What should you wear to Legislative Day?
Dress professionally (not necessarily formally, but appropriately, to make a good impression); wear a medium or light blue jacket or shirt, if possible. Wear comfortable shoes and please visit the LLA tables in the rotunda to pick up your button.
Contacting A Legislator While at the Capitol
If you arrive in the morning and attend any committee meeting in session, there may be an opportunity to speak with one or more members in the hall or room before or following meetings. Members of the public are not allowed behind the railings in committee rooms in the House and Senate Chambers. All communication is handled by Sergeants-at-Arm who are stationed in the rooms.
If you see any members in the hall, you may approach them. Be sensitive to what they are doing and to their body language. Do not interrupt if they are engaged in a discussion with their colleagues or other people; but if you stand to the side, you may have an opportunity to engage them afterward. Introduce yourself and identify where you work.
Tell them you are present at the Legislature with LLA today and let them know we appreciate their ongoing support that will help libraries continue doing the best job possible for the citizens of Louisiana (or mention the specific group[s] you work with.) Legislators generally have a very hectic schedule so don’t expect a long conversation. Be prepared for a short and cordial conversation.
Smile! This is not the time to bend their ears with your pet peeves or problems. Tell them something good about your library – some successful program, usage is up—something to show success or relevance. If you have learned about a particular legislator’s own priorities or issues, whether from browsing his/her own website or from other means, you might be able to share how your library is working to address those needs or offer your assistance for the future.
You can mention the challenges you face in meeting some specific, serious needs; but if you have something more serious to discuss, ask them if there is a time later in the day when you could talk to them or how best to follow up at a later time. Emphasize your appreciation for their service in the legislature, and your desire to help improve your local town, university, school or whatever you represent for the betterment of Louisiana. Positive strokes work wonders; complaints and accusations do the opposite!
Contacting a Legislator during a General House or Senate Session
When the House and Senate are in a general session, you may quietly enter the Chamber and take a seat at the rear or along the side gallery or in the balcony. You may also ask one of the staff members on duty for a card on which you can write a short note to your representative or senator to let him/her know you are there. If you do that, stand at the rear so he/she can easily see you.** If there are several from your parish, only one note is necessary; just mention that a small group is there and would like to say “hello” if possible. Your representative may or may not respond, depending on what business is happening at that time; most will attempt to, if possible.
Are you not able to attend Legislative Day at the Capitol?
You can still help!
Not sure how to get to the state Capitol or where to go when you arrive?
CLICK HERE to view a map of downtown Baton Rouge and directions to the Capitol.
Don’t know who your representative or senator is? To find a link to that and more information about the legislature, visit the legislature’s home page. On the left side of the home page, select the “Who Are my Legislators?” tab. Or click on the How Do I? link on the left side bar for answers to that and other frequently asked questions.
How can you find out which committees are in session and what bills are under consideration on any given day? That’s easy! Go to the legislature’s home page and find the list of committees under Today’s Meetings. Click on each committee to see what bills are on the agenda.