STATE G Michigan Legislature Home

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Dear Citizen, It is of primary importance that the general public. increase its par ticipation in the decision making process. In order to actuate this input the citizen must acquire an. understanding of the legislative structure and process and. then organize concerted efforts to effectively demand. representation, Individuals can have an impact on specific legislative. proposals provided it is made at the appropriate time. Organized community and citizens groups can multiply. the impact of that individual effort, Organizing citizens groups to deal with specific community. prob lems is extremely important Such groups provide a focal. point from which citizens can participate in the decision. making process and influence legislation, The intent of this CITIZEN S GUIDE is to provide some. of the specific information needed to get in touch with the. RIGHT PEOPLE AT THE RIGHT TIME to make your concerns. heard It is hoped that it will be a reference tool that will. assist you in your efforts to be heard by public officials. Cover Photo Sandra Debnar Legislative Service Bureau Printing Division. CITIZEN S GUIDE,STATE GOVERNMENT,2017 2018 MICHIGAN LEGISLATURE.
January 2018,Prepared by the Michigan Legislature,www legislature mi gov. This information is provided free to Michigan citizens. and is not for reproduction for resale or profit,TABLE OF CONTENTS. Citizen Participation 1,Organizing 1,Personal Contacts 1. Letter Writing and E Mail 2, Information About Elected Public Officials Representing You in Washington DC 4. The Three Branches of Michigan State Government 11. Information About Elected Public Officials Representing You at the State Level 12. The Michigan Supreme Court 13,Your Michigan Legislature 14.
Political Composition Index 16,Map Section 20,99th Legislature House Floor Seating Chart 28. Listing by House Districts 29,House Officers 30,Michigan House of Representatives Directory 31. 99th Legislature Senate Floor Seating Chart 50,Listing by Senate Districts 51. Senate Officers 51,Michigan Senate Directory 53,How a Bill Becomes a Law 60. Committees 62,How They Work 62,Testifying Before a Committee 62.
House Standing Committees 65,House Appropriations Subcommittees 67. House of Representatives Schedule of Standing Committee Meetings 68. Senate Standing Committees 69,Senate Appropriations Subcommittees 70. Senate Schedule of Standing Committee Meetings 71,Joint Senate and House Committees 72. Fiscal Agency Governing Boards 72,Michigan Departments 73. Legislative Offices 75, Capitol Services and Accommodations for Persons With Disabilities 76.
Downtown Lansing Map 78,CITIZEN PARTICIPATION, An informed and active citizenry is the lifeblood of a democracy. It is important in a democracy that citizens help keep their legislators informed In order to be true representatives. of the people legislators need to know the thinking of their constituents on those issues upon which decisions will. be made and the facts on which such thinking and conclusions are based As a citizen you can help ensure good. legislation on the state and national levels by communicating with your elected representatives at the proper time. Too many people never have any contact with those who represent them in government whose vote may decide. what price they will pay for the acts of government sometimes in terms of dollars or in changes to standards of liv. ing or in regulatory inconveniences, Is There a Bill or an Issue of Particular Concern to You Organize. Forming a group to lobby for or against legislation is often more effective than individual efforts A group is far. more visible has greater resources and carries more political weight. Organize a group of friends co workers or neighbors around a specific issue of concern to all of you Define. your goals identify tasks that are part of the plan divide the work For instance one person can research. available material another can keep track of the bill several can attend all committee meetings several can per. sonally meet with the legislator etc STAY INFORMED. It is best for the group to meet informally or socially with legislators even before the group has specific legislative. requests to make Professional lobbyists specifically suggest this kind of personalized informal contact Friendly. personal acquaintance and help at campaign time form a strong basis for personal or group lobbying efforts. Learn how the system works find out how a bill becomes a law learn the committee structure find out. which legislators are dealing with your area of concern find out when and how to lobby ALL THIS INFORMATION. IS TO BE FOUND IN THIS GUIDE, If you are interested in becoming actively involved in influencing legislation here are some important points that. will make your lobbying efforts more effective,Personal Contacts. Personal contacts can be a meaningful way to influence a legislator. 1 Before contacting any legislators take the time to read all available background mate rial on the bill or issue. which concerns you Although it is obviously beneficial for you to know a great deal about the specifics of bills. and issues it is not essential that you know everything The primary goal of your visit is to express your con. cern over a particular bill or issue, 2 Know when and where to contact a legislator The best times to find a legislator in the office in Lansing are.
Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday House sessions are nor mally held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 1 30 p m. and Thursdays at 12 00 noon while Senate sessions normally begin at 10 00 a m on Tuesdays Wednesdays. and Thursdays, It is usually possible when the House and Senate are in session to send a message to legislators informing. them that you wish to speak with them Check from the visitors balconies on the third floor using the seating. charts in this book to see if the legislator you wish to meet with is in the chamber The sergeant at arms on. the second floor in front of each chamber will send your message to the representative or senator It is generally. but not always possible for a legislator to come out to meet briefly with you. Occasionally legislators will be able to see you if you simply walk into their office but the best approach is to. call ahead and make an appointment Let the legislator know what you wish to discuss If you cannot get an. appointment or if the matter is too urgent to wait for an appointment do not hesitate to go to the office anyway. You may at least be able to talk to staff and will have made them aware of your concern. 3 If you have genuine expert knowledge share it with the legislator It will be welcomed No legislator can be. an expert on everything All views are important but expertise is especially valued Remember any lobby. ist s most useful role for a legislator is as a source of information If you have read the bill carefully and or. understand the issues involved as a result of personal knowledge or research you may be of great assist ance. to the legislator, 4 Be constructive If a bill deals with a problem you admit exists but you believe the bill is the wrong approach. explain what you believe is the right approach If you want to suggest amendments to a bill that has been. introduced it is important that you have a a clear idea of what you want to be included or deleted b the. reasons to justify the proposed change and c good strong facts to back up your position before you contact. your legislator If possible leave copies of your position and or suggested changes with the legislator. 5 It is usually a waste of time for both of you to lobby legislators who are already supporting your position. although they may be helpful in making suggestions for your lobbying efforts. 6 You do not need a crowd to lobby One or possibly two well informed lobbyists on the same subject are. more effective and less confusing than a large group gathered at the same time. 7 When you introduce yourself save time by making it clear who you are and what organization if any you. are working with If you are cooperating with some group from the legislator s home district mention it and. the fact that the home district group may also be trying to reach the legislator. 8 Do not overkill Most legislators have many demands on their time An elaborate sales job or long emo. tional speech will not be appreciated They do however want your well prepared facts and views presented in. a straightforward manner Make sure their time is well spent in talking to you Stick to the issues that you. came to discuss don t wander into other issues, 9 It is easy particularly when dealing with legislators who disagree with you to become angry and frustrated. If you disagree a calm reasonable attitude and a set of well prepared reasons for your position may change. their minds on the issue It is generally advisable not to get into arguments which may trigger prejudices. Remember you may not have all the facts on an issue or bill. Let legislators explain their views listen without interrupting they often have input from many resources. to which you may not have access such as fiscal agencies state departments other groups with expertise on. the issue and legislation from other states, Take a few notes about their comments noting any questions they have Give the answers you know and. offer to get answers to the other questions if possible Understanding their views of the facts and where they. come from will help your organization develop counterarguments. 10 Don t demand a commitment before the facts are in Give your legislator a fair chance to examine all sides. of an issue, The legislative process is very complex and bills change their shape in committee and on the floor of both.
chambers of the Legislature A bill rarely becomes law in the same form as introduced It is possible that the. bill you supported originally is so changed in the process that you would oppose its final form. A legislator may be forced to vote on a complex bill as a whole weighing the good with the bad and the needs. of all constituents and or the state as a whole rather than those of a particular group or individual. Letter Writing and E Mail, A personal letter or message via e mail or the Internet may be the most effective way of contacting your legislator. whether in Lansing or Washington D C Consult the Congressional p 4 House p 31 and Senate p 53 directories. in this guide to find the addresses of Michigan legislators Many offices prefer e mail. If you re new at this type of letter writing here are some suggestions on how your letters can be most effective. 1 ADDRESS IT PROPERLY Know your legislator s full name and correct spelling For specific addresses see. individual lists Examples,U S SENATOR U S REPRESENTATIVE. The Honorable full name The Honorable full name, United States Senator United States Representative. Address Address, Dear Senator last name Dear Representative last name. STATE SENATOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE,The Honorable full name The Honorable full name.
State Senator State Representative,State Capitol State Capitol. P O Box 30036 P O Box 30014,Lansing MI 48909 7536 Lansing MI 48909 7514. Dear Senator last name Dear Representative last name. 2 ALWAYS INCLUDE YOUR LAST NAME AND ADDRESS ON THE LETTER OR E MAIL A letter cannot be. answered if there is no return address and this shows you are a constituent. 3 USE YOUR OWN WORDS Avoid form letters and petitions They tend to be identified as organized pressure. campaigns and are often answered with form replies However a petition does let the legislator know that. the issue is of concern to a large number of people addresses with zip codes should be given for each sig. nature One thoughtful factual and well reasoned letter may carry more weight than 100 form letters or. printed postcards, 4 TIME THE ARRIVAL OF YOUR LETTER OR E MAIL Try to write to your legislator and the chairperson. of the committee dealing with a bill while a bill is still in committee and there is still time to take effective. action Sometimes a bill is out of committee or has been passed before a helpful informative letter arrives. which could have made a difference in the way the bill was written or in the final decision. 5 KNOW WHAT YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT Identify the bill or issue of concern to you Thou sands of bills. and resolutions are introduced in each session If you write about a bill try to give the bill number or. describe it by popular title such as the Whistleblower s Act or the School Code. 6 BE REASONABLY BRIEF Many issues are complex but a single page presenting your opinions facts. arguments or proposals as clearly as possible is preferred and welcomed by most legislators. 7 GIVE REASONS FOR YOUR POSITION Explain how the issue would affect you your family business or. profession or the effect on your community or our state If you have specialized knowledge SHARE IT. WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR Concrete expert arguments for or against the bill can be used by the legislator. in determining the final outcome of a bill, 8 BE CONSTRUCTIVE If a bill deals with a problem you admit exists but you believe the bill is the wrong. approach explain what you believe to be the right approach. 9 GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS SHOULD DETERMINE THEIR PRIORITY CONCERNS and contact the legis. lator on those specific issues rather than on every issue The pen pal who writes every few days on every. STATE GVERNMENTO 2017 2018 MICHIGAN LEGISLATURE January 2018 Prepared by the Michigan Legislature www legislature mi gov This information is provided free to Michigan citizens and is not for reproduction for resale or profit TABLE OF CONTENTS Citizen Participation 1 Organizing 1 Personal Contacts 1 Letter Writing and E Mail 2 Information About Elected Public Officials

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