At all levels of government, the legislative process outlines the steps it takes to move from an idea to a law. Understanding the process is critical to effectively influencing and shaping legislation. Most legislative processes provide many opportunities for all members of the public, including scientists and engineers, to engage, including: proposing new ideas to policymakers, offering public comment and expert testimony at meetings and committee hearings, and building coalitions in support of or in opposition to particular pieces of legislation. Legislative cycles can range from months to years, and turning an idea into a law can take multiple cycles. Knowing how your local government passes legislation will help you effectively time your engagement.