The Lawmaking Process in the PA General Assembly
Before contacting your representatives about a bill you are following, it's important to understand the steps and common roadblocks in the legislative process. Many times, your own representatives will not have the opportunity to vote for or against a bill because it is "stuck in committee," or because the Speaker of the House or President of the Senate will not bring it up for a vote.
There are at least four places where a gatekeeper, always a member of the majority party, can single-handedly stop the progress of a bill. There may be additional steps that extend the process. If the bill involves spending, it has to be considered by the Appropriations Committee in each chamber. If amendments are made, the bill has to return to its original committee to be reviewed again. Each additional step adds another opportunity for a single gatekeeper to block the bill. When this happens, you need to contact the gatekeeper in addition to your own representative.