Model Legislation Presentation

Intro –
David and Goliath – David didn’t stay content to watch his sheep, he went after the big guy directly!


Two stories:
Woman in Utah who has small podcast/radio program we’ll call “Joann”. Poster child for the wrong way to go about it! VERY public, very aggressive – used browbeating and name- calling and direct scorch-and-burn approach. She is now a pariah among the legislators AND the pro-family groups.


Another mom who has small nonprofit. “Nicky”. Year after year she has built relationships with legislators. She is calm, patient, but firm. She researches carefully. She provides the legislators with the tools they need to vote her way. She is relentless. And she is VERY effective.
Sometimes we are our own worst enemy!!

Let’s get a feel for where everyone is –
Have you done any work directly with legislators?
What is your biggest question relative to working with them?
Have you ever helped get a bill passed or blocked?


Group Discussion

  • Types of legislatures:
    • Bicameral (CA) vs. unicameral (NB – only one!)
    • Full-time vs. part-time:
      Full-time (well-paid, large staff): CA, MI (why?), NY, PA
      Full-time “lite” – AK, HI, IL, MA, OH, WS
      (ARE YOU SEEING A TREND? = blue states!)
      Part-time lite: ID, KS, ME, MS, NH, NM, RI, UT, VT, VA
      Part-time, low pay: MT, ND, SD, WY
      Rest – hybrids – 26 states
    • Annual vs. Biennial sessions:
      • Some do budget biennial/annual session: CT, HI, IN, KY, ME, MN, NB, NH, NC, OH, OR, VA, WA, WS, WY
      • Others do biennial budget/biennial session: MT, NV, ND, TX
      • Why is that important? DISCUSS
    • Composition of Legislature – STORY – Lived in California – majority were Dems, super-majority, VERY diverse ethnically and gender, but very liberal – Visited Idaho –went to capitol and saw picture – talk about white bread!! Male and WHITE. Now live
      in Utah – fairly white bread 😉

      • Political spectrum
      • Gender
      • Ethnicity/culture/religion
      • Profession – lots of lawyers? Farmers? Teachers? Union workers?
      • Why is that important? DISCUSS




Remember the “who” – these are just people! They are NOT more important than you!

  • Where is the capitol building?
    • Go take a tour if you can!
  • Do they have a local office?
    • Go visit!



  • Website
    • Who’s your representative?
    • Calendar
    • Current session information
    • Code = laws
    • Budget
    • Bills
    • Committees
    • The beloved “Search” key



  2. Start with your own
  3. Say hello! – visit, phone call, email, event – It’s like dating. Get to know them first. Asking them to lunch vs. sending an email. Don’t meet in person out of the blue.
  4. Any emails should say in the subject that you are their “constituent.”
  5. Delegate vs. Constituent, they will give first priority to a delegate. Pull your delegate into the fray. Find them by party online.
  6. Question: What if your legislator is already on board with CSE, for example?
    • Build the relationship anyway. You can meet others through them, and if you polarize the relationship they’ll probably stand more firmly against you. With a respectful relationship they may go from a hard no, to a soft no, or vice versa.
  7. GREAT time to contact is in between sessions.HAVE ANY OF YOU CONTACTED YOUR REPRESENTATIVES?
  8. Use the weight of your organization, it’s long lasting. Organization is a voice and community. It’s your best option to get results.
  9. Key strategy is to look bigger than just yourself. “Participant of FWI” or “Member of FWI” or “I’m with FWI.” COALITIONS work great. If you have an email listing the many groups in your coalition that agree and signed it, it will have a huge impact! STORY – EMPOWERED FAMILIES COALITIONFUNNY STORY – EAGLE FORUM MADE UP ORGANIZATIONS
  10. Give a reason to have a meeting, such as a screening, or delegates involved, etc.
  11. Texting is great, but don’t text as your first point of contact.
  12. Be persistent, but not annoying. Make good contact.
  13. Add them to your social media (legislators), on FB especially. Comment/like things, retweet something so your name gets familiar to them.
  14. If you make first direct contact and don’t hear back within a week, try again, or try another method (text, FB, call, email).
  15. Send a thank you with a reminder of any commitments
  16. Committee members – Check the members listed and contact the ones you feel are from conservative areas (Utah county, etc.).
    • You can get a group and go talk with the committee members.
    • Remember they are human too! Be nice!!! Be positive, share reasons, thank them for voting for past legislation that you appreciate.



