If you were supporting a bill that didn’t go through as you had hoped, it’s time to regroup, reassess, and revive. Planning ahead of time can help you better your chances of success in the next session. While it’s true that the formal legislative activity takes place during session, there’s still a lot that can be done during the interim to lay the groundwork for next year. If you plan ahead, you will already have a good game plan in motion by the time next January rolls around.
Make Notes Now, While Session is Still Fresh in Your Mind
As much as you may want to put it behind you, debrief now. Sit down with a pen and paper, or at the keyboard, and write it all down. If you are part of a larger group, sit down with them and brainstorm together. Do a thorough review:
- What could have gone better?
- What worked well?
- What ideas did you have that you just didn’t have the time or the resources to follow through on?
- What potential supporters did you identify?
- What challenges to your proposal or position were you ill-equipped to counter?
- What research information do you wish you had?
- Did you identify similar proposals that you can support?
- What advice would you give to someone trying to do the same thing next session?
- What do you know now that you wish you had known at the start of session?
Sketch Out Your Game Plan, and Network
Based on what you have learned this session, sketch out a game plan to revive your proposal.
- Set up meetings during the interim with the legislators who sit on relevant committees in order to communicate your ideas to them. Provide them with as much information as possible to help support your position and ask for feedback and advice.
- Identify and approach legislators who will help you get a new bill drafted that effectively presents your proposal.
- Identify key individuals who you would like to involve in your efforts.
- Find allies to help divide up the research and outreach tasks.
- Create a network and develop a plan for getting the word out.
- Map out a tentative timeline showing key “to do” items – and schedule a follow-up review to evaluate how things are progressing.
And remember, you can use PAR during the interim — the computers, convenient work space, informational handouts and helpful staff are all here to assist you. PAR is open year-round, and we want to help you make the most of the interim. After all, we’re your office at the Capitol!