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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
FIRST, find your representative:
If your rep. is the Speaker, state assembly, address it as follows:
The Honorable Jane
Salutation same as
your state senator
For your District or State Attorney:
The Honorable John
-- Dear Mr. Doe:
1. Find out the deadline date for submission of legislative bills. Have your elected official draft the proposal, or an attorney, if possible.
2. Members of groups (e.g. SNAP or VOTF,) may request their reps. and senators to file proposed bills, but not as members of their group. It must be clear that you are submitting the proposed bill as a citizen only. If in doubt, check with your legislative clerk.
3. Not all senators and reps. are forthcoming about their opinions or what your options are; when you ask your rep. and senator to file proposed bills, you may ask them to file it "by request" (check your state law.) This means you are listed as the person on the proposal. This sometimes occurs when a rep. or senator is in disagreement with part or all of the proposal and may choose not to file it at all if his or her name is associated with it. "By request" means it will be filed, regardless of your elected official's opinion.
4. Try to cover as many districts as possible throughout your state. Have friends, relatives, and survivors submit the proposed bill to their state rep. and senator. This reinforces that the proposal is not a "regional issue," but a statewide issue of concern. This also reduces the chance of districts being at odds with each other throughout your state. It is also important to remind your officials that proposed bills to amend abuse laws are not an attack on any church, but a desire to bring the sexual abuse laws more in line with the reality of sexual abuse, the recovery process involved, and the need for just settle-ments for victims. The Catholic Church happens to be the current catalyst that brought this need for change in the abuse laws; abuse is prevalent throughout all segments of society.
5. If you are short on time, the proposed bill can always be faxed to your rep. or senator.
6. Remember to send a cover letter stating who you are and that you would like the elected official to submit the proposed bill either under his/her name or "by request." Follow up with a phone call if you don't hear from your rep. or senator.
7. Keep in touch with the people who have contacted their elected officials. Once a representative or senator is found who will sponsor the bill, it would be prudent to then call your own rep. or senator and ask them to contact the sponsoring official and sign on with the sponsor of the bill (or at least support it.) This will save time and money at your state house by avoiding multiple submissions of the same bill, should more than one elected official decide to sponsor it.
Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests