Engaging your members at the right times in the process is critical to your ongoing success
The legislative process can at times seem long, convoluted and rife with movement, delays and highly publicized maneuvering. However, all bills introduced into the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives follow the same basic path. A working knowledge of the process will allow your organization to organize and execute initiatives that will engage and inspire your members to get involved when you need them to in order to affect the result.
As always, the further upstream your advocates can get involved in shaping the language of a bill or influencing changes along the way, the happier they (and you) are apt to be with the result.
We’ve identified the 14 crucial steps in the legislative process that provide opportunities for grassroots advocacy organizations to influence outcomes. This post is part one of a three-part series examining the 14 steps of the legislative process in detail and providing an overview of the best avenues for member engagement.
The legislative process: Steps 1-5
Anyone may draft a bill. (In recent years, organizations have increasingly taken the lead in crafting the language of bills introduced in the House and Senate.) However, the formal introduction of legislation can only be done by members of Congress. By doing so, they become the bill’s sponsor(s). A piece of legislation (a bill, joint resolution, concurrent resolution or simple resolution) enters the legislative process when it is assigned a number — H.R. signifies a bill introduced in the House of representatives and S. signifies a bill introduced in the Senate. The bill is then printed by the Government Printing Office, then…
2. Referred to a committee
Almost all bills are referred to a standing committee in the legislative body where the bill originated. When the bill reaches a committee, it is…