In addition to our main legislative report card, we are also following pieces of legislation that may impact adolescent sexual health less directly. For a fuller picture of legislation on sexual and reproductive health issues in Michigan, check out our supplementary report card by clicking on the graphic below:
ABOUT THE REPORT CARD:
At MOASH, we’re happy to provide our Legislative Report Card so that you can stay up to date on the latest political happenings that may impact adolescent sexual health in Michigan!
Here’s a brief explanation of what’s included in the report card:
Topic area: we have grouped the legislation into categories, depending on what aspect of adolescent sexual health we see the bill(s) impacting most.
Legislation: for each piece of legislation, we list the bill number (“HB” stands for “house bill” and SB stands for “senate bill”) and a short title, followed by a brief description of the legislation and a list of the state representatives who are sponsoring it.
Progress indicator: this shows each piece of legislation’s progress on its way to becoming law. Bills must work their way through committees and committee hearings, be passed in both the House and Senate, and then be signed into law by the state governor in order to take effect.
Impact on adolescent sexual health: for the pieces of legislation that we’ve identified as most relevant, we have written short blurbs describing how we believe the bill(s) would impact adolescent sexual health in the state of Michigan, and whether we would support or not support that outcome. We have also included bills where the impact on adolescent sexual health is ambiguous, but where there is a potential for significant change.
Other legislation of interest: in the second part of the report card, we’ve included a list of bills that are related to our topic areas of interest but may not have as direct an impact on adolescent sexual health as those listed in the other report card.
As always, we welcome feedback about the Report Card! This is a new resource we’re providing, and we want to ensure it’s useful to you. Please direct feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are a few suggestions about ways in which you can use the report card:
Track pieces of legislation that you really care about.
See something on the report card that you want to keep tabs on? You can sign up to get e-mail notifications whenever any action is taken on that bill! The official Michigan Legislature government website and MichiganVotes.org are both nonpartisan resources that allow you to create an account and customize what notifications you want to receive. At the moment, we only update the report card on a monthly basis, so signing up for notifications ensures that you’ll never miss any changes and be updated immediately!
Instructions for notifications through the Michigan Legislature: go to legislature.mi.gov and click on “Register.” Once you create your free account, log-in and click on “Notify” along the top navigation bar. On the page, under “Notification Selection,” you can choose to be notified about a certain piece of legislation (“Bills by Number”), about all bills on a certain topic like Health or Education (“Bill Activity by Categories”), about all bills put forward by a certain congressperson (“Bill Activity by Representatives” or “Bill Activity by Senators”), or even about all bills in a certain district (“Bill Activity by House District” or “Bill Activity by Senate District”). If you forget what notifications you’ve set up, or want to modify them, click on your “Notification Summary” and you can view/edit it from there!
Instructions for notifications through MichiganVotes.org: this is a great website that advertise putting pieces of legislation “in concise, plain language.” Go to michiganvotes.org and click on “Subscribe.” Once you create your free account, log on and scroll over your username on the top navigation bar. In the dropdown menu, select “Update watch list.” From there, you can select categories of legislation that you want to receive e-mail notifications about. You can also get notification for specific pieces of legislation by searching by the House bill or Senate bill number and then clicking “Add to Watch List” on the yellow navigation bar above the legislation title.
Contact your legislators and give your opinion on a piece of legislation.
Don’t forget to write/call and thank your legislator(s) after they’ve taken action on a bill if you appreciate how they voted!
Here are a few different ways in which you can get in touch:
Meet with the legislator in person. This is the most effective way to educate them. Most congresspeople host coffee hours at their local office or have town hall meetings that you can simply drop into (you can find that information on the legislator’s individual websites or social media pages). Otherwise you can make appointments to see them in their local offices or in Lansing at the state Capitol building. You can even send a note while congress is in session to pull your legislator off the floor and meet with you!
Send a written letter. If you take the time to write down your thoughts, it makes an impression on the legislators, and they are more likely to respond in some form.
Make a phone call to the legislator’s Lansing office. You may or may not be able to speak with the legislator directly, but staffers will note your call and include it in their constituent report for the representative.
Send an e-mail. Form e-mails are fine, but it is more likely to stand out if you personalize the e-mail with your own words, anecdotes, etc.
Keep in touch via social media pages. Most representatives have Facebook Pages that you can “Like” or “Follow” in order to follow different bills or events. You can comment on and/or share their content.
Attend committee hearings.
These are a great way to get your voice heard on specific bills. All committee hearings must be announced at least 18 hours in advance, and will detail the time and location of the meeting and what bills they’ll be discussing and/or voting on. You can sign up for committee meeting e-mail notifications, check the meeting calendar, or view a list of the standing committee meetings here: http://www.house.mi.gov/mhrpublic/committee.aspx
There are multiple ways you can participate at committee hearings. When you go, you have the option to submit a “testimony card,” where you can indicate whether you’d like to speak or not, what your position is on the legislation being discussed, etc. Also, if you bring notes or a statement, these can be entered into the hearing’s official record, copied, and given to committee members.
Get talking points on the issues.
We know that it can sometimes be difficult to articulate why you support or do not support certain issues. We’ve written up short blurbs describing what we see as the potential impact of these pieces of legislation on adolescent sexual health – feel free to use these as talking points for when you discuss the issues with your friends, families, colleagues, or legislators! Read MOASH’s position statements on common issues related to adolescent sexual health for more insights!