So, you want to advocate for topics you care about, and speak with your Congresspeople. How do you find something relevant to advocate for?
The easiest way is to check out Congress.gov and search for some key words related to your topic. For example, as scientists, one thing we can advocate for is STEM education. Note: this is just an example, you can advocate for anything that you care about!
Type in "STEM Education" in the search bar and see what pops up.
Great, we have some relevant legislation!! Before going any further, check out the left panel and trim down the results. If you want to advocate for a bill, usually you'll check 'Legislation'.
Keep in mind that we are currently in the 117th Congress (2021-2022), NOT the 116th!! Bill numbers get reset to 0 at the start of every Congress, so it's important to note whether the bill is active or whether it's old news. If a bill was introduced in 116th Congress, for example, it'd have to be re-introduced in the current 117th Congress and get a new bill number before it could be voted on.
Ok, let's uncheck 116th Congress and see what the results are:
Great! there are a few bills currently introduced. Let's check one out.
Here's H.R.204 - STEM Opportunities Act (3rd in the list):
It's pretty new for the year, so the summary is still in progress. We're currently on the Summary tab, but to the right of that are many options to read more about the bills.
Click 'Text' to see the full bill details:
'Actions' tells you where the bill has been and where in the process it is currently:
'Cosponsors' is helpful for knowing which Senator or Representative has supported the bill so far. Note that bills introduced in the Senate can only be co-sponsored by a Senator, and same for Representatives & House bills. If this example bill is approved by the House and is sent over to the Senate, it will get a new Senate bill number. Sometimes Senators and Representatives will collaborate and introduce identical bills at the same time. Keep an eye out for that.
Anyway - check to see if your Senators or Reps supported the bill you searched. If not, and you like what the bill says, reach out to your Congresspeople and tell them why you'd like them to support it! Or, if they did, send them a quick note to say thank you.
See our Resources pages for some helpful tips and information to prepare you for a meeting!