Warning about the Movement & Support

This is a message from director and ballot measure co-chair Kirstin Beatty:

I have two concerns.

The first one is fixed so we can celebrate – finally, we have a working mailing list for Last Tree Laws and just need to find and input email addresses!

The second is getting publicity and support for good bills, instead of bills that take a lot of time to fix. Last session another advocate promoted a bill for 5G, first saying it was helpful and then saying it could be fixed. This session I remain concerned about several bills.

So, I hope people will stop advocating for problematic bills and instead support those listed as ‘good’ on the MA legislation page.

However, since I expect these bills will move forward anyway, please help me to meet with the parties who have sponsored problematic bills to help push for corrections, who include as follows:

Please support the list of positive MA legislation, which offers concrete solutions for change!

Here are a few lobbying tips and tips for advocacy:

  1. Support ideas first, secondly support bills that support those ideas. Avoid signing on in favor of “great” bills that can be changed later anyway, behind closed doors, and stick instead to signing on in support of explicitly stated concrete ideas.
  2. Read the bills. Don’t just rely on secondhand information. Look through the bills, for the devil is in the details. Bill titles are usually sweet-sounding propaganda – look at the details.
  3. Speak to Legislators 1-to-1. Speaking privately one-to-one or with a team with your personal legislators appears more helpful to being heard – we know first-hand some legislators do not read emails due to the number incoming! If you cannot speak well, then bring writings and bring a group of constituents to help. Take the time to truly educate one or two legislators in advance of public hearings, since public hearings often limit speaking time to 3 minutes per person and can be disjointed.
  4. Speak for yourself. When the poor, elderly, sick, and other marginalized groups struggle to with time and ability to speak, others with easier lives step in to do so. Those others may have less concern, less problem, and more interest in the status quo thanks to easier, more comfortable lives. Let others speak for themselves. If others speak for you, be sure that speech is limited to as agreed and is verifiable – since what is behind the scenes or in email may be different. Where possible, use your own powerful voice.
  5. Template warning. When signing onto shared testimony or using templates, be careful. I’ve seen templates highlight problem bills as solutions. Be honest about your desires and select the bills or topics you support, rather than following a template to the letter. Also, the problem with templates is that these are generic, and simply bury legislators in reading that often has little new to say.
  6. Co-opting advocacy & movements. People offering help may be self-interested, seeking only fame, employment, sales, an industry, property, et cetera, and may not have the same or sincere concerns. Also, FBI strategy is to select individuals to infiltrate, create division, take over leadership, censor dissent, and tone down and redirect movements, including by offering paid work opportunities and wasting opportunities. Where threatened, industry may follow the FBI playbook. Be wise when working on sensitive topics. You may need to bring issues to the sunlight.