When writing your letter, always refer to the issue by its bill name and number. You can look up the name and address of your local legislator at http://mlis.state.md.us. The following page outlines is a list of specific do’s and don’ts that you should consider when writing to your legislator.

Letter to the Legislator

Communicating With Your Legislator–

As part of the class on Health Policy and Politics, students are required to write a letter to their legislator. The letters to the legislator will be evaluated for content, form, and clarity.

This assignment will help the student become an active participant in the policy-making arena, which directly affects the nursing profession and our country at large. Included are suggestions for effective written communication to your legislator. The importance of letter writing should not be underestimated as it has been rated by Congress as the number one means of communicating with the legislator. Letters that are written to the legislator are usually reviewed by staff and the various view points are tabulated. Letters with significant opinions or information are directed to the legislator for individual consideration. It is important to note that form letters and post cards receive the least amount of attention from the legislator. Therefore, it is most appropriate to create a letter which is thoughtful and reflects an informed opinion. 

You (the student) are required to create a letter to the legislator in your home district related to a current senate/house bill. You will choose a current health care legislative issue and draft a well written letter to your legislator discussing your opinion regarding the bill. Search  http://mlis.state.md.us/# bill to find a health care related bill of interest to you. Attach a brief summary of the bill along with your letter.

When writing your letter, always refer to the issue by its bill name and number. You can look up the name and address of your local legislator at http://mlis.state.md.us. The following page outlines is a list of specific do’s and don’ts that you should consider when writing to your legislator.

Communicating With Your Legislator

As part of the class on Health Policy and Politics, students are required to write a letter to their legislator. The letters to the legislator will be evaluated for content, form, and clarity. Five points will be deducted each day the paper is late.

Grading Criteria
Informing the legislator about the constituents who are affected by the bill; suggest visits to programs in his or her area.10 points
Clearly identify the bill, using title and number.5 points
Addressing your letter to the appropriate legislator.5 points
Identify yourself (occupation, hometown, member of organization, i.e. ASNA).5 points
Type the letter using correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.Be courteous, brief, and to the point.10 points
Provide pertinent reasons for your stand. Be constructive, and provide expert knowledge when possible. Reasons were expressed in a clear and organized manner.25 points
Show your legislator how the issue relates to his or her district.25 points
Write letters at appropriate times, for example, when a bill is in committee request action that is appropriate for that stage in the legislative process.5 points
Attach a brief summary of the bill along with your letter.10 points

***~~ See ‘Be a legislative advocate’, By Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC

January/February 2017 Nursing made Incredibly Easy! 55