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Legislative Action Tips: How to Get Involved

January 31, 2023

Getting involved in the legislative process can feel overwhelming – but it’s important. The issues being discussed within the legislature aren’t just theoretical, after all. They affect you, your family and your daily life. You can make a difference by staying informed and using your voice to speak up when it matters.

If you are interested in getting involved in the lawmaking process but are not sure where to start, you don’t have to dive in all at once. You can start slowly, first focusing on the issues that matter most to you. Here are five legislative action tips to help you get started.

1. Know who your lawmakers are and how to contact them.

First, it’s important to know who represents you and how you can reach them. The FSA offers a number of helpful resources for contacting your state senators and representatives. You can also refer to the Florida Sheriffs Association Annual Guide to Government for official photos, biographies, web addresses and more. 

2. Learn about the legislative process.

Next, make sure you understand the legislative process. Need a little brushing up? There are many free resources that can help you quickly get a better understanding of how our state laws are made. Even a simple refresher can prepare you to effectively express your ideas. Online Sunshine is a great website for staying informed about current issues and legislation.

3. Get ahead of the issue.

Found a topic you’re passionate about? You can contact your local lawmaker about a particular issue before the Legislature acts on it. Whether you use your phone, letters, email or in-person visit, this is where you can really make your voice heard. You may even be able to give testimony at a public hearing if you contact the appropriate committee secretary to sign up. You can also use FSA’s Bill Tracker to stay up to date on legislation that the sheriffs are monitoring.

4. Make it personal.

Tell your lawmakers what effect a particular bill – if it becomes law – will have on you, your children, business or community. Be concise, but specific. Always be polite, even if you disagree strongly with the lawmaker’s position. You’ll be more effective if you are reasonable in your approach. Organize your thoughts ahead of time and bring notes to help you stay on track. Prepare a one-page fact sheet concerning your issue to leave with the legislator. This will help them better retain the message.

5. Stay informed.

Staying up to date with every legislative issue is time-consuming, which is why it’s helpful to be connected to the right news sources. Subscribing to reliable sources, such as the FSACast podcast, which gives legislative updates during session, is a great first step.

FSA’s Legislative Action in 2022

The legislative process is most effective when everyone participates. One of the Florida Sheriffs Association’s primary roles and responsibilities is to support and monitor legislation that ensures public safety in Florida. Both during the legislative session and throughout the year, FSA’s legislative team is actively working with lawmakers to ensure that bills are introduced and passed that are in the best interests of Florida citizens and protect the ability of Florida law enforcement to keep communities safe. 

After the 2022 session, law enforcement officers received substantial pay raises and one‐time hiring bonuses, laws were strengthened to ensure juvenile offenders can be held or monitored more closely before the disposition of their case, and school safety continued to be reinforced. Thank you to all who worked with us to achieve these important goals. You can read more about FSA’s legislative action here.