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3 Ways to Move a Legislator

By March 2, 2023Blog
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Mon cherie —

Welcome to week seven! If you’re new here, here’s a quick legislative session refresher. If you’ve been around the Tally block, let’s dive in: Last Friday was the cutoff for policy committees. This Friday is cutoff for fiscal committees. Bills that don’t make it out in time are dead, but for many of us, it’s a big sigh of relief by the time these cutoffs come around. For example: Sen. Fortunado’s horrendous “protect the childhood of children bill” or HB 1233, a bill sponsored by a slew of Republicans, which targets incarcerated trans folks and forces them to be housed in jails for members of their opposite gender. Hasta la vista, baby! Now, the not so great news is that more may be on the chopping block, including some of our beloved Nine.

🚚 3 Ways to Move a Legislator 🚚

Presidential Ranked Choice voting is dead. It’s a real bummer since fully one quarter of Washingtonians who voted in the last presidential election didn’t get counted.

Community offered a simple solution, and Chair of State Government & Tribal Relations Committee Rep. Bill Ramos (D-5) failed to give the Ranked Choice Presidential Primaries bill a hearing and it died in committee. Despite hearing from us and our friends, Rep. Ramos remained unmoved.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep making the case for RCV:

Even though RCV died this year, we’ll be back, and it’s clear we’re gonna need to go full-size heavy-duty-pick-up-truck-level moving legislators to get this thing done. For then and now, here are 3 Ways to Move a Legislator

🐦🪱Check In Early + Often: Engage legislators on the issues you care about early in the process. Don’t wait until session starts to have a conversation. During interim—the time between sessions—educate them. Work with legislative offices to develop bills you care about. Engage with legislators on social media. Send them emails. And when legislative session begins—turn up the pressure.

📍Find the Linchpins: Build a strategy that works the various people with the power at each step of the way. Always take note of who has control at what points in the process—committee chairs, leadership, etc.—in order to put pressure on the right people at the right time. Before session, work with the champion legislator to craft a bill and path to passage. Once the bill gets dropped, put pressure on the committee chair, asking for a hearing immediately. When public hearing’s announced, sign up to testify. Coordinate with the advocacy orgs working with you!

🪡Tailor the Message to the Legislator: Legislators—like everyone else—have their own personal preferences and motivations. Tying your issue to their concerns is always a good call. If the legislator you need for that housing vote cares a lot about kids, highlight the impact of the bill on young people. If it’s an election year and your bill polls well in their district, you better tell them! The more you connect a bill to legislator priorities, the more they’re likely they’ll move.

What do you think? Have any questions? Tweet us your thoughts @WACommAlliance.
Keep up on the action and opportunities to get involved through our legislative newsletter, The Tally.