In 2015, then-immediate past president of NYS Women, Inc., Amy Kellogg, gave a presentation on effective political advocacy at that year’s spring board in April at the Griffiss Institute in Rome. Here are the highlights; and take special notice of the dates the legislature is in session. Advocating for an issue when your legislator isn’t in Albany, isn’t a good use of your time!
What is effective advocacy?
To be an effective advocate:
• You must understand the process
• Know who your state legislator is
• Know your issue
• Know what you are asking for
Understand the process.
There are three parts to the legislative process.
• The Legislative Branch
• How a Bill Becomes a Law
• Taking Action
The Legislative Branch
The New York State Legislature
• Two-house legislature
• 213 members in Senate and Assembly
• All legislators serve 2-year terms (both assemblymen and senators)
• 150 members
• Currently, Democrats control with a 106-43 majority with one Independent
• The Majority Leader of the Assembly is Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, Buffalo
• 63 members
• Currently, Democrats have the majority with 40 members
• There is a one-seat vacancy in the Republican minority
• The leader of the Senate is the Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, NYC
How the legislative process works
• Session begins in January with the Governor’s State of the State Address.
• The Legislative cycle runs for two years and contains two sessions.
• The Governor must submit a proposed Budget by the end of January.
• The budget is due by April 1. The budget must be done every year.
• Once the budget is complete then non-money issues addressed until adjournment.
• Session traditionally concludes by the end of June with special session later in the year if there is urgent business.
How a bill becomes a law
12 steps for a bill to become a law in New York State
1. The Idea
3. Bill Drafting
5. Committee Actions
7. Assembly Ways & Means and Senate Finance
8. Rules Committee
9. Floor Vote
10. The Governor
12. A Bill Becomes a Law
There is a low success rate for bills passing both houses.
• During this 2019-2020 legislative session – which ends in December 2020 – 490 bills have been signed into law so far.
• In order for a bill to become law in New York, the bill must pass the Senate and the Assembly in the exact same version. If even one word is different, the bill cannot become law.