Friday, November 13, 2015

Getting the Analog Choice Bill Passed: Your State Rep Holds Coffee Hours;Your Going to Them Makes a Difference

Face-to-face conversations with legislators are critical when you want to get a bill passed. One way
to begin to make contact with your state rep and other people in your community is to go to the representative's coffee hours. All reps hold coffee hours (they might be at any time of day, and often will be on weekends) so that they can hear their constituents' concerns. These coffee hours are held in your district, so that you don't have to drive to Lansing! Find your rep's coffee hours here.

At the coffee hour, let your rep and everyone else there know you would like your rep to sponsor the Analog Choice Bill. Tell your rep and all the people in the room what the bill is about. Give them a few facts about smart meters. Most people in the room won't even know about smart meters! This is a good way to begin to inform not only the rep, but the people in your community.
Costs are number one on people’s minds, so we recommend making that a strong point.  Please see our website page, The High Economic Costs of Smart Meters and our newest blog post regarding the actual costs of installing opt-out meters versus customers retaining their analog.

Be sure to brings some flyers with you, and hand them out to each person in the room. I would recommend bringing 2 or 3 flyers: the flyer about the bill and then either the Ticking Time Bomb flyer and/or the Unexplained Illness flyers. Find the bill flyers on the Opt-Out Legislation page and the other flyers on the Flyers and Petitions page.

Anyone who shows interest, get their phone and email. Tell them we will send them a newsletter with more information and updates about the bill. Urge them to follow up with the legislator via a phone call.

You don't have to speak extemporaneously. You can bring a 3-minute prepared statement. See our Smart Meters: How They Work, Why They Are Harmful page for great info.

Once your legislator says they are supportive of the bill (this might be after several meetings), ask them what they can do to help get this bill passed. Reps sometimes blow us off by saying there's little chance due to the huge industry lobby. Well, they are our representative. Are they going to let the energy lobby influence them?

Keep going to coffee hours over and over. That is what this woman did. Bring some new information each time. 

Talk to your legislator at the end of the coffee hour. Ask for a time to meet with them privately to talk more about the bill. Make sure you are educated enough to do this. If you are not, our website will give you most of the information you need to make a convincing case.

Bring along the DVD Take Back Your Power. Ask your rep to watch it. Tell them you will come back in a month to get it back from them, as it is your only copy. We have the DVDs of this powerful movie for sale on our website.

To learn when your rep's coffee hours are, go to the Legislative Coffee Hours site. The best thing to do is get on your rep's mailing list. They usually announce the coffee hours there.

We'll bring your more ideas about coffee hours in subsequent newsletters.

Please let us know how the meetings went--who your rep is, what district number, and what the rep had to say and the level of interest in the room. Give us your ideas about what strategies are effective!

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