Track Proposed Legislation

How to track proposed legislation, contact your representatives, and effect the outcome before it is too late. What becomes law is up to you.

´╗┐Your interest in tracking and influencing legislation may be general or related to specific areas of interest. Either way, there will be many types of information to look at. Opinion pieces and explanations by both biased and non biased groups help you get a feel for what you are researching and are usually where you first hear about proposed law.

There are endless numbers of websites targeting specific areas of interest which are subject to legislation. These sites typically give contact information for representatives, and often offer sample letters, to get you started. In addition to websites look for magazines, newsletters, and trade papers targeting your area of interest. Libraries and bookstores are a good source. You can also find generalized, more comprehensive sites. From these sites you can look up the information by bill number or phrase, and find your representatives.

When looking at proposed law, it is absolutely necessary that you read the entirety of the bill. Descriptions and summaries are often misleading. Once you have determined the status, you will have a better idea of who to contact. Besides your own representatives and any applicable committee members, you can always contact your local papers and news channels. You may find it difficult, but you will want to keep emotions to a minimum in your letters.

It is important to understand that you will not have the opportunity to vote on most laws. Local, state, and National laws are usually determined by some group of officials whether it is Congress or your city council. Local issues often give you the opportunity to attend meetings and voice your opinion. At the state and National levels your best bet is to contact your representatives. In any case, you can only be effective if you track the pertinent dates. If the bill is being reviewed by a committee or multiple committees start there. Contact the committee members with your concerns. Each state has two US Senators. Since each state has several members in the House of Representatives, you will want to know your district.

Staying informed of proposed legislation, and taking action when it affects you, can save a lot of headache later in life. It is the right of every individual to participate in the process and influence the outcome.

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