Priority

Disclose Act – S. 443

To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to provide for additional disclosure requirements for corporations, labor organizations, Super PACs and other entities, and for other purposes.
Committee:
No items found.
Sponsor(s):
Actions & Additional Details

Bill Summary:

  • This bill addresses campaign finance, including by expanding the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals, requiring additional disclosures of campaign expenditures, and requiring additional disclosures regarding certain political advertisements.
  • First, the bill prohibits foreign nationals from participating in the decision-making process regarding an election expenditure.
  • Additionally, the bill expands existing foreign money prohibitions to include disbursements for paid web-based or digital communications and federal judicial nomination communications. It also prohibits foreign nationals from contributing to campaigns related to ballot initiatives and referenda.
  • The Federal Election Commission (FEC) must conduct an audit after each federal election cycle to determine the incidence of illicit foreign money.
  • Next, the bill makes it unlawful to establish or use a corporation, company, or other entity with the intent to conceal an election contribution or donation by a foreign national. A violator is subject to criminal penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to five years, or both.
  • Covered organizations (e.g., corporations, labor organizations, and political organizations) must, within 24 hours, file reports with the FEC to disclose campaign expenditures of more than $10,000 during an election cycle.
  • Finally, the bill requires organizations to provide additional disclosures regarding political advertisements, including the donors who contributed the most money to that organization in the last year.
Other Current Legislations
Priority
SB 5560 – Procedures for approval and submission of the redistricting plan
• Redistricting plan must include at least: (a) Maps showing the division of the state into congressional and legislative districts; and (b) complete descriptions of each district using official census units, such as tracts and blocks, sufficient to codify the plan. • The redistricting plan must be prepared and published and be made available to the public at the time the plan is submitted to the legislature. • The commission must make a redistricting plan publicly available at least 72 hours before voting to approve the plan. Once the plan has been made publicly available, any amendments to the plan must be debated and voted on in open session, and at least 24 hours must pass after any amendments are adopted before the commission may vote on final approval of the plan.
Priority
HJ Res. 48
Calls for a constitutional Amendment to reverse decisions like Citizens United and Buckley v Valeo, establishing that corporations & other legal entities cannot claim personhood, money is not a form of free speech, and political contributions need to be regulated and made public.
Priority
HB 1485 – Women's Suffrage Day a Legal Holiday
Designates March 22 to be a state legal holiday, recognized as Women's Suffrage Day.
Legislative Resources
How to Testify or Comment on a Bill in WA State
Download this Resource

How to Create and Send a Comment on a Bill:

Submitting Written Testimony

  • Select the committee and meeting date and time, then select the bill for which you would like to submit written testimony.
  • Select “I would like to Submit Written Testimony.” Written testimony will close 24 hours after the start time of the hearing.
  • Provide your written comments in the form. Your comments will be sent to legislative members and staff of the committee, and will be included in the legislative record for bill and meeting archival purposes, but will not be used as part of testimony summary materials on the bill report.

Participating Remotely in Committee Hearings:

How to Register to Testify Remotely

  • Select the committee and meeting date and time, then select the bill for which you would like to testify remotely.
  • Select “I would like to Testify Live During the Hearing.” Remote testimony registration will close 1 hour before the start time of the hearing. Anyone who does not register before this deadline will be unable to testify before the committee.
  • Ensure your registration information is accurate. It will be a part of the legislative record and used by TVW for online and television graphics.

Additional Information About Testifying

  • Those who register for remote testimony will be emailed a Zoom link to the meeting upon registration. Each link is unique to the registrant. Registrants are prohibited from sharing links.
  • You may participate via videoconference or phone. See instructions on how to connect to the meeting.
  • There is no guarantee that those who register to testify will be allowed to speak or be able to speak at specific times. You may be required to limit your comments.
  • Maintain proper meeting decorum, including waiting to be acknowledged by the Chair before speaking and following rules for testimony established by the Chair.
  • Committee and technical staff may not be able to address any connection or technical issues you may experience before or during the committee meeting.
Tips for Testifying
Download this Resource

Check The Schedule

Check the legislative website to know when a bill is scheduled to be heard. Be advised, schedules can change quickly, especially in the final days of a legislative session. You can also contact the legislative staff of the bill's prime sponsor to get an idea of when the bill might be heard in committee for public comment.

