Have you Ever Found Yourself Saying “There Ought to Be a Law”?

Watch from the 3rd floor balcony.

2013 Utah State Legislative Session: January 28-March 14, 2013

If you have ever though ‘there ought to be a law,’ perhaps you could get that law passed. It’s the legislative session again and the Capitol is bustling with activity. Stop by and check things out.

A couple holds goes toward the Capitol to talk to their reps.

A couple holds goes toward the Capitol to talk to their reps.

Thanks to Community Action Partnership of Utah (CAPUtah) and the AARP about one hundred Utah residents braved a snowy winter morning to come to the Utah State Capitol and learn about the legislative process. Attendees were treated to a debate between the chairs of the Democratic and Republican parties, a run down of how to lobby and a guided tour of the Capitol. They then sat down to lunch with their Representatives.

They learned to get involved. It’s not as hard as you think it is.

Where to Start:

Talking to your representative can seem pretty intimidating but don’t let it scare you. There are numerous ways to speak to your rep. Calls, post cards, e-mails and even faxes can make a difference. Their home phone numbers are listed on the Legislative website. They are public servants and taking calls from constituents (that means you) is what they are expected to do.

Click Here to Find Your Representatives

Visit the Capitol and Check it Out
You can sit quietly in the balconies of the House or Senate any time they are in session. They rarely go into closed sessions. Peek in the East building behind the Capitol. The Cafeteria is on the first floor.

Our Tour Guide Shelly

If you would like to talk to your representative during the legislative session and you don’t have an appointment talking in person is simple.  Go to the State Capitol during legislative hours and visit the men or women in the green jackets outside the Senate and House chambers on the second floor. They will give you a piece of paper that you address to your elected official with your information and concerns. They then take your piece of paper into the session to your representative and you wait outside the chamber to speak to them. Just know what your rep looks like so you can grab them before someone else does. It’s that simple!

There is a table like this in front of the senate and house.

There is a table like this in front of the senate and house.

What do I say?
Now you know how to talk to your rep, what do you talk to them about? Legislation of course, or you can talk to them about concerns you have that you think a law next year may be helpful for. Anyone can propose a bill to their rep or a representative that may be interested. All bills have to be sponsored by a member of the House or Senate to get into committees. Lots and LOTS of different types of people propose and write bills and get them passed. Just be honest and be brief. Our representatives all have full time jobs outside of the Capitol and they are busy people.

Remember..
This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Just introduce yourself to start with. You should keep tabs on your House or Senate Representative for a long time to come.

How do I know what is happening on Capitol Hill?
Visit the Legislative website and review the bills or talk to advocates and get suggestions. Find out the bill numbers of the bills you are interested in. Sign up to track a bill on the Legislative website. An email will be sent to you when it is about to be discussed in committee. Bills have to move through committees first, before being debated.

Some Facts for you to know:

The Utah State Senate has 28 members, you need 15 votes to pass a bill
The Utah House has 75 members and one needs 38 votes to pass a bill.

A bill first must get a sponsor who enters it and it is assigned a number. A sponsor is a legislator. Then it goes to rules where it is debated and if it makes it out it is assigned  a committee. If it makes it out of the assigned committee it can then be debated on the floor.

You can listen live every day to most sessions on the Senate or House floor here.

Now you know how to talk to your reps go do it and make a difference!

Some suggested links to follow legislation in 2013

United Way
The United Way is sponsoring a Day on the Hill on February 21st.

Utah Health Policy Project
UHPP meets every Wednesday during the session from 12:15-1pm in the Olmstead room at the Senate building. That’s downstairs in the East building behind the Capitol.

Utahns for Medicaid Expansion also meet in the Olmstead Room at the Senate building on Wednesdays from 1:10-2pm.

The Utah Education Association

Crossroads Urban Center

CAP Utah and AARP took citizens on tours of the Capitol to show them how to lobby.

CAP Utah and AARP took citizens on tours of the Capitol to show them how to lobby.

Comments
3 Responses to “Have you Ever Found Yourself Saying “There Ought to Be a Law”?”
  1. “Have you Ever Found Yourself Saying “There Ought to Be a Law”?
    Salt Lake CAP Poverty News” ended up being a splendid posting, cannot wait to read even more of ur blogs.
    Time to waste a lot of time online lol. Thanks for the post -Amie

  2. yahoo.com says:

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    Time to waste some time on the web lolz. Thanks for the post ,Silvia

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