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The Wilds of Sacramento


Students from Professor Mike Latner’s
California Politics class admiring Governor
Brown’s bear in front of his office during a
break between presentations.

— Michael Latner 

Learn by Doing for students in Professor Mike Latner’s California Politics course included a field trip in December to the State Capitol in Sacramento, where they presented analyses of legislative performance to members of the Legislative Analyst’s Office, Department of Finance Committee staff, and the Governor’s Office. Groups of students used the Digital Democracy platform developed at the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy to study the operation of committees in the 2015-16 legislative session in order to identify factors that shape policy outputs within the legislative process.

With assistance from state Sen. Bill Monning, students had access to a committee hearing room for a full day, during which they gave presentations on policy topics, including climate change, agriculture, health care, transportation, education and incarceration. The student presentations shed light on how the legislative process impacts the design and implementation of policy solutions, and they received critical feedback from experts in each of these areas. A number of these experts were Cal Poly alumni, inspired by seeing the next generation of Mustangs preparing to take the reins of public service and leadership. This trip was made possible through generous contributions from the Political Science Department, the City and Regional Planning Department and the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy. 

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