Know the Process and Players

Before testifying, know who is sponsoring the bill, who supports or opposes the bill and why. Be familiar with the committee chairs, committee members, and legislative staff. You may also let the sponsor of the bill or key legislators know beforehand you are testifying on the bill, especially if you are representing a group or organization. They may have specific points they want you to focus on.

Know the Purpose of Your Testimony

Understand why you are testifying. Are you there to persuade, dissuade, provide expertise, or delay action on a bill? Know how to separate out the important points of your testimony to ensure they are heard. Personal stories are a good way to illustrate your testimony and can make the biggest impact on committee members.

Essential Components of Your Testimony

  • Thank the committee for the opportunity to speak.
  • Identify yourself and where you live, as well as your organization (if applicable).
  • Clearly state your position and what you support or oppose in the proposed bill.
  • Refer to the bill by the bill number and be sure you are using the most recent version of the bill.
  • Summarize your recommendations first, then add explanations.
  • Wrap it up with a closing statement. Ask lawmakers to vote for or against the measure.
  • Stay within the time allotted by the committee. People are usually given around 2-3 minutes for testimony.
Citizen Lobbying Information
Download this Resource

Voting

  • Your ability to vote (and mobilize other voters) is your superpower in the lawmaking arena. The primary motivation of your legislators is getting reelected. The number and strength of democracy laws we are able to pass is directly proportional to the strength of our voting bloc.
  • Make sure that you are registered to vote and show up for all elections: federal, state and local. Please urge your family and friends to register as well. Voter turnout numbers are often abysmally low. In some jurisdictions, less than 10% of registered voters show up to vote in off-year elections, so those who do vote have a huge impact in those elections!
  • How one votes is private, but whether one votes is publicly available information and you can be sure that your elected officials know whether you vote or not—it’s a matter of their political survival. If you neither vote nor are perceived to influence other voters, legislators will not care nearly as much about what you think.

Build Strategic Coalitions with "Likely Voters"

  • Strive to form a partnership with people who exert the most influence on your elected official: "Likely voters" (constituents who vote regularly) and those in a position to influence likely voters. Join forces with community members and groups who may have the same positions as you even if for different reasons (e.g. teachers, church members, members of your local chamber of commerce, local universities, specific industries, etc.) all while encouraging these coalition partners to vote.
  • Note that it’s quality over quantity: An organized minority of likely voters is usually all it takes to swing elections, thus mobilizing them is the most efficient strategy for influencing an elected official.

Legislator Meetings

  • One of the most powerful ways to foster effective, professional relationships with your federal, state and local legislators is to set up short, in-person meetings with their district offices at least once or twice each year. These meetings have the most impact because legislators know that engaged constituents are more likely to vote.
  • Set up, prepare for and actively participate in meetings with your legislators.

Do Your Research

  • You don't need to be an expert on the issues you're lobbying on, but you should know the basics.
  • Keep track of bills you are interested in and know who is the prime sponsor and cosponsors of the bill. During the legislative session, regularly check the status of the bills and see when Congress is in session.
  • Review existing talking points for those bills and become familiar with them.
  • Bring the fact sheets with you to your meeting, plus any relevant published letters to the editor, news stories and local ordinances and resolutions that support your position, as well as any articles that highlight your legislators’ positions in relation to the issues, if they’re available; politicians are keenly interested in the public’s perception of them.
  • Visit official legislator websites to gain insight about the legislator's background, interests, and positions, which could come in handy during your meeting.
  • Look for common ground and cultivate mutual areas of interest to help build effective, long-term relationships.
  • Getting to know your local elected officials now can help even more in the future. Today's city council member could be tomorrow's governor!

Schedule Your Meeting

  • Go to your elected official’s website and find the district office closest to you. Call the number and ask to set up a meeting with the staff member who works on animal protection issues. State your name and let the staff member know that you’re a voting constituent from your city and that the purpose of the meeting is to review the HSUS's priority animal protection legislation.
  • These meetings usually last 15 to 30 minutes. Invite your friends, members of your network and/or coalition to attend with you if they live in your congressional or state legislative district. Be sure to let the office know if you’ll be bringing additional people—there’s power in numbers!
  • Note that you will likely meet with a staff member; the staff members are the eyes and ears of the lawmakers and they can have tremendous influence over issues and policy decisions. Establishing a positive relationship with staff members is vital!

