Lobbying the State Legislature

The Sierra Club maintains a presence in the Tennessee State Legislature. Members communicate regularly with legislators. The Tennessee Chapter's Conservation Director Scott Banbury actively lobbies legislators. Scott keeps members up to date about key legislation. Sign up for Scott's Legislation Alerts:  Get Legislative Updates. Here are current bills Scott is monitoring: Scott's Current Bills. Contact Scott: smbanbury@gmail.com or 901-619-8567.

Conservation Education Day

On Conservation Education Day, Sierra Club members meet with legislators in Nashville . Learn more here:
Conservation Education Day

Lobbying Guidance

Ten Basic Tips for the Occasional Lobbyist
Tips For In-Person Visits

Past Tennessee Legislative Reports

2016    2017    2018    2019    2020    2022     2023   

Contact the Tennessee Chapter Legislative Committee with your concerns:

David Bordenkircher, Legislative Committee Chair  dabordenkircher@mindspring.com
Bill Moll, Chapter Conservation Chair  whmoll@aol.com
Scott Banbury, Conservation Director  smbanbury@gmail.com

Contacting Your State Legislator

1. Personal visits, letters, phone calls, emails are all ways to contact your legislator in order of preference. 

2. If you call, you may be asked whether you are a constituent (it is better if you are, but OK if you are not). Be sure to know the bill number you are calling about, e.g., HB 0000 or SB0000, depending on whether your legislator is in the State Senate or the House.

3. You may be asked to give your reasons for supporting or opposing a bill. Whoever answers the phone will not be interested in a long-winded explanation. Be prepared and keep it simple.

4. Be accurate. Hearsay, emotion, and opinion based on personal preference are less effective than facts and reason.

5. Be respectful. Address and refer to the legislator as Senator Blank or Representative Blank or just “Senator” or “Representative” unless you are personal friends.

6. Always be courteous, even if you are feeling strongly on the inside. Keep your emotions and angry language in check. You gain nothing by being insulting, except perhaps a permanent enemy.

The Personal Visit

1. Establish a personal relationship if possible. Relationships are extremely important in the legislature and your legislator needs to know whether he/she can trust you.

2. Be sure to let him/her know if you are a constituent. Thank him/her for past good votes and honors received from organizations that you value.

3. Make an appointment ahead of time if possible. If you drop in, there is no guarantee you will get to see him/her. Do not hesitate to meet with staffers if the legislator is unavailable. Secretaries and interns are also deserving of your friendly greetings and inquiries.

4. Keep your visit short and low key, no threats, harsh language, insults about anyone. Just the facts and reason.

5. Come with an information sheet. They keep these and look at them. Phone numbers and references to information sources can be included.

6. Silence your cell phone.

7. Dress neatly and professionally.

8. No matter what they say, thank them for the opportunity to meet with them.