Louisiana Voters: Lobby For SB-607Calls and letters are wonderful, but showing up at your legislators' offices really counts. You vote. They get elected. So constituents have their ear. If it feels intimidating, go in pairs. Ask that your visit be recorded, along with your stance on Louisiana's pending Pet Evacuation Bill. Most offices have a guest book, or a staff member tallies calls, visits, letters, email.
Do's and Don'ts of Lobbying
- Do know who represents you at all government levels. Find your state and federal reps.
- Do identify yourself by name and organization, if applicable.
- Do state a clear objective. Say canned hunts should be banned (specific), not just that outrageous hunting practices should stop (too broad). Explain terms that may be unfamiliar: canned, pound seizure, class B dealers, etc. Emotional words – violent training of circus animals is inexcusable – may reflect how you feel, but don't convey action officials can take.
- If possible, link the issue to a personal experience or a situation in the elected official's district.
- Do know prior actions an official has taken on behalf of animals.
- Do get to know your elected officials. Try to appear at their town meetings and events.
- Do emphasize funding for animal issues. Tell officials this is how you want your tax dollars spent.
- Do join, create, or revitalize statewide groups to give your cause more clout.
- Do develop a workable relationship with key experts who can influence animal outcomes. Animal control officers, veterinarians, state wildlife board members, prosecuting attorneys, and health officials have major impact on animal protection bills. Legislators listen to their views.
- Do join forces with other groups that may share your position even if for different reasons – churches, teachers, chambers of commerce, local universities, or specific industries.
- Do wear many hats, not just your animal advocate hat. Identify yourself as a parent, businessperson, campaign contributor, or fellow church/club/team member.
- Do work with legislative staff. Staff speak to your reps regularly and often advise on policy.
- Do get involved in legislative campaigns. Volunteer, display a campaign sign, leaflet, etc.
- Do work with your local press. Develop relationships with friendly reporters and editors.
- Do respond to action alerts from animal advocacy organizations.
- Don't threaten, antagonize or make enemies.
- Don't refer to bills by numbers alone. State: SB-607 Louisiana Pet Evacuation Bill.
- Don't ignore an elected official's comments. If asked how a bill impacts jobs, medical care, or the budget, find ways to address those issues.
- Don't overwhelm with too much information or paperwork. Legislators don't have time.
- Don't be inflexible. If compromises don't harm animals, consider the situation. Learn strategies that might save a doomed bill such as sunset provisions, grand fathering clauses, and codifying provisions as regulation (rule) instead of a statute (law).
Source: Humane Society Of The U.S.