Be Polite, Professional and On Time

  • State your views firmly but be friendly and courteous, even if the legislator disagrees with you.
  • Avoid party politics, as you often will need support on both sides of the aisle.
  • Dress professionally; legislative offices are more likely to be persuaded by folks in business attire.
  • Make sure to arrive on time!
  • Make eye contact, smile and convey a positive attitude.

Introduce Yourself as a Constituent Who Votes

  • Only lobby your own legislators; it’s a waste of time to contact a legislator who doesn’t represent you and sends a red flag that you or the pro-democracy movement might not be very politically savvy.
  • Introduce yourself and everyone in your group, including representatives from any associated organizations.
  • Use your own judgement about whether to highlight your affiliation with other organizations or to just represent yourself as a constituent. If you know that your legislator dislikes certain groups or organizations, then just note that you’re a voting constituent.
  • Begin with a compliment—state how good their voting record is on animal protection issues. If they don’t have a good record on animals, try to find another area that you agree on, such as education or transportation. If you can’t do that, simply begin by thanking the legislator or staff member for taking the time to meet with you.
  • Thank your Representative or Senators’ staff members for the bills they have cosponsored and ask them to do what they can to rally support for those bills among their colleagues.

Making Your Ask & Providing Materials

  • Provide both the bill number, name and description of the bill. Legislators and staff deal with hundreds of bills and should not be expected to remember bill numbers.
  • Be clear, polite and concise about what you’re asking for. Common “asks” include support or opposition on a bill or to co-sponsor legislation.
  • At the beginning of the meeting, provide your legislators or their staff members with the fact sheets for the bills that you will be discussing, as well as any other materials including relevant published letters to the editor.
  • Keep the information you leave them with minimal and strictly related to the topics you discuss.
  • Use any talking points that you have researched and prepared.
  • Articulate concisely. Explain why you are concerned about the issue.
  • Share relevant personal stories that are specific to your community and the bill(s) you’re advocating for. The more personal you can make it to yourself, and the more grounded in the district, the better.
  • Highlight community connections. Mention your community involvement and relationships with groups.
  • Explain why you are concerned about an issue and how it affects you, your family and your community.
  • Identify yourself as a parent, businessperson, teacher, church member, etc. to signal that you can influence other constituents of theirs who are likely to vote.
  • Highlight your professional relationships with community members who have an impact on pro-democracy policies.
  • Stick to the facts. Be truthful and honest. You don't need to be an expert on the issue; your influence lies not just in the merits of the issues, but in your ability to vote and influence others in your legislator’s district.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, simply let them know you will find out and get back to them.
  • Listen. After presenting your message, let the legislator or staff member respond to the issues you raise. Their comments and questions will give you cues on how to frame your arguments and what additional information might be useful. Listening, and showing that you’re listening by summarizing what they say back to them and responding to their questions, is one key to building an effective, long-term relationship.

Other Important Tips and Follow Up

  • Keep meetings short. Between 10 and 20 minutes. While legislators and their staff members want to meet with constituents from their districts, they’re very busy and appreciate short meetings.
  • After your meeting, contact your state director to find the answer for you. Circling back with your legislator’s office presents a valuable opportunity to continue building a relationship and trust.
  • Be flexible. Sometimes compromise is a must.
  • Don’t forget to follow up with any additional information that was requested.
  • Take a photo with your legislator and the staff member at the end of your meeting; post the photo and tag your legislator with a public message of appreciation on social media.
  • Thank your legislators and/or staff members who took the time to meet with you by sending handwritten thank you cards.
  • Keep in touch after the meeting. If a legislator takes the action you requested, be sure to thank them both privately and publicly for taking that action.
  • Legislators often hear from constituents who are upset but they rarely receive thank you.
  • Even if your legislator doesn’t agree with you on a specific issue, you may find common ground on another issue.
  • Offer to be a resource for them and keep in touch!
  • After in-person meetings, phone calls are the next most impactful, followed by emails. When you communicate through email, you can increase your efficacy by following up with a phone call or personal visit.