Despite the advent of the Internet, legislators still pay the most attention to letters from constituents. Effective communication involves common sense:
Include your return address
Communicate in your own words, about your particular experience or situation
Form letters are easily spotted and don’t get as much consideration as a personal letter (there are legislative offices that take exception to this). In order for an organized letter writing campaign using a form letter to succeed, there must be a massive number of letters flowing in.
Tips for Making A Point Most Effectively
Mention the bill number and common name in the first sentence.
Mention whether you support or oppose the bill in the second sentence.
Keep it short; no longer than one page.
Explain how the bill will affect you and the legislator’s constituents
Sum up your arguments.
Involve other stakeholders (parents, athletes, doctors or employers).
The broader the cross-section of support, the better.
Honesty and accuracy are premium; do not exaggerate.
Be clear by using layman’s language.
Use honey rather than vinegar; no scare tactics or threats.
AVOID FORM LETTERS; they receive less attention than personal letters.
Include a return address prominently at the top of the letter.
SAMPLE LETTER TO LEGISLATOR
The Honorable (Name)
The (State Name) Senate
The Honorable (Name)
The (State Name) (House of Representatives)
Dear Senator * Representative * Assemblyman/Assemblywoman (Name):
1) reason for writing: 2) your position: 3) the issue and, if appropriate, the bill number and where the bill is in the legislative process. (These three facts should be in one sentence.) I am writing requesting your support for S.B. 123 or H.B. 456, licensure of athletic trainers, currently before the House Professional Licensure Committee.
Briefly, concisely, explain your position – why this is important to you and how you’re affected by the proposed legislation. Offer your alternatives, if any, to the proposed legislation. Adoption (passage) of such regulation would help protect our (State name) athletes from suffering the consequences – chronic pain, long-term disability or loss of life – of having received health care from unqualified practitioners. State regulation would require, as is now required of other health care professions, demonstration of a minimum competency level in the athletic training profession. State regulation would ensure that (State name) athletes receive specialized emergency care and aggressive rehabilitation. OR Adoption (passage) will inhibit the practice of athletic training. Restricting the athletic trainer’s scope of practice denies to athletes access to specialized medical professionals.
Briefly provide salient facts about athletic training in your state and about yourself. More than (300) athletic trainers live and practice in (State name) and another (100) athletic trainers live in (neighboring State) but practice in (your State). I have been a BOC certified athletic trainer for 12 years. I have been employed as an athletic trainer by the University of (State name), by sports medicine clinics in (town, State), and by (*****).
Thank the legislator for considering your position and offer to provide further information.
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