Game 3, Thunder vs. Rockets, last quarter – the Thunder had been up the entire game, but in the final minutes the Rockets gained traction and Oklahoma fans found themselves on the edge of their seats. Former Oklahoma bearded wonder, James Harden, begins to repeatedly foul Thunder player Roberson. Roberson continually misses almost every free throw shot and the ball goes back to the Rockets – ultimately winning the game for Houston.

I don’t know a lot about basketball, but I could see that Houston was using the rules of the game to their advantage. Harden creatively used a rule to his advantage that is meant to equalize teams in the occurrence of an unfair or unsportsmanlike play — even though he was the transgressor.

Two things are at play in this scenario:

  • Intimate knowledge of the rules of the game
  • An understanding of the opponent’s weaknesses

There is a lot we advocates can learn from this. (S)he who knows the rules, has the power. Having a firm grasp on the process of legislation and the rules that govern the House and Senate is a key to success. Proficiency in how the legislature works differentiates the advocates who come to play and those who come to win. Not everyone needs to be an expert. People showing up and speaking to legislators, calling their offices, writing letters and sending emails are critical for creating a wave of support around your cause. However, to see a campaign through to the end you must have someone who can strategize. The only way to strategize effectively is to know the rules.

The House and Senate Rules are listed on the state website and updated every year. To provide a better grasp of the legislative process, we’ve created a Legislative Handbook and Advocates Guide. Don’t hesitate to call us if you have questions or suggestions on how we can make these guides more accessible and user-friendly.

Good luck on your advocacy efforts! As always, contact me with questions or if you are interested in joining me at the Captiol! (405-236-5437 Ext 104, or


me2Lani Habrock is the director of KIDS COUNT at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. As a former contender for the State House of Representatives she believes legislative advocacy is an important work we must all take responsibility for in order to create positive change for all children in our state on a population-wide level.

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