Find out who your Senator is and call them during normal business hours and tell them you want to schedule an appointment to talk about AB-44.
Meeting with your legislator in person can be a powerful way to communicate the reasons why you support the fur ban and persuade them to do so as well. It’s best if you bring multiple people with you who also live in that legislator’s district.
Step 1: Reach Out to Request a Meeting
This should be done over the phone. Find out who your Senator is and call them during normal business hours and tell their aide you want to schedule an appointment to talk about a piece of legislation. You should do this before August 27th. You may not get to meet with a Senator, and may have to meet with a staff member instead, which is okay. You may be asked the following questions:
Name of your organization (you can put Compassionate Cities if you don’t currently belong to an official organization)
Your Name, Address, Zip Code, Phone Number
Topic/Purpose of your meeting (you can put “AB 44: California Fur Ban”)
Issue to be discussed (position of attendees): (you can put “Support for AB 44”)
Attendees (name, title, who they represent if they are representing an organization
Step 2: Prepare for the Meeting
Compassionate Bay has a number of materials on the fur ban that you can present to your legislators, and you can leave those materials with them after the meeting.
Be prepared to share your story
Legislators will likely want to hear your background and why you care about this issue. Think about a compelling story you can tell that connects your life to the fur ban.
You should read those materials and become be familiar with:
What AB 44 is
What are common arguments against it and how to address those arguments
What does your legislator generally care about (the environment, etc.) and whether they have voted for or against similar legislation in the past (see this database on information we currently have on each assembly member and their scores regarding issue categories)
Step 3: The Meeting
Here is a general outline for what you can expect and how to proceed once you are in a meeting with your legislator or their office staff.
Introduce yourselves. If your group is on the larger side (4+ people), consider having just one person introduce the group. Mention your individual names and backgrounds, then identify yourselves as part of Compassionate Bay or Compassionate Cities.
Legislators and their staff are people, too. They connect with individuals and stories, so use this opportunity to give a brief glimpse (5-10 seconds per person) into the personalities of your group. If there are more than 4 people, do not introduce each person. Try to focus on ways that can help the group personally relate to the legislator — people are naturally drawn to those who are similar to themselves.
Optional: Ask the legislator if they are familiar with the legislation and what they know.
Begin to describe the importance of the fur ban legislation. Aim to speak for 5-10 minutes.
One effective approach is to begin with a personal story. Talk about an animal who is important in your life and how much they mean to you. Then connect this story to the fur ban bill, AB 44. Hand your Yes on AB 44 and/or Compassionate Bay Fur Industry Fact Sheet materials to the legislator and use them to describe the inherent cruelty of the industry is and how the bill addresses it.
For more advanced advocacy, anticipate and address potential concerns or counterarguments the legislator may have with the fur ban. The best way to address counterarguments is to account for specific circumstances of the community (ex: local businesses that may sell fur) and/or personal interests of the legislator (ex: the environment).
After you describe the fur ban bill, ask if they have questions or comments.
If they ask you questions, answer only if you are confident in your response and can cite a reputable source. If you cannot answer a question, simply say “that is a good question and we will get back to you on that.”
Write down all concerns the legislator has, positive or negative, and email them to email@example.com. If necessary, the organizers will reply with responses to any questions the legislator had on the fur ban.
To conclude the meeting, make a “hard ask” — a specific and firm commitment to some sort of action. The exact ask will depend on the legislator and their previous leanings. In general, you should ask the legislator to publicly support the fur ban.
After the meeting, be sure to thank them with a follow-up email, ideally within 24 hours. If the legislator had questions that should be answered, let Compassionate Bay know immediately after your meeting and they will help you respond to them.
It is best to visit legislative offices as a group. Anywhere between 3 to 6 people is good.
Consider having 1-2 spokespeople. The meeting should be as cohesive as possible, and having multiple people speak can be confusing. Those without speaking roles are valuable in showing popular support for the bill.
Alternatively, you can structure your presentation so multiple individuals share a specific story or describe an impact of the bill.
Do your best to avoid saying anything that is factually inaccurate. Remember, the most powerful thing you can do is share your passion for the bill.
Lobbying materials to bring with you can be found at dxe.io/lobby. Also, be sure to bring along a copy of the Intercept article about the college and high school students who were paid to speak and call against the fur ban.