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Goal 3: Supporting the Legislative Process

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Goal 3 Overview

Equip members of the General Assembly with tools to employ evidence-based decision making (EBDM) during the legislative process. These tools support effective use of existing evidence and provide considerations for when to expand the best available research evidence by generating new evidence.

A gold and red oblong shape and a building icon that says Goal 3: Supporting the Legislative Process

Goal 3 Activities

Each January, State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent Government (SMART) Act hearings provide a key opportunity to demonstrate the high value Colorado places on EBDM in state government. The tenets of EBDM become readily apparent when legislators ask agency leadership targeted questions about their performance management and process improvement efforts and how evidence informs their ongoing work. To support this process, the Colorado Lab developed a cue card with a menu of possible questions joint committees of reference can ask agencies during SMART Act hearings.

The questions are designed to help legislators surface:

• When agency goals are data informed and identify what drives change.

• How agencies use performance management for continuous improvement and learning.

• Opportunities to build evidence so that future decisions can be better informed by data.

Colorado Lab leaders engaged in a four-month iterative process with SMART Act Committee co-chairs and other legislative leaders to introduce the cue card and obtain feedback about its value. During this process, legislators indicated the need for a complementary tool to support the application of EBDM during standard legislative hearings about a proposed policy or practice. This led to the development of an additional cue card focused on unpacking the strength of existing evidence and opportunities to build new evidence for a program or practice. We encourage state agencies to use the cue cards to prepare for hearings. Legislators or state agencies interested in technical assistance on how to use either cue card should reach out to the Colorado Lab.

New bills are another key opportunity to promote Colorado’s approach to EBDM. The Colorado Lab plans to develop guidance for legislators about drafting bills that effectively leverage existing research evidence and, as appropriate, promote research, evaluation, and data use.

Goal 3 Actionability

As key decision makers, legislators constitute an essential part of the EBDM culture. Thus, it is critical to build legislator fluency and confidence about when and how to draw on the best available existing evidence, as well as when to prioritize building new evidence. The two cue cards created by the Colorado Lab aim to do just that.

Get Involved

For more information about working with the Colorado Lab, see Government and Community Partnerships or Research Partnerships.