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We Need Your Voice

Is there an injustice that’s bothering you? Is there a safety issue in your community that needs to be addressed? Do you have an idea for improving the standard of living of Oregonians? Your Oregon Legislature works to create laws that improve the lives of the people around you. It needs your ideas, input, and muscle to make the right decisions.

Can you help? Getting involved is easier than you might think.

See the Civics Toolkit for an overview of the way Oregon’s democracy works.

What Laws Are the Legislature Considering?

Oftentimes, an issue in your community is one that the government is aware of and is wrestling with. The first step in your journey is to research the current laws on the topic, and see if a bill is currently in the works to address the issue.

Track bills.

Attending a Hearing or Watching Online

Public hearings of legislative committees are held to take testimony concerning proposed laws. Watching lawmaking in progress keeps you informed, helps you to understand the process, and gives you ideas about how to better inform and influence your legislators. Attend public hearings at the Capitol, or watch them live online.

Search the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS) website for a current schedule of committee meetings and hearings.

Testifying

Citizens of Oregon are invited to testify at public hearings. If you’ve been following a bill, make sure the voice of your community is heard. You can give testimoney in person or in writing. You may also submit exhibits to advance your cause.

Get advice about presenting successful testimony.

Citizen Lobbying

Lobbying is sometimes exactly what it sounds like, someone waiting in the lobby to inform or  influence a legislator about an issue or a proposed bill.

Read more about professional lobbyists.

Citizens can also lobby their legislator. You can wait outside a committee meeting or the full floor session and try to squeeze some time out of your representatives. Most legislators, though, have specific times when they meet with constituents — both at the Capitol and in their district, your neighborhood or town where you live.

Go to your legislator’s webpage for a list of ways you can speak up. Just add your address into the search bar to find your legislator and get started! 

Political Action Committees

Political Action Committees (PACs) allow individuals or groups of individuals to collect money and make expenditures to support or oppose a candidate, law, ballot, measure, or political party. They’re the muscle part of influencing legislation.

Support a PAC by joining one, volunteering for one, or making a contribution. You can also create your own PAC!

Find a political action committee.

Form a political action committee.

What if You Think the Legislature Isn’t Moving Fast Enough or Is Going in the Wrong Direction?

Oregon has long been a stalwart for direct citizen action. In 1890, laws were passed allowing citizens to bring lawmaking directly to the people through referendums and ballot initiatives. Our system of approving or denying laws through popular vote has been copied by dozens of states, and is still in practice today.

Find out more about lawmaking through initiatives and referendums.

Make or change a state law.

Picture of a sign that reads VOTE Change the World Picture of a legislative session Picture of people waiting in a room Picture of people testifying Picture of politicians Picture of a button that reads Vote Picture of picture of a legislative session

Who Represents Me in Oregon?

Referendums, Initiatives, and Referrals

​Confused? Read about the differences in the civics toolkit.

Did You Know?

In 1916, Oregon enacted prohibition of liquor, three years before the national ban.