Five Ways to Participate in the Idaho Legislature
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The 2012 Idaho Legislative Session kicks off Jan. 9th
- Write, call or email your lawmaker: If you’re unable to attend a committee hearing or travel to the Capitol to meet with your legislator, sending a note or leaving a message can be the next best way to participate. The legislature’s website lists contact information for all 105 lawmakers. If you aren’t sure who your lawmaker is, the site can help you with that too.
- Testify at a committee hearing: Every piece of legislation starts in a specific committee. Committees are bipartisan panels of lawmakers who get the first crack at reading a bill, asking questions about it, and hearing from the people it will most directly affect. It’s in committee meetings that members of the public can offer testimony and tell their story directly to legislators. The legislature’s website outlines best practices for testifying at a committee hearing.
- Rally or Protest: Special interest groups, or coalitions of people for or against a certain piece of legislation often spend time making their views clear at the Capitol. During the 2011 Legislative Session, students against education reforms rallied, so did Idahoans against plans to cut Medicaid funding. Special interest groups typically organize rallies through email lists, social media and other outreach efforts.
- Money: If you’re unable to attend a committee hearing or rally for your cause, donating to your cause or candidate of choice is always an option.
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- Vote: Voting is quite possibly the most powerful way to influence what happens inside the Idaho Statehouse. All 105 Idaho legislators are up for election every two years. The next election year is 2012. Idaho’s primary is May 15, 2012. The general election is November 6, 2012. Click here to see Idaho’s 2012 election calendar.