements must not be construed as official pronouncements of federal or state policy. Therefore, you must explicitly separate yourself from your federal or state capacity when lobbying members of Congress or state legislators. That is, identify yourself as a concerned citizen presenting your personal views.
There is no need to conceal your government employment. You are welcome to identify your official local, state or federal capacity and to discuss your professional activities as long as you make it clear that you are speaking on behalf of yourself or a non-governmental organization (i.e. the California Park & Recreation Society and/or its Districts or Sections) and the views expressed are your own.
Appropriated federal or state funds may not be used, directly or indirectly, to pay for lobbying activities.
This means that anything paid for by the government, including your salary, telephone, copier, paper, postage, etc., may not be used to support your lobbying activities. However, personal funds or funds provided by nongovernmental organizations may be used to support lobbying activities.
This information should not discourage you from lobbying your legislators. They are meant to inform you of your responsibilities as a government employee. Your participation in the democratic process can be personally satisfying and is critical to the success of our state parks and recreation programs.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local ethics official.
Many local governments (cities, counties, special districts) do communicate to state policy makers the affect a legislative proposal will have on the community and/or its residents. It is recommended to consult with your governmental leader(s) to determine the actions you may take.