Keep at it! Here are some tips as you attempt to make your voice heard at the Capitol.

(Download a .pdf of this page.)

Be Organized & Ready

  • Use the interim to connect with legislators & build a relationship with their staff
  • Request bill and resolution drafts early
  • Coordinate with allies to share the workload
  • If meeting with legislators as a group, designate a key spokesperson
  • Consider leaving behind an information sheet that emphasizes your key points
  • Have a plan of action

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Be Aware Of

  • The legislative calendar
    • Identify bills early
    • Know your deadlines
      • Deadlines vary depending on the number of committee referrals
      • Committees have their own schedules (48 or 72 hour notice for hearings)
    • Keep your eye on issues, not just bills
  • The process
    • Who has power over your bills?
      • Committee Chairs – they decide if a bill will be scheduled for a hearing
      • Leadership sometimes weighs in
      • Potential allies and opponents
    • Don’t worry if $ is blanked out or a “defective” date appears – this is common practice

Be Prepared & Informed

  • Sign up for Hearing Notices and create Measure Tracking Lists
    • Monitor subject matter committees
      • Someone in your coalition should be receiving hearing notices for subject matter committees
  • Prepare draft testimony before it is scheduled for a hearing
  • Know committee hearing schedules – perhaps make note on your calendar
  • Monitor media to keep a larger focus
  • Sign up to receive PAR’s emails – you’ll be advised of important developments at the legislature, find new resources, and get helpful tips on advocacy

Be Knowledgeable

  • Know your issue
  • Be a trusted source of information for your bills
  • Know what you don’t know…and don’t be afraid to say so
  • Know your opposition
    • Who are the other stakeholders and what are they saying? Give the legislator a heads up on expected criticism so they won’t be caught off guard
  • Don’t be afraid to tell a personal story (but keep it short)
    • How does this legislation affect your family, clients, business, neighbors, etc.?
    • How does this legislation affect you?

Be Engaged & Proactive

  • Schedule visits with legislators
  • Clearly communicate your “ask” and follow up!
  • Get others involved to testify, offer support, and track bills
  • Use media and social media to publicize the issue
  • Testify in person or by Zoom
  • Make use of advocacy groups and their resources
  • Use the interim to check in – keep the issue fresh on the mind of legislators and their staff
  • Be ready to communicate your vision

Be Flexible & Open to Compromise

  • Work with legislators’ schedules and don’t dismiss working with their staff
    • They may become an internal advocate for your issue
  • Be prepared to negotiate
  • Attempt to bring solutions
  • Be constructive with criticism
  • Have a backup plan
  • Sometimes having “something” is better than “nothing” (sometimes, not)
  • Listen to those you disagree with – they may be your best teachers
    • Consider meeting with your opposition to discuss your common ground/differences
    • Can you turn opponents into allies by finding “win-win” alternatives?

Be Persistent

  • Marathon, not a sprint
  • May take years – do not give up!
  • Resolutions can be used to further an issue
  • Be ready to ask for another hearing, offer more testimony, or schedule another meeting
  • Continue to communicate with legislators and stakeholders, and keep looking for solutions
  • Network – you don’t have to do it alone!
  • Debrief after session – use notes to sketch a new game plan