The U.S. Animal Law Center
The U.S. Animal Law Center is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice. The U.S. Animal Law Center is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.
Our Judicial Report Card is a report of what is going on in the Animal Law Field. Our report card will assist the public in learning how your legislators vote on animal issues. At the completion of our report card we will be able to analyze the data and show the trends that are occurring in the field and how Representatives and Senators are voting.
How it works
Educate yourself on all aspects of your issue. Look at how other states have handled the issue. Look to see if your state already addresses this in its statutes. Remember knowledge is power and you will be tested.
This Report Card will only reflect voting record, sponsorship, co-sponsorship of bills that include animals and their habitats.
It will not include if a legislator has testified for or against and animal issue.
It also will not include information whether a legislature tried to push or stop the passage of an animal legislation bill.
It is always best policy to meet with your legislator and talk with them face to face to get their position on animal issues.
Who is my legislator?
4. (Write the Bill)
4. It is now time to write a bill. Your legislator will send you to legislative reference. They will assist with the proper language that needs to go into the final draft of the bill and place the bill in the proper section of the code.
6. (Your bill goes to the floor)
6. If your bill makes it out of committee, your legislator will take it to the floor. If your legislator is a representative, the bill will go to the house floor for debate and a vote. If your bill passes the house floor, it then goes to a senate committee. If it passes the senate committee, it then goes to the senate floor for a vote.
Now if your bill originates in the senate, then your bill follows the same procedures in the opposite direction. First it is presented to a senate committee, then to the senate floor, then to a house committee and to the house floor.
At any time, any committee member or legislator can void your bill. This is why you must make sure you have researched your issue very, very well.
What part does the public/media play
The public is your most important part of the process. The more you can get the public involved, the better chance you have to get your bill out of committees and through the legislative process.
You need to rally the public to get them to contact their legislators and show their support of your bill. Advise them to call and personally speak to their legislators. They can also sign petitions to show the support of your bill.
Call the television stations and ask them to put your bill in front of the public. Use every type of social media to promote your bill.
What happens after your bill becomes law?
Now that you have passed a law, you can track how the law is used. Prosecutors may use your law in a criminal prosecution.
Attorneys may use your law in a civil trial.
Organizations may reference your law to influence corporate policy changes.
The best way to look at your law after it is passed is how much it helps the animals.
Congratulate yourself for a job well done!
3. (Find a Sponsor)
Research your legislators. See what kinds of bills they tend to sponsor. Look at what is going on in the legislature to see if this year is the best year to get your bill sponsored. Meet your legislator. Be prepared to tell them why your bill is important. This will be your first test.
2. (Write your bill)
Write a rough draft of your law. Be ready to present it to your legislator when you meet with them. Make a video to present as well. Your legislator needs to see that you are dedicated to the bill. You don't need to be perfect, but you do need to make a serious effort.
5. (Presentment of your Bill)
Now your legislator will present your bill into the proper committee. Hopefully your legislator can get your bill to be voted on and get it out of this committee. Many times bills do not make it out of committee. In that case, the legislator may get input from the committee why they believe it will not pass and the legislator will come back to you and relay the information. The committee may make changes to the bill for you. If the committee does not make the changes then it is up to you to change the language. This is where the compromise comes in. If you compromise and change the language you can then re-present it. If you do not agree then your bill may just be dead for failure to come out of committee.
7. (The phone call)
Once your bill passes all committees and both the house and senate, your bill is then sent to the Governor to be signed into law. You then get the phone call you have been waiting for. Your bill will become law.
Congratulations on your hard work.