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Lyme Disease Legislation - Lobby Day and Hearing at State House - 10/20

Type:  Featured News  
MALSCE is supporting two bills related to Lyme Disease that have been filed in the Massachusetts Legislature. We are working with the Massachusetts Lyme Legislative Task Force to support two Lyme insurance bills, H. 901 and S. 502, An Act Relative to Lyme Disease Treatment Coverage.
These two bills had their public hearing on Tuesday, October 20 at 11:00 am in the Gardner Auditorium at the State House.  MALSCE Member (and Past President) David Humphrey, PLS will testify in support of these bills and we are seeking other members to also support, on October 20 and at other times.
The Massachusetts Lyme Legislative Task Force is organizing a Lobby Day in support of S. 502 and H. 901.  The Lobby Day will be held on October 20, the same day as the hearing, to maximize grassroots participation from MALSCE and others at the State House:
Lyme Disease Lobby Day:
Tuesday, October 20
9:30 AM to 10:45 AM
House Members' Lounge - State House, Room 350
Legislative Hearing:
Gardner Auditorium
Tuesday, October 20 (same day)
11:00 am
Representative Linsky, the sponsor of H.901, is sponsoring the Lobby Day and will address the group at that time.  The Massachusetts Lyme Legislative Task Force will be distributing legislative packets for participants to deliver to legislators, as well as "Lyme" green ribbons for participants and legislators to wear.  
Action Items: 
1.  Please call the offices of your legislators in advance to schedule an appointment for that day. You can find your legislator's contact information by clicking on this link:
2.  Try to set a meeting with your State Senator and State Representative or their aides, based on where you live and vote.
3.  If you canot attend the lobby day or arrive late, you can go to the reception area of Representative Linsky's office:  Room 146 at the State House.
4.  Please see below for tips for connecting with your legislators.
We will be posting more information and reminders as the date approaches.  In the meantime, please continue to prepare your written testimony!  If you have any questions or would like assistance with any of this, you can reach the Massachusetts Lyme Legislative Task Force at: lymebill@gmail.com
Connecting with Your Massachusetts State Legislators 
1. Your legislators want to hear what you have to say. Legislators want to meet and speak with their constituents. Most people run for elective office because they want to make a difference. Contact your legislator and know that she or he sincerely wants to hear what you have to say. Your voice and your vote count.
2. Meet with your legislator. It is very easy to set up a time to meet with your legislator. You can call his or her office and tell the legislative aide what day and time you will be visiting the State House. You can call both your state representative and state senator. Your legislator will either meet you him or herself, or have a staff member meet with you. The more notice you are able to give him or her about your visit, the better your chances of meeting with your legislator, instead of one of the staff.
Generally, legislators are in their State House offices Monday through Thursday. You can also set up an appointment to meet with your legislator at his or her district office which will be somewhere in the geographic area he or she represents. Legislators are usually in their district offices on Fridays and during late summer when the legislature is not in session. (You can find your legislator's name and contact info here: http://www.malegislature.gov/People/FindMyLegislator
3. Keep it simple. You do not have to go armed with facts and figures. Most legislators just want to hear your family’s story. Try to keep your comments focused. Think about the main points that you want to convey.
4. You are your own best advocate.You and your family may be the first Lyme patients your legislator has met. She or he may be unaware of the impact of Lyme, or may have preconceived ideas about it.  Direct contact with patients and their families conveys essential information, and helps to put a human face on the disease.  These connections can help her or him see that Lyme patients are their constituents and that their needs must be served.
5. See your visit as an educational experience. Visiting your legislator is an empowering experience for both you and your family. It is a learning experience for children to see that they have a voice in representative government.  Most legislators sincerely enjoy meeting and talking to children. You and your children can prepare for the visit by visiting the Massachusetts General Court web site, especially the page on the lawmaking process http://www.malegislature.gov/Engage/HowIdeaBecomesLaw.
Younger children might enjoy the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Kids' Zone: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/ciskid/kididx.htm. Relax, and enjoy the time you spend with your legislators.
6. Follow up your visit with a thank you letter. It is always a good idea to personally thank your legislator for taking the time to meet with you and your family. 


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