Create a planning committee made up of various stakeholders who can help organize, recruit speakers and implement the state capitol hill day. The committee should create objectives for the event and set an agenda to meet these objectives. What key messages do you want to convey to the legislators and the public?
Pick a date. This may be hard to determine, given that state legislative schedules can vary. Pick a date when the legislature is in session and that is convenient for your attendees.
Reserve space at the capitol building. The location may depend on the type of event you are planning. For instance, if you are having a large rally, you may want to secure a location outside of the capitol building instead of indoors. However, if you plan to have a press conference with 50 to 60 attendees, securing the rotunda inside the capitol building may better suit your needs.
Set an Agenda
- Rally/Press Conference
- Consider 3 to 5 speakers, including a judge and treatment court graduate, along with any special guests. This portion should take no longer than one hour.
- Ensure that you have a podium and microphone for the speakers.
- Invite the press to the event. Visit our media section for tips on how to involve the press.
- Ensure that your speakers are able to speak to the press and leave time for interviews after the event.
- Establish a list of key legislators to meet with. You may also want to include the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house.
- Create talking points with your main objectives for the attendees in order for them to speak concisely to the legislators.
- Create a one-page document about treatment courts in your state, and include both state and national statistics. This document should be left with the legislators during meetings.
- Create a feedback form for attendees to tell you about the meetings they attended. This will help you follow up with any legislator that may have additional questions that could not be answered in the meetings. It will also help you track the meetings and ensure that your objectives were met.
One to two weeks prior to your event, meet with a representative and a senator to have resolutions read on the floor in honor of treatment courts during your event day. You will want to provide key statistics to the legislators on the accomplishments of treatment courts in your state. For example, the number of graduates, the money saved, the number of drug-free babies, etc.
Send out invitations. Invite all the treatment court teams and select treatment court graduates to participate in your event. Send invitations to all state legislators to your rally/press conference.
Consider having all attendees wear a button, a pin or the same color on the day of the event. This will help identify the attendees as well as show a cohesive group. You may want to identify a couple of people to handle press, dignitaries and speakers. Also, do not forget to have someone document the event with photos and/or video.
Collect all of the feedback forms from the attendees. Ensure that each attendee sends a thank you note to the legislators they met with.
Tell Us About It
Tell NADCP about your upcoming event so we can help get the word out through our social media pages. Also, share your news stories with us so we can highlight your great work. Send all information to Tonya Voelker, director of legislative affairs, at [email protected].