Easy as 1-2-3

1 – Educate

2 – Speak Up

3 – Share

  1. EDUCATE – How to find a bill – Go to website, click on “Bills”
    • By name, subject
    • By number (go to tracking, go to the bottom)
    • Learning about a bill: Click on a bill number or name
    • Number and name
    • Sponsors (Rep Brian King – CSE)
    • Bill text
    • Information – what’s happened, where it is
    • Sections affected
    • Tracking – click on “Bills” and “Tracking Service”
    • Status, etc.
    • Bills Agendas – committee hearings (look at the bottom of your tracking service and it will tell you what’s coming up)
    • Committees – go to website, click on “Committees”, pick a subject. Or you can go to a bill, go to the right side, click on committee name
    • Look at constitution of committee, esp. chair (Down Syndrome Abortion bill – Senator pressured guy next to him – got out of committee)
    • Look at time/date – subject to change
    • Look at where it is on the agenda
    • Look at party affiliations to targetBEST place to kill a bill!  In committee – CSE committee hearing, all came dressed in red or even better, sponsor – Rep. Dr. Ward – expand contraception educationFloor readings – not too late!
    • Targeted approach (contact either the ones REALLY for it or those REALLY against it)
    • Emailing legislators – click on “Legislators”, use the search box, go to their page to get all their info
      1. Subject line –
      2. CONSITUENT – if you live in their district
      3. List bill number and name
      4. List position in caps – if it aligns with them
      5. Make it SHORT – put your position in first line
      6. Try to not be too emotional
      7. Do NOT make it personal against the legislator
      8. Keep calm
      9. STORIES are powerful
      10. Be accurate – do not exaggerate
      11. Bullet points highly effective
      12. Text messages
      13. See above – make it SHORT
      14. Say thank you!
      15. Timing is everything
    • Phone calling
      1. Usually save for your own reps
      2. They’re BUSY – use this frugally
  3. SHARE – spread the word!
    • Emails/cottage meetings, phone calls (Sharon Slater’s path began with an email)
    • Social Media – Senator Weiler pushing Sex Change Bill – backfired on him!
    • Use “alerts” sparingly – audiences tire (WHAT DO YOU THINK IS A GOOD BALANCE?)
    • Visit the social media pages of those you’re trying to reach and use comments (LEHI LINK – SENATOR ANDEREGG)
    • Weekly summary (Connor – Legislative Week)
    • FB live videos (UN – CSW)
    • Warnings – don’t go cuckoo! (the sky is falling – again!)
    • Inspiration – appeal to values – STORIES – tug at the heartstrings! (DOWN SYNDROME YOUNG WOMAN – I DESERVE TO LIVE . . . AND I LOVE ALL OF YOU!)


Bills originate in the House (called a House Bill or HB) or the Senate (called a Senate Bill or SB) with a sponsor (the legislator who is proposing the bill).  First, they are “read” on the floor – introduced to the body.  Then they are usually assigned to a committee.  If it gets passed in the committee, it goes to the “floor”.  For a House Bill, it is “read” or presented to the House – 2nd and 3rd readings (often combined in the House) and then voted on.  If it passes out of the House, it goes to the Senate.  They introduce it (1st reading) and then may assign to a committee and the process continues.  If it starts in the Senate, it goes in reverse order.  If there have been changes by the second body, it goes back to the first to see if they agree (concur).  If they don’t, a committee is formed from both bodies to see if they can work it out.  If they do and both bodies concur, it’s good to go. If not, it’s dead.  Once bills pass both Senate and House, they go to the Governor for signing (or vetoing).

    • What is the library? – A collection of legislation – from family-friendly states or drafted by attorneys/policy analysts
    • Who is doing this? – FWI with other PCHC partners
    • Where can I find it? – Currently housed in a Google Drive – eventually will be on the FWI website – may be password protected
  2. WHAT’S IN IT?
    • Legislation/policy info on following topics:
      • Sex education (including Comprehensive Sexuality Education)
      • Abortion
      • Parental rights
      • Gender issues
      • Pornography and obscenity laws
    • Sample legislation from existing state laws
    • Model legislation – drafted without reference to a particular state
    • Policy information
    • Look up the area of law you are interested in pursuing – For Ex. Sex Ed Curriculum
    • Review model laws & state samples – compare to your own
    • Discuss with your group to see what types of legislation you want to consider
    • Either take to a potential legislative sponsor or take to party leaders to pursue
    • Revise as desired – also can be submitted to your legislative attorney as a starting point
    • Feel free to contact our allies in the state who has adopted it – also can review their legislative history for added support


Sexual Education Opt-in Laws
Utah Code 53G-10-402 Required parental consent for sex education instruction
Summary: A school must obtain written consent from parents before providing sex education to students.  If a parent chooses not to have their child participate in sex education, the parent then takes responsibility for the child’s instruction in cooperation with the teacher or school, and the school shall either waive the requirement or provide a reasonable alternative to the requirement.  There is no penalization if parents opt their student out of sex education.

