Advocating for Legislation in the General Assembly
How to Advocate for Bills
It is one of my goals to demystify the legislative process and make the process of how bills become laws easier to understand. If you have any questions, please contact my office.
When you are tracking bills before and during Session, it's helpful to know the following:
What committee and subcommittee the bill has been assigned to; and
When that committee and subcommittee meet; and
Where to see the Agenda which will list the bills seen that day; and
What Delegates have been assigned that committee and subcommittee.
Step One: Do Your Homework.
While it's important and commendable to call your Delegate for any and every bill you support or oppose, this can sometimes be more work than it needs to be. If you know your Delegate already supports a bill you support, or opposes a bill you oppose, calling them to please support/oppose can be ineffective at causing change. Find out what committee the bill has been sent to, and what subcommittee, and reach out to those Delegates. If your Delegate isn't in those committees, even if they fall in line with your ideology, they can't vote on the bill unless it makes it to the floor for a vote.
Step Two: Call. Email. Write. Show Up.
There are a lot of moving parts, and calling your Representative in Government can seem intimidating to a lot of people, but the good news our Government is for the people and by the people. You have the power.
Call, email, and write the offices of everyone on the committee and subcommittee.
Show up to the committee meetings, and if you can't show up find out if someone you know can.
Reach out to any groups of similar interest to speak in favor or opposition of the bill.
Schedule a meeting with the Delegates if you can, or show up and ask to speak with their Legislative Assistants or Aides.
Step Three: Don't Give Up.
Most bills are killed in subcommittee, and even more are killed later on down the line. On average, only about 1/3 of the bills proposed make it through the entire process to become law. In the 2018 General Assembly Session, only 850 bills became law out of 2,606 proposed bills.
If the bill you support didn't make it, call your Representative to find out what can be done for next year. Reach out to groups that may also be affected by the bill and together, with support, you might be able to enact change in the future.