Become an Advocate – State Legislature
1. How Do I Know What Bills Are Pending Before The Legislature?
There is a grid that tracks all the bills and where they are in the process called a Status Sheet, which is updated daily. Visit www.leg.state.co.us and click on Status.
2. How Do I Know When There Will Be a Hearing or a Floor Vote for a Bill?
There is a calendar for the House and for the Senate which is updated daily during session. Visit www.leg.state.co.us and click on Calendar.
3. How Can I Observe or Monitor Legislative Proceedings?
You can go to the capitol in person. You can listen to audio broadcast by visiting www.leg.state.co.us and clicking on Audio Broadcast. For proceeding on the floor, visit www.coloradochannel.net
4. How Can I Weight in on Legislation?
You can call, email, write or meet with elected officials, draft letters to the editor or op-ed pieces, blog or send information to your email lists or phone trees to mobilize others to contact elected officials. Engage your friends to grow a coalition to do the same thing. You can ask legislators to vote yes/no and tell them why. You can shape public opinion by getting education, information out to the press, blogs, or both. You can share research or expertise or prepare a fact sheet to on why to support or oppose a bill.
5. Who Do I Contact?
It is always good to contact your own legislators and let them know you live in their district. You can find out who your elected officials are by visiting www.votesmart.org. You also want to contact legislators on the committee prior to a committee vote and the members of the chamber prior to a floor vote. All contact information for legislators can be found at www.leg.state.co.us. Click on Contact Information.
6. What If I Want to Suggest a New Bill or Law?
You only need to find one legislator willing to introduce your idea as a bill, and your legislator may choose to introduce it. The legislative session runs January through May. It is best to approach a lawmaker by the November prior to the legislative session because they have a limit on the number of bills they can carry.
7. How Do I Testify?
You have the right in Colorado to testify. Show up at the designated time and hearing room (see calendar) and sign in. There will be a witness sign-in sheet for every bill. When the Chairperson calls your name, come forward, introduce yourself and who-if anyone-you represent. Prepare about 3 minutes of your comments on whether you support or oppose the bill and why. The committee may have questions. Wait until the Chair calls on you by name to answer. Then process to answer. If you cannot make it to testify in person, you can also prepare written comments, submit them to the Chair and ask that they be included in the record.
8. Who is Lobbying for or Against Bills in Colorado?
You can look up information about who lobbies in Colorado, who they work for, how much they are paid, and which bills they are lobbying by visiting www.sos.state.co.us and click on Lobbyists.
Tips for Maximum Impact with Legislators
Be brief, be polite, include a few reasons, and how to follow-up with you for more information.