How to Pass a Local/State Resolution

Although local and state resolutions cannot ultimately grant adoptees citizenship, they are part of a larger national campaign towards an Adoptee Citizenship Act. Local and state resolutions demonstrate support for national Congress to address the issue of adoptee citizenship and are influential to Representatives and Senators determining whether to co-sponsor or support a bill. Resolutions have already been passed in multiple states such as California, Hawaii, Illinois, Georgia, and Kentucky, as well as major cities such as Nashville, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. This guide will help you pass a resolution in your area.

Step 1: Know Your Community
• Understand your local administration and its decision-making processes.
• Get informed about which city council members or state legislators are most likely to support, if not sponsor, the resolution. Figure out what people or groups have leverage over elected officials who may not initially lend support for the resolution.
–For city, reach out to the Mayor’s Office and city council.
–For state, reach out to the Governor’s Office and state legislature members.

Step 2: Build A Coalition
• Build a coalition of organizations and activists that is balanced and representative of the diversity in your community. See if there is a local adoptee group. Convene a coalition meeting and establish roles and responsibilities for leadership.

Step 3: Host An Organization Meeting
• Draft a resolution that reflects the priorities of the coalition. See Illinois State House Joint Resolution 24 in the Appendix.
• You may want to involve sympathetic city council members, state legislators, Governor’s office, or Mayor’s Office in the drafting process.

Step 4: Build Public Awareness
• Start a letter-writing campaign (see sample letter), draft an op-ed piece in the local newspaper, engage in a public petition drive, set-up information tables in public places, or organize “teach-ins” and forums.

• See “How to Create an Online Petition for State or City Resolution” in the Local Campaign Toolkit.
• See “The Basics of Petition Canvassing” in the National Toolkit for how to collect in-person petition signatures.
See “Social Media Posting Guide: Supporting Bills in Congress” in the National Toolkit. It can be easily adapted for supporting resolutions.

Step 5: Implement a Strategy for Passing
• Schedule informal meeting(s) with your local council members or state legislators. Bring copies of the 2019 ACA One Page Summary, H.R. 2731, and S. 1554 (found in the Appendix) for council member/legislator. Present evidence of public support, such as petition signatures.
• Identify most persuasive council member(s) or legislator(s) to introduce the resolution. Ask influential people or groups to call or visit members who need to be moved.
• Identify key people to testify in support of the resolution at the meeting where the resolution will be debated.
• Remember to keep the media informed about your activities, about members’ votes, and certainly about your success!