IT'S EASIER THAN EVER TO BE AN ADVOCATE!
By Sheila Freed
The Nevada Legislature's 2013 session is now underway. Here we go again, many will say: More bickering, more gridlock, more money
spent on things that don't matter, too little on things that do matter. We in
the faith advocacy community hope to set a more positive example by recognizing
that if we don't speak up, those outcomes are guaranteed. If we do speak up, we probably won't change
the world, but we can surely have an impact.
That's why Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Nevada has the slogan
We hope to bring
every single person into the conversation with us, and we want you to know
about a cool new tool to do that. As
you may know, the Nevada Legislature has an excellent website, www.leg.state.nv.us. The site just gets better all the time, and
for this session, there is a feature that enables you to tell your legislator
how you feel about a bill with just a few mouse clicks. Sort of like those online petitions we all
get, but this goes right to the policy-makers.
Go to the legislative home page, then look on the right side. Toward the bottom, there's a button to "share your opinion on Legislative
Bills." Just enter a bill
number or name, choose "for" or "against," identify
yourself so they'll know what district you're in, and "submit." You can add comments if you like. What could be easier?
The hardest part will be to know what bills to express
opinions on. The LAMN and RAIN websites,
www.lutheranadvocacynv.org, www.rainnv.org, are a good place to start,
and of course print and broadcast media will have information. But there's also another cool new feature of the Legislative website. A couple of buttons above "share your
opinion" is "subject
index." As bills are
introduced, you can find them here by topic.
For example, LAMN and RAIN are very interested in laws relating to human
trafficking, especially as it relates to exploitation of minors for
prostitution. You can look in the
subject index under "Human Trafficking" or "Sex
Trafficking" and get to Assembly Bill 67, which is the Attorney General's
proposed legislation on this topic. A
click on the bill number will get you to the text of the bill, plus information
about committee hearings, amendments, and more detail than you probably care
about. Then you can go back to
"share your opinion" and do so with real insight.
The State of Nevada, (known for being backward in many
areas) has, with their website, really made it easy to be an informed citizen
and to participate. That's why it's not just for political junkies anymore. And here's a bonus: You can find out what your neighbors are
thinking! On the "share your
opinion" page, there are selections for "View Comments" and
"Reports." The "View
Comments" allows you to read what others have written. (Let's hope for some reasoned dialog.) The "Reports" section enables you
to see all the "for" and "against" data sorted by bill
number, by city, by zip code, by senate or assembly district, and my personal
favorite, "Top 50 by Popularity."
So even if you just want to know what's trendy, this is the place to go.
LAMN hopes everyone
turns into a bit of a political junkie, because the welfare of our society, our life together in community, depends on
good people speaking out about what's right. As Christians, we are called to do this. There's always a lot of excitement and hope
at the start of a Legislative Session.
We hope everyone will jump in and share it.