After Your Bill Is Filed
"How To Effectively Reach Lawmakers---
And Get Them To Listen!"
I would like to make suggestions to everyone wanting to pass the MAB (CBRS) in your state from experience. (No, I'm not a lawyer or politician). But I'm going on 5 years working on this bill in various States in honor of my daughter and also your child.
Like others who have passed the MAB before, I have learned many things the very hard way. I'm going to significantly cut your time down.
My suggestions here are not set in stone; they are lessons-learned to help you and others SAVE TIME. Let me explain, so you don't have to go the route I did.
If there is one hard-fast rule on what you are about to read, it is this:
DO NOT rely on politicians to pass your bill. It is up to you to move your Bill forward, not them!
Political formalities aside: it is up to YOU.
Here's where to start:
1. Focus on lawmakers that currently "surround" your Bill.
Blasting letters and emails to ALL of your lawmakers is nice; it makes you feel like you're doing something and, yes, you are.
But often your results can be discouraging, right? No one responding...
No one writing you back. A big black hole. Ever felt this way?
Lawmakers are busy. They deal with 3, 4, 5 committees, and upwards of 10-20 different bills, dozens of emails. Most are in their offices no more than 20 minutes at a time.
I know, I walked with a lot of them to the elevators just to speak to them and get my point across lobbying here in Florida.
>>THEY ARE BUSY PEOPLE.
Not every one is going to spend time acknowledging that nice MS Word letter you poured your heart out writing for 2 days! Deal with it. You are smart, and can outsmart them!
Tip: Focus efforts on lawmakers currently surrounding the bill!
Who is this?
a. This is the sponsor, co-sponsors -- ONLY!
Make sure they fully understand the issues. Just because they are a Sponsor or Co-Sponsor does NOT mean they fully understand the issue of stillbirth and the CBRS.
b. If the bill is assigned to committee, focus on these people, in this order:
i. Committee Chairperson
ii. Committee Vice-Chair
iii. Remaining committee members.
These people control the fate of the bill -- whether it will DIE or move forward.
One last tip: Go back and read #1!!!!!!!!!
2. Do NOT expect a return telephone call. It's a POLITE courtesy for the "law student" (often who it is) answering the phone to take your name and say the poltician will call you back. Be warned! If you do not get a call back the same day, call the next day, then the next day, then the next.
ex: repeatedly had to call lawmakers 4, 5, 6 times and pester their assistants to death. If you quit, you fail. So does the bill.Do not expect a call back. Be polite; but keep calling.
Tip: Yes, always ask for their "legislative assistant" or "chief of staff" when you call. But PLEASE, do not rely on these people to communicate what you want to say on your behalf. You want to speak to the Senator, Representative/Assemblyman.
3. Lawmakers definitely want to hear issues. They are just hard to reach many times. They EXIST in your State Capitol to hear your dialogue. That's not trite political-speak. It is indeed truth.
Now go back and read #2 again please. :-)
4. Don't WASTE or OVERUSE your friends and families efforts and time! Sure, these people love you, but a very important point here:
****If you start telling your friends and family to "write letters to everyone," can you see that when you REALLY need them to write letters to the entire legislature when the bill is up for full vote, how your friends and family will say... "Yeah, I sent my letter already."
Bad. Bad. Bad.
Finally, please see #1. :-)
Remember: You are not alone.
We are here to help you. For our children.
-Daryl Logullo of Katherine's Law