Once we have a completed and approved report we can advocate for the position. If a report pertains to a pending bill, first we get it to the bill sponsors. Then, in general, we track the bill and at certain points in time (e.g., when the bill gets on a committee agenda or is heading to a floor vote), we communicate the position to other legislators, legislative leadership and, when appropriate, the Executive office. This is done by communication with legislators and their staff via email, fax and phone and through personal visits. We also try to convey our position to other organizations that are involved in lobbying for the issue, particularly those who are leading the advocacy effort. If there is a benefit to doing more grassroots advocacy, we may ask committee members if they are interested in contacting their legislators as individual constituents, not as a City Bar members. We can help with that.
If a committee has proposed new legislation, first we need to find an appropriate sponsor(s). Once the bill gets introduced, we advocate for the bill in a similar fashion to the other pieces of legislation we support. It is important to note, however, that advocating for legislation proposed by our committees requires greater participation by committee chairs and/or those committee members who drafted the legislation. As the organization that proposed the legislation, we must take the lead on advocacy and coordinating with the legislature. In addition, many bills will undergo revisions before passage. Committees that propose legislation will need to communicate with our office frequently to discuss strategy, potential amendments and how to keep the bill moving. In general, we will continue to actively lobby for passage of a committee's legislative proposal so long as the proposal remains viable and the committee demonstrates ongoing interest.
Another important component of advocacy is responding to legislators or their staff when issues arise regarding legislation. Since reports are the work product of our committees, we rely on their expertise and opinion in responding to these inquiries. We strongly encourage committee members to follow up with us or the legislator in a timely manner in order to ensure that their positions are accounted for.
For those committee members who want to actively engage in advocacy related to their report, check out our guide "Your Committee Issued a Legislative Report... Now What?".