Some Tips for Passing a City Council Resolution

News Release: 
Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An ACLU overview of steps to passing a local resolution opposing the USA PATRIOT Act and other anti-liberty features of the Homeland Security program.

1. Recruit allies:

Recruit local organizations, community leaders, and residents to join your efforts. Whether they offer an endorsement or get directly involved, community support is important. Contact minority groups, community action groups, churches, mosques, unions, academics, etc.

2. Educate the community:

Once you've found some allies, hold a general meeting. Use this as an opportunity to invite and recruit even more supporters. Invite a guest speaker to talk about the USA PATRIOT Act and the crackdown on civil liberties. Encourage people to sign up for your campaign.

3. Do your homework:

Now that you have community support, figure out who on your city council or board of county commissioners would probably be receptive to sponsoring or voting for a resolution.

4. Lobby, lobby, lobby!

Call your target council members or commissioners and set up meetings. Decide ahead of time who will represent your coalition and what different people will say. What would each elected official be most receptive to? Follow up with each elected official's office to gauge progress. Encourage your allies to make phone calls and send letters of support.

5. Focus on the vote:

As the day approaches for the vote on your resolution, confirm each elected official's support. Focus public attention by getting media coverage. Write letters to the editor. Publicize the council or board meeting to the community so that plenty of supporters can attend.

6. Congratulations!

Once the resolution passes, make sure you publicize your victory! Send copies of the resolution to local, statewide, and national elected officials. Write a same-day press release with quotes by key player and send it to all newspapers, television, and radio outlets, including the Associated Press. Thank everyone who voted for the resolution. And don't forget to celebrate!

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