How to Handle a Legislative Alert
Periodically, and especially during each year’s legislative session, we will send you legislative alerts on issues that will affect your business and the industry. We need you to act on these alerts immediately. It is the most effective way we have of communicating with our legislators and letting them know how legislation will affect our industry.
The following should help you when you receive an alert. Use these tips to make the call to your legislator. It is important and it only takes a few minutes of your time.
If you have questions about how to act on an alert, please contact our CEO, Carol Wight at 505-343-9848 or firstname.lastname@example.org or our staff lobbyist, Allison Smith at 575-644-4609 or email@example.com.
THE PROCESS and WHAT TO DO
NMRA will send you an alert via e-mail (If you have not given us our e-mail address, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your e-mail address so we can add it to our list.) The alert will tell you whether NMRA supports or opposes a particular piece of legislation and will give you a list of legislators to call (usually from a certain legislative committee). Simply place the calls and when connected say, “I want to leave a message asking for support or opposition to X bill.” Tell them who you are and how they can return the call if needed. It is very unlikely they will call you back. You don’t need to go into detail about why they should oppose or support. If you do, make sure it’s one sentence, easily written down. That’s all there is to it.
Legislators count how many calls they get pro and con on a bill. And they pay very close attention if the caller is actually in their district. Even as few as 5 or 6 calls on a bill can change a legislator’s mind. Most legislators have very little idea of the real affect of various bills in the real world so hearing from a non-lobbyist is important to them. Some are experts in various areas but most are just like you and me. Hearing from folks will sway their vote because they won’t have to go into in-depth study on the bill. “I got a number of calls opposing the bill.” is enough cover for them.
CALLING YOUR LEGISLATORS
Sometimes it is difficult to get to Santa Fe to speak directly with your legislators and there may not be enough time for them to receive your letter. In this case a quick phone call to your legislator may be necessary. Due to the fact that the legislators are very busy during session, you may not get the chance to speak to them directly. In this case, leave a short but detailed message with the legislator’s staff asking that the legislator support or oppose a certain bill. It will be very important for you to know the bill number, who is sponsoring that bill and what the bill does.
TALKING WITH YOUR LEGISLATORS
During session, your legislator will be extremely busy. Consider making an appointment in order to make your visit successful. However, sometimes it is difficult for the legislators to set exact times to meet with you. Their staff may be able to give you an approximate time that would be best. State your facts as clearly and as briefly as possible and give specific examples to support your opinion. Be willing to listen to the legislator.
THE LEGISLATURE’S WEBSITE
The New Mexico Legislature’s website (www.nmlegis.gov) offers a wide range of information. You may view a legislator’s contact information and find legislation, calendars, agendas and other information on important issues facing the state. By entering your home zip code, you may identify the legislator who represents your district. You may also contact the legislature through the website.
COOKING WITH HEAT
Cooking with HEAT is NMRA’s guide to the Legislature. It gives you all the information you need for grassroots lobbying success.
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