Legislative Briefing and Expert Panel Process

Briefing and Panel Topic Selection

There are essentially three ways that COAST considers potential topics for legislative briefings and expert panels. Suggestions may originate from the following sources:

1) Legislature – Legislators and/or legislative staff request a briefing on a topic related to current or pending legislation. 

2) Agency – State agency staff encourage COAST to conduct a briefing related to current or future initiatives being undertaken by that agency. 

3) Internal– COAST staff and/or members identify an emerging scientific issue of significant importance.

In determining which briefing topics to pursue, COAST uses the following criteria:

1) CSU expertise – Does the CSU have the appropriate expertise to inform such a briefing? Potential experts are usually tenured/tenure track faculty members but also may include research scientists. 

2) Potential impact of briefing – Does the proposed briefing have the potential to make a significant contribution to the current state of knowledge? Topics are selected to have the greatest possible impact. For example, if multiple briefings on a particular topic have recently occurred, or if another organization is making significant efforts to hold a briefing on a specific topic, COAST may choose to convene a briefing or panel on another relevant topic that is not yet being addressed.

Speaker Selection

COAST places the highest priority on selecting participants for its legislative briefings and expert panels. Participants must have relevant expertise in the specific topic and a demonstrated track record (e.g., extramural funding, peer-reviewed publications). This ensures that legislative and agency officials will have access to the best available science on that topic. COAST uses the following criteria to identify potential panelists:

1) CSU affiliation – COAST prioritizes participation by CSU faculty members and research scientists. If there are no recognized experts in the field from the CSU, COAST will consider non-CSU experts.

2) Depth of expertise – Who qualifies as an expert on a particular topic can vary widely. Ideally, any prospective panelist will have the ability to speak authoritatively on a subject, and that that authority derives from a demonstrated track record of research and publications on that subject. 

3) Ability to interact with decision-makers – It is critical that legislative briefing and expert panels participants be available to discuss the issue with any interested parties following the briefing. For instance, requests from legislative staff members for follow up information may require very quick responses.  Participants must be committed to interacting with policy and decision-makers in a timely fashion after the briefing has concluded as needed.

Panel Diversity 

Against a backdrop of seeking panelists on a given subject with the above-mentioned attributes, COAST will always seek to engage diverse participants that represent the broadest cross section of society as possible. This includes women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community and people with disabilities. 

As part of the CSU, COAST is dedicated to training the next generation of professionals that reflects the extraordinary diversity of California's population. Read more about the CSU’s diverse community and efforts to increase diversity in college-educated graduates and the workforce here