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Bending the Rules

by Libby Berke

Liquor to go from restaurants? Hair color to go from salons? Notary services online rather than running around to law firms and banks? Tele-sessions with doctors and therapists? Voting by mail?

Once verboten in many communities, these types of services are starting to pop up around the country. Missouri just announced they will temporarily allow curbside premixed alcohol to go, following in the footsteps of New York and other communities. At least 20 states have updated or modified their notarization rules in recent weeks, allowing for contactless online notarizations. Tele-medicine sessions have quickly emerged as a preferred system by doctors and patients alike who want to keep as many people out of our medical facilities as possible. Possibly the most consequential and controversial right now: voting by mail.

If you are a change agent, this time has filled you with challenges about how to communicate and advance your work. One place to at least consider: strong advocacy for legal change where it would most impact your mission. For justice reform advocates this work is already happening. The Prison Policy Initiative has published a handful of great resources for interested parties and policy pressures related to changing laws. The relationship of policy to incarceration makes sense.

What about your work? What regulations have stood in the way of progress or new avenues for your mission? Is there a law or rule that if changed right now would help you break through? The best adaptation in difficult times is to see the new paths that might be opened.

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