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TAKE ACTION DURING THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION

TIPS + INFORMATION ON HOW TO TAKE ACTION DURING THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION. 

Every year, private entities ranging from oil companies to tech giants spend thousands, if not millions, to push public policies that advance their own interests.

 

During the first quarter of 2022, oil and gas companies alone spent over 12 million on lobbying efforts. It’s no secret that these well-funded lobbying efforts have the power to influence our lawmakers’ votes on critical climate change policies.

 

The common trope of well-paid lobbyists who put profit over people has given the term “lobbying” a negative connotation, but this is just one type of lobbying.

Redefining lobbying

Individuals (like you!) can also influence policy that affects your health and quality of life by speaking up and becoming community lobbyists. 

 

Every year we see more and more individuals redefining what it means to be a lobbyist who places community, accountability, and people over profit, setting the foundation for an era of greater democracy up on Capitol Hill. 

 

Collective action to protect our way of life is alive and well in many Utah communities, but it doesn’t always translate to policy on the Hill. That’s where you come in! You can help close the gap between the policies our elected officials are writing and the experience of frontline communities directly affected by them.

We invite you to join HEAL Utah and the many climate leaders up on the hill during the 2023 legislative session to voice your concerns and advance meaningful change on climate, air quality, and harmful waste. Learn more here. 

The 2023 Legislative Session

Every year for 45 days from mid-January to early March, our elected officials meet to vote and pass legislation to solve some of our state’s biggest problems. 

 

This voting-Rama period is filled with opportunities for you to speak face-to-face with your elected officials and bring attention to why they should vote in support of or against proposed legislation. 

 

Here are tips for communicating with your lawmakers during the general session. 

A face-to-face meeting with a legislator to lobby an issue

1) Greetings: Introduce yourself and what issue you are discussing

2) Content: Quickly and concisely state your position on the bill at hand (name the bill number), with 2-3 reasons why you support that position (factual or personal)

3) Commitment: Ask the legislator directly about their position on the issue

  -Can we count on your support/opposition to this bill?

4) Wrap-up: Respond to the information given by the legislator, thank them for their time, and reaffirm any commitment they made during the conversation

 

Don’t forget

– LISTEN to what they have to say and offer any factual solutions if available

– Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” and follow up later with an answer

 

Example:

“Hello, My name is [first and last name], I am a constituent of [Insert city], and I want to count on your support for [Full bill name, “Senate bill,” “House Bill,” etc.] [bill name]. With your support of this legislation, we will take significant steps in reducing our air pollution from vehicle emissions and help our growing states’ mobility needs. 

[Insert short story of why this impacts you!] As someone who actively uses public transportation, I know firsthand how important accessible public transit is for upward mobility and ensuring that we do not take steps backward in our air quality progress.

Can I count on your support for [Insert bill name]?

Thank you for your time.

Attending a hearing: A legislative committee hearing to suggest actions on the bill

1) During the meeting: Listen to what’s being said and what questions are asked 

2) Getting up to speak during public comment:

 -Introduce yourself

 -Ask for exactly what you want (vote for or against a bill)

 -Speak to just 2-3 of your strongest points

 -Thank the legislators for their time

 

Don’t forget:

 -You will likely have 2 minutes max to speak

 -Prepare — don’t be afraid to write notes and refer to those as you speak if needed.

 

Example 

Hello My name is [] and I am asking for you to [Support/oppose/amend] [Bill title and number] 

 

[1-2 arguments on why you want them to vote a certain way] *Tip: Make your story as personal as possible! Lawmakers need to hear an on-the-ground perspective! *

 

[ Add one to two facts or data points] 

 

 [Support/oppose/amend] 

 

Thank you for your time. 

WRITING TIP! 100 words are approximately 1 minute, so when typing up your comment, try not to go past 200/250 words. 

Emailing your legislator

1) Subject: Be clear in the subject line about what you want and what bill you are emailing about. IE “Vote Yes on [Bill name and number] Sponsored by [lawmakers name]

2) Intro: State who you are and where you are from (especially if you’re a constituent)

3) Content: Make your arguments brief — limit yourself to 75-100 words 

 

Don’t forget

 Use your own voice and resist the temptation to copy and paste.

 

Subject: Vote [YES/NO] on [Bill name and number] 

 

Hello, [title; Senator, Representative, etc.], my name is [insert name], and I am a constituent of [insert city/district]. I am reaching out to you to ask you to support [bill name and number] 

 

[1-2 arguments on why you want them to vote a certain way] 

 

Vote [Yes/against] [insert bill name and number].

 

Thank you for your time, 

-[Your name] 

[Contact information] 

You can learn about lobbying, practice with others, and have a team member assist you when you speak to your lawmakers by signing up for our free lobbying training.  Learn more about our lobbying program here.