Every actor knows you've got to memorize the script before you ever step on the stage. As my Daddy used to say, "There's no substitute for knowing what the hell you're doing."
1. Download a copy of your State's Constitution. Read it. Study it. Store a copy in your favorite places for ready reference. Know what powers are given in your State to the Governor and what powers are reserved for the legislature. Nothing will detract from your efforts to influence your State government more quickly (and permanently) than recommending actions that would violate your State's Constitution.
And referencing a specific Article, Section, and paragraph from your State's Constitution in correspondence with your legislators will establish you in their minds as someone to be taken seriously.
2. Know when your State legislature is in session and what the legislative procedures are so you can time initiatives effectively. For example, when the Texas Legislature convenes in January, the first thirty days are reserved for introducing bills. That means if you want to get a bill written and considered during that session, you had better start your initiative no later than July of the preceding year. And anything you send a Texas legislator after February 1st will be ignored.
1. Know who your State Senator and your State Representative are. Read their bios. Get to know them and, more importantly, get them to know you. Send them a congratulatory email when they win a primary or an election – or when they experience a high point in their lives such as becoming a parent or a grandparent.
2. Become familiar with your National Representatives and Senators at govtrack.us and by subscribing to their email newletters. When election time comes, you'll want to work to defeat those who have become infected with DCosis.
3. Know what laws are already on the books in your State. You'll only look foolish if you launch an initiative for a voter ID law when the legislature passed and the Governor signed one into law two sessions ago.
4. Become and stay aware of legislation that is pending, of when a particular bill is on the floor, and of legislation introduced and not passed in the previous session. You've got to follow through on your initiatives. Don't quit until you're done, and you're not done until the bill becomes law. You can track legislation at http://openstates.org. Go to this site and get familiar with it. Also get a digital subscription to your State Capital's newspaper. When the Legislature is in session, they will carry daily reports on activity.
Build an SDCI website. This can be an additional page on your website if you already have one. The SDCI website should identify specific initiatives and be a source of both information and inspiration toward accomplishing that initiative. See SDCI Austin as an example (although I'm sure you can do a much better job than I did).
Send a link to your SDCI website to your State Senator and to your State Representative by way of introduction and to let them know that you are a serious and responsible member of their constituency and not just another whiney opportunist.
Promote your SDCI website. Its purpose is to build a coalition of like minded people throughout your State to present a unified front and to reach as many legislators as possible.
Design an SDCI signature for your email and append it to every email you send out – even those that are directed out of State. Part of our objective is to stimulate the formation of SDCI chapters in other States.
Manage your SDCI site. Keep readers updated on the status of initiatives and legislation. Add a news column. Keep it interesting. Your competing with other priorities in peoples' lives.
Build an email list. This should comprise three segments: personal contacts, State contacts, and press contacts. I preface every screen name on my SDCI contact list with a number: 1 for personal contacts, 2 for federal contacts, 3 for State and local officials, and 4 for press contacts. That way, all my SDCI contacts are at the top of my email list and organized.
Choose initiatives with care and forethought. You don't want to trivialize your efforts by flooding your legislators with too much at once. This is going to be a long and ongoing process. Be patient. I would recommend not more than four initiatives at one time. Choose initiatives for their maximum impact on federal nullification in your State, their popularity among the citizens of your State, and the probability of their success in your State government.
Even though your State's elected officials work for you, don't treat them like employees. Adopt the attitude that you are trying to help them and that you are partners working together to improve your State.
Promote specific initiatives. Advise your primary contact list of initiatives when they are launched and provide them with updates as the initiative progresses. Urge them to pass these on to their own contact lists. Use the press. Write leters to the opinion editor of all the major newspapers in your State outlining the reasons for, the goals of, and the preferred method of implementation for your initiative.
Follow up initiatives. You don't want to become a nuisance, but a brief and well timed query as to the status of legislation will demonstrate the depth of your interest in the matter. Promote your initiative throughout the legislative process up to and including urging the Governor to sign the bill into law once it has been passed by the legislature. Part of our impact is to let the people in our State capitals know that we are watching what they do.
Books By G. E. Kruckeberg