IFCL Lobbyist describes a lobby day

Christine Glaser, Faith In Place, and Mary Blackburn, IFCL, combine forces to lobby for Conservation Day.

Indiana Conservation Alliance (INCA) hosted Conservation Day at the Statehouse. Tables were set up on the 3rd floor of the Atrium and representatives of the Alliance were available to answer questions and guide volunteers to meet with their legislators.

There are two public entrances to the Statehouse, one on the east side facing Capitol Avenue and on the other side facing Senate Boulevard.  On my way in through the west door, I passed all the news outlet cubicles and got to talk briefly with Brandon Smith, the WFYI statehouse reporter.

The statehouse was full of pharmacy students and pharmacists in their white jackets who were lobbying their legislators for HB 1224 and HB1568/SB153 bills which would give pharmacists the legal permission to prescribe and administer contraceptive pills and patches.  Bills such as these would benefit women seeking to control their own reproduction.

After meeting with the Hoosier Environmental Council team, I went in pursuit of my legislators.  I had tried to set up an appointment but learned that my legislators were either in session or in caucus meetings most of the day. As I walked toward the representative side, I saw my representative, Rep Gregory Porter, an Earlham graduate, and Minority leader on House Ways and Means. We talked about the importance of conservation expansion and the need to improve our outdoor recreation facilities.  Additionally, we talked about support for the automatic enrollment of eligible students for the 21st Century Scholars program.  After spending several pleasant minutes talking about our issues, he went to finish lunch before the afternoon session.

The other side of the atrium is the Senate side, with Republican offices on one end and Democratic offices on the other. I went to the desk for the Democratic senators and asked to speak with Senator Greg Taylor, the minority leader of the Senate. You fill out a slip of paper stating who you are and how you can be reached. After filling it out and giving a handout to the receptionist, I was told to wait for a response.  Shortly afterward, Senator Taylor’s Legislative Assistant came out and we talked about conservation in Indiana, and I asked for his support. I also left a short list of some other bills that IFCL affirms. Mr. Jones was warm and friendly and assured me that he and the Senator listen to constituent comments and emails.  He expressed appreciation for the accurate information that constituents have sent on many issues and was glad to put a face to the name.  It was a lovely and reassuring brief encounter.  We shook hands and I thanked him and the senator for speaking up for the issues that are a part of our mission.

Dear Friends, our representatives need to hear from you. Reach out by phone or in person to share your thoughts in a kind and well-informed way. Practicing these skills will help both you and our government work better.