American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Gathering Resources and Drafting Your Position

Gathering Advocacy Resources

After you have defined and categorized the issues, it is easier to determine what resources you need (and when you need them). The term “resources” is used to refer to anything that can be utilized in grassroots advocacy efforts. Resources can be “paper” (i.e. model legislation, talking points, studies, etc.); “financial” (how much money will you need to print flyers, purchase ads, plan lobby days, etc.); or even “people” (initiating letter writing campaigns, arranging witnesses for hearings, etc.). It is a good idea to create a timeline of the legislative agenda so that you can better organize when you will need your resources. When creating your timeline check with your legislature’s session calendar to determine deadlines for action on legislation.

Drafting Appropriate Language for the Legislation

If you decide that an issue is important enough that you would like to draft your own bill, first check with ACS to see if model legislation exists. Model legislation can serve as a useful starting point and save time and advocacy resources. Chances are that similar legislation may have been considered in other states, providing an excellent template for drafting your own bill.

When developing a bill it is important that the language for it be written in the statutory format utilized by the state legislature. Either use a current statute as an example for style, or seek the assistance of ACS staff; a state lobbyist or legislator (who could serve as a potential sponsor); an attorney; or a state medical society government relations staff person. In many states, a legislator will determine the basic intent of the bill and provide that information to a legislative information office in the state capitol, and that office will draft language while making sure the appropriate section of the state statute is amended.