January 14, 2021

Legislative Advocacy Resources

By
Rev. Laura Folkwein

UCC Missoula Legislative Advocacy Resources for the MT Legislative Session Winter/Spring 2021

UCC Missoula strives to live out a mission of love, justice, inclusion and care for the Earth, based on a progressive understanding of the just and generous love of Christ.  

We are Progressive. Inclusive. Inspired. www.uccmissoula.org  

Many of us are called to speak up through advocacy to protect the vulnerable and marginalized in our midst, and to care for the Earth, our home.  We have compiled some suggested ways you might advocate or become involved during the 2021 Legislative Session.

As in all things UCC, these are not dictates, doctrine, or mandates from your church. We trust that your conscience and your faith will guide your advocacy efforts and we covenant to support and love one another in community, finding strength in diversity.

Resources:

General Advocacy Tips

The MT Legislature homepage has a wealth of information up front about submitting video testimony, testifying remotely, contributing to public comments, tracking bills, watching hearings, etc. This is the website: https://leg.mt.gov/

Not sure who your local legislators are? No shame in that. Find them here, along with tips for contacting your legislator: https://leg.mt.gov/legislator-lookup/

To send an email to an individual legislator OR (this is brilliant!) a whole committee at once, find the form here: https://leg.mt.gov/web-messaging/  

To email a whole committee, such as the House Judiciary Committee, scroll down to “Send Message to” and click Committees, then select (H) for “House,” Judiciary.  

Input the bill number, HB (for House Bill) + number, (112, for example); click “for” or “against” to indicate how you want them to vote, and then type up your message.  

There IS a character limit of 1250, and no emojis or other characters allowed. I like to type my message in advance and cut and paste it into the message field. Easy-peasy. You just emailed the whole committee! OR you can choose “Legislator” and choose your contact from the dropdown list of legislators.

If you would like to testify virtually, from the comfort and safety of your own home, you can sign up on the MT Legislative website. Again, it’s https://leg.mt.gov/. Written testimony and sign-ups for virtual testimony must be submitted by 12 pm the day before the bill is heard.

Want to learn more? On January 20th, 7pm on Zoom, join a “Virtual Tour” of the Montana Legislative Website and advocacy “how to” The Montana League of Women Voters is hosting this virtual tour of the Montana Legislature website.  You will learn how to track bills, locate live-stream committee hearings and House and Senate floor sessions, how to participate in hearings and how to get your views to legislators. To attend, send an email to the contact Nancy Leifer nancleifer@gmail.com with the subject line: TOUR

-Montana League of Women Voters - https://my.lwv.org/montana-league-women-voters

A selection of groups who follow issues and will send out legislative updates and action alerts. Many of these groups work together to follow and advocate on a variety of issues. Some websites are more up to date than others, but nearly all have a place to sign up for an email alert.

Groups covering human rights and a variety of issues:

- ACLU: aclumontana.org / right on homepage, enter email address to join action alerts (national and Montana)

- Montana Women Vote - http://www.montanawomenvote.org/action-alerts/

- Forward Montana - www.forwardmontana.org - scroll to bottom of homepage to sign up on email list

- Empower Montana – Human rights and diversity issues, youth, schools, and racial and Indigenous justice. https://www.empowermt.org/

- Montana Human Rights Network - https://mhrn.org/, has a legislative team tracking a number of issues for example: Indigenous justice, LGBTQ+ rights, hate crime, and immigration issues, gun safety, reproductive healthcare, domestic abuse. Their Facebook page is updated regularly with action items.

- Montana Association of Christians, http://www.macmt.org/

Scroll down on the page to sign up for their email. They hire a lobbyist each session who should be keeping folks posted. This group addresses healthcare, human services and other human rights issues, and in a typical session, we would jump on a charter bus with a group from Missoula and go to a lobby day with MAC partners from across the state.

Gun Safety  

- Montana Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety - https://momsdemandaction.org/montana-moms-demand-action-everytown-criticize-montana-house-for-passing-dangerous-gun-bill/  

Healthcare and Reproductive Justice

- Planned Parenthood - https://www.plannedparenthood.org/, scroll to bottom of homepage  

Climate

- 350 Montana - https://www.350montana.org/, Montana environmental issues. A number of UCC folks are involved here.

- Faith and Climate Action, Montana - https://faithandclimateactionmontana.weebly.com/ A coalition of faith-based climate advocates, including UCC-ers and friends.  

- Families for a Livable Climate - https://livableclimate.org/ Family-oriented climate action.  

- Sierra Club Montana – Sign up for legislative updates and action here: https://www.sierraclub.org/montana/legislative-political David Merrill and Summer Nelson from UCC are involved in Sierra Club Montana leadership.

Analysis and Budget

- Montana Budget and Policy Center- Our own Montana policy wonks. They do great analysis and support many of the groups above with data and analysis. Their website is kept up to date.   www.montanabudget.org  

Don’t see your favorite advocacy group listed here? Let us know who they are, what legislative issues they are focused on and how folks can connect with them to take action. Non-partisan groups only,  please.  

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UCC Missoula Legislative Advocacy Resources for the MT Legislative Session Winter/Spring 2021

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