Preservation Action follows and analyses all historic preservation legislation in our weekly Legislative Update, and we annually refocus our actions to our member’s greatest priorities. The briefings provided for National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week, an annual day of lobbying, are also a good place for basic information on the status of preservation legislation. Contact our offices anytime with questions and news from the field.

How a Bill Becomes a Law and When Grassroots Advocates can Best Influence a Member’s Vote

This chart shows the typical path a bill takes to become law. Bills are introduced by members of the House or Senate, and sometimes at the request of the Executive Branch.

✪ = Effective lobbying opportunities for grassroots preservation advocates. Go to the Action Center for guidance.

House of Representatives
Assigned to Committee

Hearings, Mark-Up
Bill Reported✪

Full Committee
Mark-up, Bill Reported✪

Rules Committee
Schedule for Floor Action

House Floor
Debate, Vote✪

Assigned to Committee

Hearings, Mark-Up
Bill Reported✪

Full Committee
Mark-Up, Bill Reported✪

Senate Floor
Debate, Vote✪

Preservation Action (PA) + Network at Work
← ← Preservation Action’s board establishes annual legislative priorities and strategies

← ← Calls to Lobbying Coordinators, PA gives testimony before Congress

← ← Lobbying Coordinators contact citizen lobbyists/Congress

← ← Network in action for calls, letters, and visits to members of Congress

← ← PA targets key votes and contacts Congressional members

If the House and Senate pass the same bill, it goes to the President for signature or veto

If the bills differ, a House/Senate conference committee resolves the differences in a conference report which both bodies must approve

President signs the bill into law

President vetoes the bill
Support from 2/3 of both House and Senate required to override the veto and pass the bill into law

Additional Resources

Thomas by the Library on Congress →

In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson, legislative information from the Library of Congress. Thomas was launched in January of 1995, at the inception of the 104th Congress. The leadership of the 104th Congress directed the Library of Congress to make federal legislative information freely available to the public. Since that time Thomas has expanded the scope of its offerings to include the features and content listed below.

  • Searching on the name of an individual member of Congress to see how he or she has voted on legislation of interest, and to see what he or she has introduced or cosponsored.
  • Making sure we’re not missing something. There are a number of bills related to specific states or types of resources introduced throughout the session. Without enrolling in legislation-watch software, you can check these bill as well just by typing “historic preservation” into the keyword field.
Historic Preservation Learning Portal →

Maintained by the National Park Service, the Historic Preservation Learning Portal, brings together an expansive collection of information about the federal government’s role in historic preservation throughout many federal agencies.

Advisory Council for Historic Preservation →

The President’s Advisory Council for Historic Preservation has a rich website full of information about grant funds for historic preservation nationwide, information about the Section 106 process, the role of the Advisory Council, and information about Preserve America.

Government Printing Office →

The Government Printing Office offers a surprising variety of resources available to the general public. The federal budget is published on the GPO’s website.