December 7, 2015: Recent tragic mass shootings have prompted Speaker Ryan to support H.R. 2646, which increases its chances of passage in the House. Your calls and letters are needed! Please see below for advocacy tips and information. Check back at this website for frequent updates.
November 20, 2015: The bill’s progress through the House has been delayed until 2016 due to GOP concerns. Please keep using your voice and speaking out – your Representatives still need to hear from you.
November 12, 2015: Last week, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) was “marked up” in the Health subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce committee. (“Markup” means that members of the subcommittee discussed and voted on which provisions should be struck or moved forward.) The next step is markup in the full House Energy and Commerce committee. Once it is marked up in this committee, it will then pass to the House floor for a vote, where it may presumably go through further changes before reaching the Senate. Your voice is needed now more than ever to ensure that the dangerous provisions in the bill do not make it that far.
What you can do:
Call or write to the members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and let them know that the H.R. 2646 is bad for America. This is especially important if you are a constituent of any of the members of this committee, or live in their state. But even that is not the case, your voice makes a difference. The names and contact information for the Energy and Commerce Committee members can be found at the bottom of this post.
Lastly, you can sign the petition, but contacting elected officials directly is critical.
Legislative Advocacy Tips by Larry Drain
- Share this post with everyone you know and ask them to do the same. Numbers do matter.
- Contact the Energy and Commerce Committee, especially the chairs, Rep. Pallone and Rep. Upton if at all possible. Contact information is at the bottom of this post.
- If you can contact one Democratic member, please do so. Many of them signed the letter opposing the bill in its current form. Many advocated strongly against dangerous Murphy Bill provisions at the Health subcommittee markup. Voice your support and encouragement. Contact information is at the bottom of this post.
- Use whatever means of communication you feel most comfortable with — but communicate.
- Consider having an email or phone party with friends. Group efforts will matter.
- Tell your story. Explain how one or two items of the Murphy Bill will affect you. Personal stories matter. Keep it to one or two items. You need to be able to say it in 3 or 4 minutes tops.
- Make sure you tell them what you want them to do. “My name is ____ and I am calling to ask Rep.____ to oppose the AOT provisions of the Murphy Bill. I have concerns with other provisions also….. I (your story)….
- If you call, keep it to 3-4 minutes tops. Be organized and prepared. They will be polite to you.
- Use clear talking points. You may use ours or you may personalize or create your own. Check out our comprehensive and rights-based talking points for further details.
- If you post on Facebook, try to keep it to 3-4 paragraphs tops. Do not be belligerent or accusatory. Try to share your personal stake in the bill.
- If you use Twitter, make one point per Tweet. Share links to more in depth points.
- If you email staff, be clear and personal. Thank them for their time. Again, be brief and focused. Share links to other material if you like.
Sample Social Media Messages
You are welcome to use these sample messages to share on social media. Please use the hashtags #realMHchange and #ProtectPAIMI.
Contact information (phone and email forms) for Energy and Commerce Committee
Or you may send your letter directly to the Energy and Commerce Committee staffers: Katie Novaria, Katie.firstname.lastname@example.org and Waverly Gordon, Waverly.email@example.com. Ask them to send to the full committee.
How to address your letter:
Honorable Fred Upton
Chair, House Energy and Commerce Committee United States House of Representatives
2183 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Honorable Frank Pallone
Ranking Member, House Energy and Commerce Committee United States House of Representatives
237 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Letter of opposition to the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act 2015 (H.R. 2646)
Dear Mr. Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Pallone: