12 steps to
pass legislaion | Legislators - why you
should care |
Elements of successful advocacy
Steps to Pass Legislation
Research issues and community problems
2. Select priority issues
3. Prepare fact sheets and position papers
4. Develop and affiliate with local district and statewide coalitions
5. Get sponsors for legislation, preferably committee chairperson
and preferably majority party in each house
6. Visit local legislators in district and in Albany, preferably
with constituents, voters. Organize press stories, letters and
phone calls to legislators
7. Alert supporters when bill is ready for committee agenda
8. Make sure it passes committee by targeting committee members
and by urging their constituents and local stakeholders to pass
or move your legislation out of committee
9. Get it to the floor from the Rules Committee or the Ways and
10. Get it to pass floor vote
11. Get it sent to the other house and passed
12. Get it signed by the Governor
WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR
goal of meeting with your legislator is to let them know what
you concerns are and to let them know that what happens in the
Capitol matters at home.
calling and meeting with your legislator is very important. This
correspondence is a written record of your views, interests and
positions. Legislators often have their staff attach memos to
bills so that they can see who is supporting/opposing bills that
they are considering.
Write on only one issue - this keeps the purpose of the letter
- Learn where your legislator stands - state your position clearly.
If you know they support your position, thank them. If they oppose
your position, give them sound reasons they should change their
- Be persuasive and be factual. Provide background documentation
you have to support your position. If you do not know the facts
or can't produce them, do not guess, you can always get back to
them with information.
- Let your legislator know who you are and who you represent.
Say who you represent. If you support or oppose a bill or policy,
say so. If you want your legislator to vote a certain way, say
so. Be clear about it.
- Use personal examples. Note how the legislation will affect
you, your organization, the seniors you serve. Provide real case
- Request a written response. Ask for a response to the letter
- Be brief. Try to keep your letter to one page, two at the most.
- Never be abusive or threatening. You do not want to burn any
- Write again and often. Write different letters on different
- Relationship s are everything.
ON FACE TO FACE MEETINGS
- Determine in advance who will speak, for how long and on what
- Do not be upset if you meet with staff - they are very important
and influential with legislators.
- Stay focused and do not go off on tangents.
- Be prepared for questions/concerns about your position. Develop
good arguments to support your points.
- Always have material to leave with legislators and their staff
supporting your position.
- Push for action. If you want a legislator to take a position
or do something, ask them. Be specific about what you want them
to do and follow up if they agree. You may need to have others
push for your issue if you cannot get a commitment.
Points for Promoting Your Position
1. It'll save the state money (cost/benefit analysis)
2. It's good for... (i.e. seniors, children, families, caregivers)
3. It pays for itself.
4. It's a demonstration, pilot program or is short-term with specific
5. It works in other places - cite examples
Your legislator agrees with you:
- Ask them to play an important role by cosponsoring the bill,
speaking to the media, speaking to other lawmakers, convincing
the leadership to pass it, etc.
legislator is undecided:
- Determine what his/her reservations are and which are most important
- Offer to get any additional information he/she would like.
- Get other groups to meet with him/her to discuss his/her concerns.
- Keep in touch and ask when they plan to decide how to vote on
legislator disagrees with you:
- Determine how strongly opposed the legislator is and try to
change their mind
- Determine what or who is the most influencing opposition.
- Try to organize pressure if you judge that it will help.
- If a member cannot be swayed, don't waste any more time