15-Minute Advocate: New Information Tools for the 2014 Legislative Session

Find out how to stay up-to-date with legislative happenings this session.
(Published Feb 24, 2014)

Although the calendar makes the 2014 session appear short and sweet, it is sure to be a very busy session potentially filled with legislative proposals that could affect cities. The League’s intergovernmental relations (IGR) staff will again rely on your expertise as a city official or staff member to help inform our lobbying activity on behalf of cities at the Capitol this year. Contacting your legislators can have an impact on discussions and decisions at the Capitol. Be sure to stay informed on what is happening at the Capitol and how you can get involved!

1. Get Informed
The 15-Minute Advocate is a timely tool for city officials who wish to advocate on behalf of their communities. During the legislative session, the 15-Minute Advocate provides basic, key information on an issue. Articles are written when pressing issues warrant particular messages or action by our members.

Members will be encouraged to personalize and localize the impacts of an issue on their residents and city, and then to take a specific action. Regardless of the issue, the goal is to provide information that members can read, consider, and take action on in 15 minutes or less.

2. Take Action
It is not too late to make sure that your legislator and their staff know that you are a local resource that is interested in what happens at the Capitol. Simply letting your legislators know that you are with the city of ____________ could come in handy later when they may want to ask for your perspective on an idea for legislation (or when you want to contact them with a more specific request). Take a minute to call (yes, call) or email your state senator and representative to introduce (or reintroduce) yourself and your city, and to offer yourself as a resource on local issues. Be sure to provide legislative staff with your name, phone number, and email address for convenient correspondence.

You probably share stories about your city every day as you explain issues and changes to your residents. Getting to know your legislator is no different. Explain the ways in which their decisions in St. Paul will affect your community.

3. Stay Involved
Now that you’ve taken the first steps and reconnected with your legislators, consider these other tools to help you stay up-to-date on the issues that impact your city:

  • Capitol Updates. This is a new tool from the League in which you can get the latest updates from the Capitol during the state legislative session. Emails will be sent up to once a day (Tuesday-Friday) between weekly issues of the Cities Bulletin e-newsletter.
    Sign up for Capitol Updates
  • Twitter. Check it for updates from the League’s intergovernmental relations (IGR) staff, and also be sure to follow #lmcleg.
    Access IGR staff Twitter handles
  • Cities Bulletin. Receive legislative articles via email every Monday during the legislative session (and bi-weekly in the interim) when you sign up for this free e-newsletter.
    Sign up for Cities Bulletin
  • Member forums/listservs. Sign up to find out about information on topics like finance development, telecommunications, elections, housing, and general legislative information.
    Sign up for IGR member forums/listservs
  • Come to the Capitol. Attend the League’s annual Joint Legislative Conference on Feb. 27 to join hundreds of other local officials for issue briefings in the morning, followed by a visit to the Capitol to meet with your legislators. Online registration is now closed, but onsite registration is available.
    Read more about the Joint Legislative Conference
  • Action alerts. You may receive emails from League staff throughout the session if your legislator serves on a key committee for legislation important to cities.
  • Webinars. Watch live webinars (or recorded ones on our website) after key state budget forecasts are released. The next one, Budget Forecast & Legislative Check-in, will be presented live on March 7.
    Register for the March 7 webinar
  • IGR staff. They can help answer questions about a specific issue area, visiting the Capitol, or how to contact your legislator.
    Access IGR staff contact information
  • Legislature website. Check out the Minnesota Legislature's home page to familiarize yourself with resources at your fingertips.
    Access the Minnesota Legislature website
  • Videos. We periodically post helpful videos on our website. Watch our videos on tips for getting around the Capitol, and on the need for street improvement districts for cities.

You are your city’s best advocate. Let your legislators know it by taking one step this legislative session to build that relationship with them.

Read the current issue of the Cities Bulletin

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