|Creating a Law in New York
Requires specific steps. In short, a bill must first go
through the Senate, then the Assembly, then to the Governor to be
signed into law. Here are the specifics:
- The bill needs to be sponsored by a Senator and
an Assemblyperson. It is then assigned bill numbers in the Senate (e.g.
S.12345) and Assembly (e.g. A.54321).
- The bill is introduced in the Senate.
- The bill is generally the referred to the
appropriate Senate committee (e.g. Higher Education, Insurance, etc.)
for approval. Many bills do not get through this point (they “die in
committee”). Once approved, the bill goes to the floor of the Senate for
possible debate and a vote.
- The bill is voted on and passed by majority vote
in the Senate.
- The bill is introduced in the Assembly.
- The bill is referred to the appropriate Assembly
committee. Once approved, the bill goes to the floor of the Assembly
for possible debate and a vote.
- The bill is voted on and passed by majority vote
in the Assembly.
- The bill goes to the Governor, who must sign it
for it to become law.
|Things you can do:
|1. Write a letter to your local
Assemblyperson and Senator (visit www.vote-smart.org), in your own
words. Personalize the letter with your own experience and perspective
(e.g. practitioner, student, etc.), and follow the tips stated below.
Send a copy of your letter to the ASNY office.
|It is estimated that fewer than 10
percent of voters will ever write to elected officials. Yet contacting
your elected officials with a letter is an important part of making a
difference. They work for you. They theoretically want to hear our
views, and they definitely can’t afford to ignore them. It’s our
responsibility to express those views.
Tips for your letter:
Be brief, address only one issue at a time…say why
the issue or legislation matters to you; state your reasons for opposing
or supporting a particular bill. If you have particular expertise, then
say what it is. Be positive and constructive; give compliments if they
are sincere. Send a copy to your local newspaper to help build support
for the issue. Use the appropriate title of the elected official… After
you have written once, then keep up the contact and periodically
communicate that you are following closely what happens; thank the
official and state that you will be following up with a phone call in a
week to receive a response, and then do so. As effective as one letter
is, twenty-five on the same issue are even better.
|From a book we highly recommend,
the Soul of America (formerly The Healing of America),
|2. Ask your patients (students: your clinic
patients) to write a letter of their own. Send them to local
representatives, and ASNY.
3. Visit with your local representatives.Here is
another fine excerpt from Healing the Soul of America:
Visiting elected officials is an important part of
promoting our points of view. A citizen visiting his or her elected
officials is visibly identifying himself or herself as a constituent or
voter. Because the official is focusing on you as an individual and as a
voter, the visit will have a great impact. One of the important ways of
effecting change with elected officials is by building a strong
relationship. Developing strong relationships with them is an important
part of exercising our power in a democracy. It is especially important
to develop relationships with staffs of elected officials. Elected
officials and their staffs are eager to get information that they can
use in speeches and when working with constituents. Tips for your visit:
- Make an appointment by calling your elected
- Indicate the issues you want to discuss.
- Study the issues to be covered in the visit. Keep
the discussion to one or perhaps two issues.
- Keep the atmosphere friendly and open. You are
there to exchange ideas; under no circumstances should you become angry.
- Limit the time of the meeting. Don’t let the
- If you don’t know the answer to a question the
official asks you, just say so and explain that you’ll get the
information. Make sure you follow through.
- Leave some information with the elected official
on the issue. This will help him or her remember you visit.
- Follow your visit with a thank you note.
Remember-your main objective is to establish continuing dialogue with
your elected officials.
|4. Contribute generously to ASNY’s Legislative
Action Fund. A large percentage of ASNY’s annual budget goes to
addressing legislative issues that affect our profession. These expenses
include retaining a lobbyist in Albany, lobbying trips to Albany by the
Law & Legislation committee, mailings, maintaining a web site, and
more. ASNY is the leading voice for acupuncture in New York, effectively
representing the concerns of acupuncturists and their patients. With
the exception of our part-time office staff, we are we a volunteer
organization, and rely on the support of our members to represent them.
Please make an investment in the future of your profession and career by
making a donation of any amount to the fund. You can even call in your
donation with a credit card. Consider at least making a donation of an
amount equal to one patient visit. It will surely be money well spent.
|To Find Your Elected Officials
http://www.vote-smart.org(the best all-around
citizen activism site; unbiased & highly recommended)