Just because we passed the House, doesn’t mean we get a break for a half time show.
I am in constant amazement at what home birthing families have accomplished in the last 12 months in Mississippi. You stopped a bill that would have restricted birth attendants to only OBs and Certified Nurse Midwives (resulting, in no homebirths). Then, you got organized and decided to get more proactive.
Now, we have proposed legislation that has been passed by the State House of Representatives (woo hoo!) The bill (HB207) is now in the hands of the Senate. The Senate committee on Public Health and Welfare will (hopefully) hold a hearing on the bill, then vote on whether or not the full Senate will have the chance to vote on the bill.
What have we learned in the last 6 weeks?
1 – Legislators don’t seem to want to pass ANY new legislation. They only address issues that are important to their constituents (YOU). In order to even get a committee hearing we have to let them know that this bill is IMPORTANT to their constituents.
2 – Legislators have VERY full plates. When in session, they vote on up to 50 bills a day. They simply do not have time to educate themselves on HB207. Emails may get a glance, but CONVERSATIONS are what really gets the job done.
We are back to square one. The Senators have hundreds of bills before them. Most have no idea that there is a midwife bill on the table, what it is about or who supports it.
1 – EMAIL: send emails to all of the Senators. They probably won’t read it, so put something like, “VOTE YES for the Midwife Safety Bill, HB207” in the subject line.
2 – CALL: Call your Senator over and over until you get him/her on the phone. Ask them to support the bill and tell them why. Then, listen to them. Find out what hesitations they may have about the bill. Answer their questions.
3 – GO TO JACKSON: Take a day off work, take the kids out of school – do whatever you have to do to get yourself to Jackson. Calls and emails are nothing compared to a face to face conversation. We have days scheduled when you can join a group at the Capitol. But, if that doesn’t work for you – go when you can. Let us know that you want to go and we will do everything we can to help you. Those in-person conversations are so extremely valuable that we will do anything we can to help get you to the capitol.
I assure you, our opposition has people in Jackson, talking to the Senators, telling them that home birth is not safe and should not be “endorsed” by the state.
Find your Senator here: http://www.capitolconnect.com/demoassoc1/legislatorsearch.aspx
Learn about him/her here: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/members/ss_membs.xml
Get Talking Points here: http://www.msfriendsofmidwives.org/advocacy.html
Ask for assistance from a Board Member here: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/note.php?note_id=176397355716428