How to Get Involved
1. Find Your Representative
The best way to get involved in the California Legislative process is to let your opinion known to your representatives. You can visit the Official California Legislature page and type in your zip code to find out the names of your Representative and Senator.
2. Identify the Issues Important to You
To be an effective advocate, you must be sure to know what issues are being discussed at the Capitol. This is why PCL has created the watchlist, to help our members keep track of the proceedings going on at the Capitol and see what issues PCL is actively working on. We hope you use the watchlist to your advantage to stay informed on the bills we are tracking and identify any issues that matter to you.
3. Contact your Representative
Legislators like to hear from their constituents and are often swayed by their opinion. Once you have identified a bill you would like your legislator to support or oppose, you may choose to contact your legislator to persuade them to agree with you. Prior to contacting them, make sure you fully understand the bill you are referencing and where it currently is in the legislative process. You may refer to the watchlist to help you.
Calling your Legislator
- Identify your position on a bill and write a short paragraph explaining it
- Determine the phone number for the Legislator’s office (note: most Legislators have two offices, one at the Capitol and one at the district)
- State your name and address at the beginning of the call and give your short speech. Ask the Legislator to support your position
- Thank them for their time
Writing to your Legislator
Call the Legislators Office to determine which staff member to email the letter to. If mailing the letter, find the office address on the Legislator’s website.
Tips for Writing the Letter
- Identify your position and the action you want the Legislator to take at the beginning and the end of the letter
- Identify the reasons for your position. Use facts backed up by evidence or tell a personal story of how the issue will affect you.
- Keep it Short and Simple (KISS) and be polite
- Don’t forget to thank the Legislator at the end.
Meeting your Legislator
Prior to the Visit
- Make sure to schedule the visit with the Legislator’s scheduler.
- Assume that you will be meeting with the Legislator’s staff and that you will have 15 minutes at the most
- Be prepared: Bring necessary materials and do your research into the bill and the Legislator
During the Visit
- Dress well and arrive 5 minutes early
- Be sure to get your point across in a clear and simple manner and answer any questions the Legislator may have
- Ask for commitment at the end of your visit (ex. Co-sponsoring the Bill or voting Yes in the next committee hearing)
After the Visit
- Send a thank you note to the Legislator thanking them for their time and reminding them of their commitment