Talking to your legislators
As a local elected or appointed official, you’re all about community service, fixing things, pulling the community together and moving forward. Your legislators are about the same things. As much time and effort as you spend in your communities being elected officials, it’s also part of your job description to communicate with legislators – and they need to hear from you.
Spend time communicating with legislators. They can impact you unintentionally if they don’t know what is going on in your city. When they are well informed, they can be very helpful!
How do legislators know what your city needs or doesn’t want? You tell them. Repeat it and remain consistent (nothing ensures failure like officials from the same city disagreeing about your asks or positions on legislation).
There is a role for everyone in working with your legislators. Don’t assume that is just the job of the mayor or city manager. Mayors, councilmembers and city staff can all be helpful in communicating that’s important to your city. Take some time to coordinate so that everyone can work together to take advantage of opportunities to share your message with your legislators.
Print out a Washington’s Cities and Towns handout with key background information that you can use to inform your legislators.
AWC Legislative Directory (pdf)
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How a bill becomes law
Learn more about the life of a bill, from how it is introduced to the final enactment of the bill. Check out AWC’s webinar.
Cities that lobby may need to report to the PDC
Cities and towns that conduct lobbying activities either through a contract lobbyist or directly with in-house staff or city council members may need to report to the Public Disclosure Commission. Those that hire a contract lobbyist must file a report. If you have in-house staff or elected officials who spend more than four days a quarter directly lobbying the legislature, you may need to complete a report. For more information on reporting requirements and how to file a report visit the PDC’s website or review the PDC’s Public Agency Lobbying handbook. Cities and towns that fail to comply with reporting requirements on lobbying activities may be subject to penalties from the PDC.