By Jerry Orten   March 1, 2020

A bill is pending that you are interested in. What can a concerned citizen do?

  • Determine if you desire to support the bill, seek to have it amended or want it killed – a bill is killed when it is postponed indefinitely (“PI’d”)
  • Present your point of view to your legislator and to those on the first committee to hear the bill before the bill goes to its first hearing. A directory of Colorado legislators may be found at https://leg.colorado.gov/legislators
  • If you are a constituent, make that clear to your legislator
  • Seek to build support for your position with your colleagues, business associates, friends and neighbors
  • Enlist the support of any professional, social or community organizations that might concur with your position
  • Be clear on your objections or support
  • Give your own reasons why the bill is either good, bad or should be amended
  • Consider the constituency for the pending bill. Who are they? What is their motivation? How big or small are they? Be careful about engaging with them
  • Initially, focus on contacting just those committee members of the first committee who will hear the bill
  • Send emails – not one, but several – and also call your legislator and each committee member and speak to them, to their aide or intern, or leave a message
  • Attend the hearing and testify. If the bill has drawn a lot of attention, the hearing may be moved to a room that allows for greater attendance. However, the best way to influence, amend, or kill a bill is not with testimony at the hearing – it’s with emails and phone calls from you, your colleagues, business associates, friends and neighbors and more before the hearing in the first committee
  • If the bill passes the initial committee, then you may decide to contact the entire state chamber that the bill will go to next – either the State House of Representatives or the State Senate
  • If the bill passes the first chamber, then start the above process all over again with your legislator in that chamber and the committee to which the bill is assigned
  • After the bill passes the second chamber and before it goes to the Governor, reach out directly to the Governor’s office with your input on the bill
  • Contact the Majority Leader’s/Speaker’s and Minority Leader’s offices for both chambers/parties to reiterate your support or objections
  • Remember to be courteous and respectful to your opposition
  • Play fair – even though some say “All is fair in love, war and politics!”

Good luck!

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