Indiana Public Law 154 (Senate Enrolled Act 65, 2018)
Summary: Human sexuality instructional materials shall be available for inspection by the parent of a student.  Before a student is given instruction on human sexuality, parents must receive a written request for consent.  This request must also provide a summary of the content and nature of the instruction, inform parents of their right to review and inspect all related instruction materials, and request that parents provide their consent or decline instruction.  If instruction is declined, the school shall provide the student with alternate academic instruction during the time human sexuality instruction would have otherwise been given.  Human sexuality instruction may only be provided if the parent give consent or if the parent fails to respond after two notifications from the school.  Parents may opt their students out at any time.

Related information:
Life Site “New Law Empowers Parents to Veto Inappropriate Sex Ed”
Sample non-consent form provided by Liberty Counsel to parents


Resolution Passed by Republican National Committee – July 20, 2018
Summary: Schools shall disclose content of human sexuality instruction to parents and only provide such instruction after receiving written consent from parents.  State legislatures to acknowledge the rights of parents to direct their children’s education, care, and upbringing, including the right to protect them from content they find unsuitable.





WHEREAS, parents are a child’s first and foremost educators, and have primary responsibility for the education of their children. Parents have a right to direct their children’s education, care, and upbringing; (1)


 WHEREAS, education is much more than schooling. Education is the whole range of activities by which families and communities transmit to a younger generation, not just knowledge and skills, but ethical and behavioral norms and traditions. It is the handing over of a cultural identity; (2)


 WHEREAS, American education has, for the last several decades, been the focus of constant controversy, as centralizing forces from outside the family and community have sought to remake education in order to remake America. This has done immense damage; (3)


WHEREAS, school administrators routinely ask parents for their prior written permission for students to participate in various school-related instruction and activities, including, but not limited to: field trips, sports, and distribution of medicine;


WHEREAS, parents and their students should be afforded the same respect with regard to the increasingly sensitive and controversial nature of human sexuality instruction;


WHEREAS, much of the content in human sexuality instruction centers on contentious and sensitive issues, including but not limited to: abortion, birth control, sexual activity, sexual orientation, transgenderism, and/or gender identity;


 WHEREAS, the content often includes a personal analysis or survey that reflects or influences the student’s opinions on sensitive topics such as religious beliefs and practices, sexual orientation, and/or sexual activity;


 WHEREAS, most states grant an obscenity exemption that allows content that would otherwise be deemed harmful to minors to be disseminated for educational purposes, creating the potential for inappropriate content to be included within human sexuality instruction;


WHEREAS, such information, content, or ideology is most appropriately placed within the discretion of the parents or guardians;


 WHEREAS, the current opt-out paradigm assumes parental consent to student participation, allowing schools to automatically enroll students in potentially explicit, sensitive, and/or controversial human sexuality instruction without prior written permission;


WHEREAS, human sexuality instruction frequently places the wishes and concerns of the parents and/or guardians at odds with those of the school district; and


 WHEREAS, the wishes and concerns of the parents and/or guardians are preeminent to those of the School District and should be acknowledged by simply affording parents and/or guardians the right to grant permission for such instruction; therefore 


RESOLVED, that public schools must disclose the content contained within human sexuality instruction to the parents and/or guardians of all unemancipated students and shall only enroll those students whose parents and/or guardians provide prior written permission to opt their student into human sexuality instruction;


RESOLVED, that the default shall be that no human sexuality instruction shall be provided to any student not yet emancipated without prior written consent from their parent and/or guardian, making an opt-out default an insufficient protection for either the safety of the student or the rights of the parent;


 RESOLVED, that all state legislatures are encouraged to enact legislation that implements these notices and safeguards to protect students from exposure to potentially inappropriate and salacious content and to acknowledge the right of the parents and/or guardians to direct their children’s education, care, and upbringing, including their right to protect them from exposure to content they find unsuitable.



1 Platform of the Republican Party, Issued by the Republican National Committee, page 33 (2016, Cleveland, Ohio).

2 Id.