How to advocate effectively at your state legislators’ town halls

Photo: Vira Douangmany Cage, former ACLU of Massachusetts Springfield Organizer, testifies about her family member’s five years in solitary confinement, as Rahsaan Hall, Director of the Racial Justice Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, looks on.

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Find a town hall or listening session

Commonwealth Conversations

In spring of 2017, the Massachusetts State Senate is conducting a series of regional forums throughout the state, known as Commonwealth Conversations. A number of local Senators will attend each regional event. They want to hear from you! Find the forum in your area.

Other town hall events

State senators and representatives periodically hold local town halls or public listening sessions in their districts to hear from constituents. Keep an eye on your legislators’ websites and social media to find out about upcoming events you can attend.

 

Ask Your State Legislators about the ACLU Freedom Agenda

The ACLU Freedom Agenda is our plan for shoring up existing protections in the Bay State, and moving freedom forward—both locally and nationally. This isn’t a time for business as usual.

Read more about these bills.

 

Fundamental Freedoms Act
Sen. Chandler S.787 | Rep. Kaufman H.873

Protect Massachusetts residents from two kinds of anti-democratic government monitoring by (1) barring state participation in any discriminatory “registration” system based on religion, national origin or other protected identity, and (2) preventing government collection of information about residents’ protected First Amendment activity—speech, association and religion—without reasonable suspicion that they are involved in a crime.

Safe Communities Act
Sen. Eldridge S.1305 | Rep. Matias H.3269

Protect all state residents by ensuring that state resources are not used to enforce federal immigration law.

Electronic Privacy Act
Sen. Spilka S.943 | Rep. Peake H.2332

Update legal protections from searches and seizures to make sure they keep pace with technology. Require a warrant for government to access information about your private phone and internet use.

Mandatory Minimums Repeal
Sen. Creem S.819 | Rep. Carvalho H.741

Repeal mandatory minimum sentences for all drug offenses and allow people now serving such sentences to become eligible for parole. Mandatory sentencing laws are unfair, ineffective and costly.

 

Questions civil libertarians are asking:

  • With the federal government attacking civil liberties, state legislatures have an expanded role to play in safeguarding our communities, our rights and our core values. What concrete legislative action do you support to [prevent discrimination based on religion or national origin OR defend immigrants against roundups and deportation OR protect freedom of speech OR guard against unwarranted surveillance]?
  • President Trump campaigned on a promise to establish a discriminatory registration system based on religion or national origin. That goes against everything our state stands for. Do you support the Fundamental Freedoms Act, which would prevent Massachusetts from participating in any way in such a discriminatory registry?
  • Immigrants in Massachusetts are now living in acute fear of widespread deportation actions including dragnet roundups and raids. Do you support the Safe Communities Act, which would make sure state, county, and local officials play no role in enforcing federal immigration law?
  • Do you support the Electronic Privacy Act, which would require a warrant for government to access information about your private phone and internet use?
  • Mandatory minimum sentencing laws are unfair, ineffective and costly. They undermine our judicial system by making prosecutors’ decisions more important than judges’ decisions, and contribute to destructive racial disparities in sentencing. Do you support repealing all mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses?
  • How will you make your support known to legislative leadership?

 

Amplify on social media!

Social media is a great way to engage with your state legislators and bring public attention to important issues, whether or not you can attend a local forum in person.

Follow the ACLU of Massachusetts

Twitter: @ACLU_Mass
Facebook: facebook.com/aclumass
Hashtag: #FreedomAgenda
Webpage: ACLU Freedom Agenda

Sign up to receive emails from the ACLU of Massachusetts and take action.

Follow the Senate Commonwealth Conversations

Twitter: @MA_Senate
Facebook: facebook.com/CommonwealthConvos
Hashtag: #MAConvos (also, see the website for region-specific hashtags)
Website: Commonwealth Conversations

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