Thursday, November 18, 2010

Springfield - what happened and what's next!

Thank you to everyone who has tirelessly called, written and visited their legislators. Thanks especially to those who made the trip to Springfield. All efforts have really been paying off. So much has happened this week.

First, we made a big impression in Springfield Wednesday! Mothers, babies and "Got Midwife" T-shirts and stickers were everywhere. We spent the early morning visiting reps and responding to their concerns about the Home Birth Safety Act. Then, late in the morning, the bill was called. Before a debate could begin, west suburban legislator Patty Bellock requested a fiscal note. This is a procedure where the department of professional regulation (IDFPR) must estimate how much money our bill will cost the state before the bill can move forward.

The fiscal note was filed today, Thursday According to the note there will be a total fiscal impact to IDFPR of $115,896.00 Also today, Representative Bellock withdrew her request.
Our status now? The bill is not dead. Now that the fiscal note stalling tactic has ended, we will be asking for a floor vote when our legislators come back the week after Thanksgiving. We are not yet sure if it will be Tuesday November 30th or Wednesday, December 1st. Please hold both dates if you can, for now.
Between now and then we must gain as many new yes votes as possible in order to be certain of victory.

Here is what we have to do:

1 - Please call the Governor's office today and
Thank him for his support of the Home Birth Safety Act and
Ask him to PLEASE help us get it passed. The Governor's # is 217-782-0244

2 - We need to keep pushing.

Dan gave an inspiring speech in the Capitol yesterday. He mentioned that we have gotten farther than anyone thought we could. (When the secretaries were telling us the bill was dead, everyone really thought the bill was dead.) Dan reinforced that our progress is all due to our grassroots organization. When the legislators see our faces... when the legislators know we are following their votes on a bill; they respond. We saw that Wednesday. We saw legislators come out and talk to us for the first time ever. (And some of these guys have been hearing from us for years).

So.... We need to get our faces in front of these people. District office visits. Try to get an appointment with your rep for early next week. If you can't get an appointment, drop in. If your legislator is already a yes voter, stop in anyway and ask if they have any suggestions for convincing other legislators. Maybe your legislator could even talk to another legislator about the bill? If your legislator is not a yes, please try to find out what their objection is.

Please report back to the coalition for feedback and suggestions.

3 - It is URGENT that we increase the number of individuals calling their legislators.

PLEASE find a way to contact friends or family members today or tomorrow asking them to do ONE of the following things:

a) Call their Representative asking how they will vote on SB 3712. Let the Rep. know they support this bill and if the Rep. doesn't have a position on it, the friend would like a call back to know when the Rep. has decided.

b) Go see their Representative (either by making an appt. or just dropping in). Bring a handwritten note and maybe even a plate of m&m cookies (or just a bag of m&m's) and ask for the Reps. support. If you can get a group of friends to go in to the Reps. office together to do this, even better!

c) Have your friends write notes to their Reps. asking their support for SB 3712, the Homebirth Safety Act.

ALL forms of communication should be followed up by another phone call asking how the Rep will vote - unless you already got a firm yes or no on the phone previously. If your Rep. already supports, still have people call. Ask them just to thank their Rep. for his/her support. All Reps. need to hear from constituents because they are all being pressured by the ISMS to vote against our bill.

If you can help your friend by looking up their Rep for them, giving them the phone number and writing out a "script" for them, all the better. They need to know how easy is to make the call or write the letter.

Please report back any and all contact to the Reps to Jamie at charis490@gmail.coom

4 - Finally, please join in our fundraising efforts! Those of you who heard Dan speak at the capitol will know why we value his help so much. Fundraising helps pay his salary. The Upstate / Downstate challenge is still in place. Downstate families are ahead, having raised over $1000 with the help of matching donor funds. The Chicago women have sold over $500 in tickets to Saturday night's wine tasting and they have a wonderful night planned. Please join us if you can, or find a way to donate to either team - upstate or down.

Thanks so much and KEEP PUSHING!! The end is in sight. LET'S MAKE IT A VERY HAPPY ENDING!!

more to come soon

The Coalition Board -
Rachel, Toney, Vicki, Michelle, Jamie, Jennifer, Hilary, Audrey

PS - we made the news in Decatur Check it out!!

Rachel Dolan Wickersham, CD(DONA), LCCE
president, Coalition for Illinois Midwifery
vice president, Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives

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