Learn to Lobby

5 Steps for Influencing Your State Legislature


Step 1: Get To Know Your Legislator and Build A Relationship

1.   Search the internet for analysis of your legislator's track record

2.   Call the Legislative Reference Library and ask them to run a newspaper clippings search on your legislator's legislative work covering a certain period of time

3.   Call your legislator's office and ask for a newsletter and to be put on his or her mailing list

4.   Attend legislator's town hall meetings and campaign events

5.   Make an annual donation of time or money to his campaign or legislative office


Step 2: Help Your Legislator And Others Understand The Problem

1.   Schedule a meeting with your legislator or his/her staff to explain the problem, have a constituent explain how the problem is impacting them personally; express the problem in measurable terms

2.   Write to the newspaper about the problem

3.   Get media coverage by pitching your story to the press

4.   Have others write/call/email their legislator

5.   Invite your legislator on a field trip to view the problem


Step 3: Build An Organized Constituency

1.   Join an organization that shares your concerns and values, persuade them to pursue your agenda

2.   Start a website to build a new constituency that shares your concerns and values

3.   Go to public meetings to state your position

4.   Hold a petition drive targeting voters who should share your concerns

5.   Ask civic clubs and local governing bodies to adopt a resolution supporting your position

6.   Organize a show of force by holding a rally and press conference

7.   Meet with your newspaper's editorial board to explain the problem and potential solutions

8.   Have supporters write into the newspaper or phone into talk radio, drawing attention to your concern and potential solution

9.   Build alliances with other interest groups that may share your agenda


Step 4: Develop More Than One Solution

1.   Call the Legislative Reference Library to discover how other states may be addressing your concerns, if legislation has been previously considered or if reports exist that may have addressed your concerns

2.   Meet with existing or potential opponents to better understand their concerns and find possible common ground


 Step 5: Work the Legislative Process

1.   Make sure the bill is drafted and filed early


2.   Meet with other legislators and their staff to persuade them to sign-on to the bill by becoming co-authors


3.   Target committee members or their staff to explain the purpose of your bill and ask for their support


4.  Help organize and deliver personal testimony in committee


5.  Rally others to write to their legislators to urge them to sign on to your bill or thank them if they have already done so.


6. Repeat all your efforts for the second chamber.