Two identical bills were introduced in Congress recently that would create the “National Childhood Brain Tumor Prevention Network Act of 2009.” In order to keep these bills moving, everyone concerned about this issue needs to keep the attention on the desperate need for research by performing two important actions.
The language used in your communication is very important. Details on suggested letter format, legislative process, and definitions are included in the information below.
Read the legislation that has been filed in Congress [Washington, D.C.] (links posted below this paragraph) so that you are somewhat familiar with its content. One bill was filed in the House, one in the Senate. These are called “companion bills:” identical bills filed in both chambers at the same time send a message of importance and can help the legislation move more quickly through the process. Bills must be approved in their own chamber and then the opposite chamber before they can be passed into law.
House Bill 653 link:
Senate Bill 305 link:
Identify your Congressional House of Representatives Member and Senator by visiting www.congress.org. You will need your zip code + 4.
E-MAIL your Representative and Senator in Washington with a customized letter (a suggested format is available here.) Regular mail must be irradiated because of the 2001 anthrax attacks and can take up to 3 months to arrive. All of Congress is set up to receive and prefers e-mail.
Tell them you will be e-mailing them to follow up on the status. Always end with an “ask.” Your ask = their action.
Identify your State House of Representatives Member and Senator (who serve your local state Capitol) by visiting your state’s legislative website. You may have to Google “[state name] general assembly.” For example, Georgia’s web site is http://www.legis.state.ga.us/. You will need your zip code + 4. Again, you should send an e-mail (suggested format is available here.)
However, the goal of reaching the State Senator and Representative is a different “ask.”
Here, you are asking the legislators to pass a joint resolution (meaning the House and Senate both sign it) urging Congress to pass HR 653 and S 305. This carries a lot of weight and tells Congress that this issue is very important to the constituents in their states. A suggested format with the applicable language is included below.
Tell them you will be e-mailing them to follow up on the status. End with an “ask;” your ask = their action.
Ask your friends, family, helper network, medical professionals, church, community, school, teachers, and anyone else you can think of to do the same. The more noise, the better. In legislative affairs, it is very true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so to speak.
If Congress passes these bills, and if your state passes a joint resolution, make sure to thank your Representatives and Senators.
To track the Congressional Legislation (S/H), http://thomas.loc.gov/
SUGGESTIONS FOR DRAFT LETTERS
If you can e-mail your letter, that is the preferred method of communication. The next is via fax. Regular mail can take up to 3 months, as it has to be irradiated due to the anthrax attacks of 2001. It is likely your Congressional representatives will never see your letter that way.
Please customize your letter. Form letters that all say the same thing are extremely ineffective. But if you follow a general format, include personal testimony and clinical statistics, and “ask” for a specific action, your e-mail or faxed letter will be VERY, VERY impactful.
Information provided by Marsi Thrash, Healthcare Lobbyist
Last update March 8, 2009