Getting League supported bills out of committee. Is your legislator a cosponsor? Testimony by League members?
Getting League Supported bills out of Committee (or keeping League opposed bills from coming out) Advanced Advocacy
In 2020, the deadline for a bill to come out of Committee is Feb. 5, 2020. If a committee decides to, it can extend the deadline a few weeks for particular bills, to keep them “alive”.
Finding out about a bill, bill number, bill testimony, if your legislator is a cosponsor, if your legislator is on the committee the bill is in:
- All League Supported/Opposed Legislation is listed on the website: https://lwvma.org/advocacy/league-supported-legislation/ Here you will find the bill name, the bill number with links to the text and cosponsors of the bill, and League testimony (after a hearing is done).
- Once a bill has had a hearing, the LWVMA posts the testimony for the bill. The testimony will include more information about the bill that you can use to learn about the bill or bring to a legislator for advocacy.
- If you follow the link to the bill number, you can find out who the sponsors and cosponsors of the bill are. Be aware there are often two versions of the same bill and each one has different or overlapping sponsors and cosponsors. The lead sponsors are also called Presenters, and Status indicates where the bill is in the process, usually the joint committee where the bill is. If you click on the tab Petitioners, you will find a list of all the cosponsors. On the Bill History tab, you will see what the current status of the bill is: has it had a vote or moved to another committee? With every action, the bill will get a new number. But the original number allows you to track what the new number is, in the last item under Bill History. Always click on the new number to see what other activity has happened concerning that bill.
- If you click on the link to the Committee the bill is assigned to, you will find out who is on that committee and who are the chairs.
- In general, focus on bill sponsors, to give them support, and on Committee members to see if they can assist getting a bill out of the committee, when they are legislators who represent your districts.
If your legislator is a sponsor:
- If your legislator is the sponsor/presenter, you can thank them for the bill and ask them what you can do to help this bill come out of committee. You may ask them to ask the Chair of the Committee to prioritize the bill we are interested in.
If your legislator is on the Committee the bill is in:
- If your legislator is on the Committee the bill is in, find out if they are a cosponsor, and if so thank them and see what you can do, or if they can ask the Chair of the Committee to prioritize this bill. If they are not a cosponsor, you can find out if they are a supporter, and if not, why not. If they have specific questions about the bill, you can get them fact sheets or let the legislative specialists know about their concerns. Feedback is greatly appreciated and important.
If your legislator is not on the Committee and is not the lead sponsor:
- Find out if your legislator is a cosponsor, thank them if so, and if not, find out if they are a supporter or are not familiar with the bill, or have questions, or oppose the bill. If they have questions or concerns, see if there are fact sheets or questions the specialists can answer.
It’s all about showing that there is support from constituents for any given bill, and that we are paying attention.
Important: Limit any one visit or communication to one or a small number of bills.