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Abstract

Many meaningful laws are decided not in Washington DC, but at statehouses in capitals across the country. As with Congress, conventional wisdom maintains that the ability to influence state policymaking is reserved for those with significant resources and political power, while others may observe the process but not ultimately affect it. Younger people and people with lower incomes tend to be characterized as the latter due to lower than average political participation.

The efforts of college students in Indiana to change the state’s laws with respect to alcohol-related misdemeanors, examined here, is an example of how students can participate in the legislative process and substantively influence policy outcomes. Factors contributing to students’ ability to do so will be discussed along with unique legislative challenges and how they were overcome.

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