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With the legislative session in full swing, Democracy North Carolina is holding the line on regressive policies.

This year we are prepared to fight attacks on:

  • Funding to Our Election Boards: Many County Boards of Elections face funding challenges that limit their ability to provide expansive early voting options and replace outdated voting equipment.
  • Access to the Ballot. We’ve seen efforts to shorten the absentee ballot acceptance window and require County Boards to implement signature matching on absentee ballots. Lawmakers should be expanding access to voting, not finding additional ways to discredit valid ballots.
  • North Carolina Voters. Legislation has been introduced in multiple legislative sessions to use unreliable information to target eligible voters and harass immigrant communities.

Legislative Advocacy Training

Legislators are making decisions on everything from healthcare to education and democracy — policies impacting our daily lives. Together, we can demand lawmakers strengthen our democracy, helping us turn public sentiment into public policy.

Get informed and engaged by watching our Legislative 101 & 201 trainings alongside Common Cause NC, North Carolina Black Alliance, and Emancipate NC. In these trainings, you’ll learn how to strategize with people across the state, advocate for strong voter freedoms, and build power for your community at the state legislature.

Check out our Legislative 101 and 201 training videos below! 

How does a bill become a law?

Every bill starts off as an idea. It can come from a citizen, a group of organized individuals, or a legislator advocating for change on behalf of their constituents. In order for a bill to be introduced, it must be sponsored by a legislator in the House or the Senate.

Ideally, a bill is strongest when there are already bill sponsors in both chambers. Many times, advocacy is needed in identifying sponsors to ensure a bill survives. 

At the beginning of each legislative session, each legislator gets a certain amount of “tokens” that represent the number of bills that they will not only introduce, but will be heard and prioritized during the session.

  • Once lawmakers have an idea in mind, they will work with the legislative drafting commission to write the bill and ensure it complies with current existing law.
  • The bill is then introduced in either the House or the Senate for a first reading. Every bill will undergo a first reading. The Speaker of the House or the Senate Pro Tempore will then assign a bill to a committee.
  • Committees can determine the success of the bill. While as many as 2,000 bills can be introduced in a legislative session–only a third make it to a floor vote. The committee chairperson may decide not to hear a bill, thus striking the bill.
  • If the committee decides to move the bill forward, it will go to the full body of either the House or the Senate for a second reading.
    If it passes with a majority vote, it will go to the opposite chamber, and the process repeats.
  • If both Chambers do not agree to pass the bill as it’s written, the bill is sent to a conference committee of members from both Chambers. The committee comes to an agreement, and sends the bill back to both chambers for approval.
  • If the bill passes both chambers with a majority vote, it will go to the Governor, who can veto, sign into law, or do neither with the bill. If the Governor doesn’t take action within 10 days of receiving the bill, the bill becomes law.
  • Some bills are not subject to action by the Governor, and in such cases, they go to the Secretary of State for filing.
  • If the Governor vetoes, the legislature has a chance to override, and pass the bill into law, with a â…— majority.

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