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Useful information for the 2007 legislative session

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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 04:44 AM
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Useful information for the 2007 legislative session
1. To CONTACT your legislators in Olympia you can -- Call, Write, Visit...
Go to www1.leg.wa.gov, and click on: Find Out Who Represents You - District Finder.

CALL:
-- you can call your legislators offices directly, or
-- there is a TOLL-FREE HOTLINE:
1-800-562-6000. TTY: 1-800-635-9993.

During the Legislative Session, operators are standing by:
weekdays from 8:00 am - 8:00 pm, and
Saturdays from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm.

HOTLINE Operators will send your message to:
* one of your legislators, * all three of your legislators,
* the Governor and Lieutenant Governor or all of these, as you request.

They can tell you who your legislators are, or you can look them up at: www.leg.wa.gov .
PLUS they have language translation services. It helps if the person placing the call says: Spanish please (or another language) and knows enough English to understand Please Wait. The wait can be from 1-5 minutes while the operator either a) gets a Spanish or Russian speaker to the phone, or b) contacts an Interpreter Service and connects a 3-way call with the HOTLINE Operator, the caller, and the Interpreter.

WRITE:
-- Representative ___________________ or,
Senator _____________________
P.O. Box 40600 (House), P.O. Box 404 (Senate).
Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (House)
Olympia, WA 98504-04 (Senate)

EMAIL:
-- write your legislators lastname.firstname {at} leg.wa.gov. (e.g., Truman.harry {at} leg.wa.gov.)

VISIT:
-- in Olympia, any day during the session. Citizens are welcome. Also look for TOWN HALL MEETINGS back in the District by mid-Session.
BONUS: A wonderful (free) resource is the League of Women Voters. Find them in your local phone directory, and ask for their TRY pamphlets listing phone/mail/email information for your local, state, and federal elected officials.

2. It helps to understand the Legislative Calendar.

The 2007 Legislative Session in Olympia runs from January 8 through April 23, 2007.
Every day including Saturdays and Sundays is counted in setting the 105-day Session. The legislature will be in Session on all holidays (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 1/15, and Presidents Day 2/19), and may also be in session on weekends near the end.

The dates below control the action on bills: these cut-off dates are pretty firm. Bills that fail to get the requisite action before action is cut-off most likely will die. The official calendar will not be available until January, but it is possible to anticipate LIKELY key dates. With the caveat that these dates are subject to change a bit,

here are several critical points in the 2007 Session:

 1/08 2007 Session begins.
 2/28 last day for bills to be considered in the Policy Committees of the House/Senate - where they originate (a.k.a. "house of origin")
 3/6 last day for bills to be considered in one of the Fiscal Committees of the House or Senate where they originate
 3/14 last day for bills to be considered on the floor in their house of origin
 3/30 last day for bills to be considered in the Policy Committees of the "opposite house"
 4/03 last day for bills to be considered in the Fiscal Committees of the "opposite house"
 4/13 last day for bills to be considered on the floor of the opposite house
 4/23 2007 Session adjourns for the year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3. Some easy ways to stay informed about the Session,
and the issues you care about.

A) READ POLICY WATCH. Go to http://depts.washington.edu/sswweb/policyw /
Each weeks issue is posted by Monday during the Session.

B) WATCH TVW. TVW is a cable network that goes into Committee Hearings and other events around the Capitol during the Legislative Session. In addition to being available by cable, it is also available via the internet.

C). CONTACT AN ADVOCACY GROUP FOR YOUR ISSUE.
There is an advocacy group for almost every issue. One list is at the SSWWEB. They:
 Monitor their issues closely,
 Distribute weekly (or as needed) Legislative Alerts,
 Recommend positions on bills and budget items, and
 Suggest sample messages, and many also organize Lobby Days.

To find an advocacy group on your issue: ask people affected by the issue, ask professionals who work in that field, ask friends, or use this list.

Compiled by Nancy Amidei (amidei {at} u.washington.edu) for the Civic Engagement Project,
A joint project of the U of Washington School of Social Work and OMB Watch.


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