Choosing and securing a Bill Sponsor

Choosing a Bill Sponsor:
It will be important to identify connections potential sponsors may have to your legislation. Are they the lawmaker who represents you or a coalition partner? Do they have an eating disorder treatment center in their district? Have they proposed legislation in this arena before? Do they have a connection to mental health, online safely/digital citizenship, health education, consumer safety, or the adolescent or adult population you are trying to protect? Make a list of potential lawmakers to consider before jumping at the first option.

You may also be lucky to know a professional lobbyist who works for an organization you are friendly with or one in your coalition. People in these positions can provide you with incredible amount of unofficial information about elected officials and decision-makers because they are working directly with lawmakers each day. They can offer thoughts about personality type, how to approach certain lawmakers’ offices, and who has great staff. They can let you know who gets along with whom and dynamics between lawmakers. This may sound silly but knowing who gets along with legislative leadership and who does not will influence your chances of success. The last thing you want is to find out that an important Committee Chair or the Speaker of the House cannot stand the person you sought out to be your bill sponsor.

Securing Bill Co-Sponsors:
Oftentimes, bills can have co-sponsors and the list of co-sponsors can be an important information about the insider support for your bill.

If you are brand new to the process and don’t have access to the info listed above, there’s still hope! The state lawmakers who represent the district where you live and vote might be willing to file the bill on your behalf. It’s not a perfect solution and there’s no guarantee that they will do any work to advance the bill, but at least it starts the process which will give you a reason to meet with many other lawmakers so you can find a better sponsor for the next session.