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Legislative Process Demystified

81 activists descend on AZ statehouse for animals

The Humane Society of the United States

by Kari Nienstedt

Animal advocates from across Arizona met at the state capitol late last month for Arizona’s Humane Lobby Day to speak out in favor of animal protection legislation. With 81 attendees, 24 of Arizona’s 30 districts were represented.

For many people, this was their first time visiting the state capitol and meeting with their legislators’ offices, and the experience was eye-opening. One attendee, Amber Pennington , was thrilled with the experience and said, “Thank you so much for demystifying the process for us!!  I think I'll be much more likely to call my representatives now that I know the lay of the land.”

The morning was spent listening to speakers, learning about the legislative system, and discussing current bills that affect animals. I gave an overview of the legislative process and the structure of the state legislature. Mary Peralta, staff assistant to Minority Leader David Lujan, gave us some great information on the process from an insider’s point of view. 

Mary remarked,” What a great turnout! I have never seen such a large group of citizen lobbyists gathered on a single day.”

Nancy Young Wright, who received one of the 2009 Humane Legislator of the Year awards, emphasized that we may never know just how big of an impact our correspondence with legislators may have. Stephanie Nichols Young, from Animal Defense League of Arizona, talked about the importance of fighting bad bills, along with supporting good bills. Christine Dorchak, from Grey2K USA, discussed the current status of greyhound racing in Arizona and across the country. 

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