If you are interested in whats happening during this legislative session go to this link and click on “House Committee Agendas“, then click on “Health & Welfare” to find daily schedule updates. You can also visit the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee 2017 Budget Hearing Schedule.
Legislators do pay attention to communications from the people who live in the districts they represent. Persistent advocacy can pay off for you, your family, and our community! We’d like to bring your attention to ways you can get involved with legislation going forward.
- Ask yourself what you would like changed about the behavioral health system in Idaho and email us with the issue you want to see resolved, credible information, and possible solutions that could help resolve the issue.
- Stay up to date by viewing notices and agenda items on the Idaho Legislature Website.
- Remember – one legislator’s vote can make the difference in whether a bill becomes law. As a concerned citizen, you CAN make a big difference as you help your legislators understand and focus on issues that matter to you.
You can meet with legislators during legislative session, testify before a committee, phone call, or email them. *Always use your own personal story when crafting messages to legislators.* They want to know about real life stories, how state money is being spent, your visibility and connections within the district, and specific legislative actions that would make you happy. Relationships with lawmakers can be built by introducing yourself, sharing your story, localizing the issue, offering to be a resource, and then following through. These relationships should be maintained year round by email and social media, and attending advocacy events and community meetings.
Tips for Contacting Your Legislator to Support or Oppose a Bill:
1. Know who your Legislator is.
2. Find which Committee your bill of interest is in.
3. Call your Capitol office or Fax your Legislator a letter.
4. Tell them you are a constituent of the Legislator and you’re contacting them about a Senate Bill or Assembly Bill.
5. Tell them which Committee the bill is in and ask who staffs that Committee for the Legislator. If the bill already has passed committee and is before the full Senate or Assembly, ask who handles bills coming to the floor. Ask to talk to this person.
6. Introduce yourself and give them your address. Ask for their name and write it down.
7. Explain why you care about the bill and directly say you are calling to ask the Legislator to vote yes or no on the bill.
8. Follow up. If the legislator voted as you asked, thank them, and if they voted differently, politely express your disappointment and ask why.
The Office of Consumer and Family Affairs (OCAFA) would love to hear your feedback, needs, preferences, questions, and celebrations regarding behavioral health in Idaho including proposed and passed legislation. By compiling your input about legislative decisions, we are able to communicate the interests of those receiving behavioral health services and their family members to the State. Email us! We will report your confidential feedback (your name and/or organization will not be included) to the Department of Health and Welfare thereby acting as a sounding board and liaison between you and the State of Idaho. We can form a critical mass that represents the collective mindset regarding behavioral health in Idaho. By standing together, we can make a difference and help drive what happens at the Capitol and within the Division of Behavioral Health. Join us in helping to improve Idaho’s behavioral health system by letting your voice be heard!