Why Consumers Matter
Whenever anti-consumer legislation becomes law, it is nearly always due to the fact that the very consumers the new law impacts never weighed in during the legislative process. Similarly, when states change archaic wine-related laws and replace them with modern, consumer-friendly legislation, it is always a result of consumer input.
Often self-interested special interests are hoping that consumers don’t notice their power grabs that diminish consumer access to legal products like wine. They hope their anti-consumer bills can be pushed through under cover of darkness. Wine consumers who want to take advantage of the explosion of new products must make their voices heard.
Five Truths About Citizen Lobbying
1.Constituency Matters: Lawmakers always place more importance on the communications from people they represent. Know who your state senator and assemblyperson.
2. E-mail or Phone Calls Both Work: Whatever is most convenient for you is the truth. Both emails and phone calls will be recorded by your representative or their assistants and both will matter to them
3. Showing Up Is A Powerful Statement: If you can make it to your state capitol to speak directly with your representative or to testify on a bill about which you care, your impact will be far greater than any other type of communication.
4. Education is Key: Whether talking to friends or your representatives about issue that matter to you, be educated. Know the substance of the laws or legislation in question, know the sponsor of the legislation, know the key points you want to make.
5. Creating Change is Possible: A small group of dedicated citizens willing to engage in citizen lobbying and outreach can change the course of legislation or play a key role in pushing through legislation that might otherwise go nowhere.