As a person with a developmental disability or as a parent supporting a person with a developmental disability, your opinion matters. Your elected officials represent you, but they can't do this effectively if they don't know what you want. Lawmakers look to us for reliable information, and with so many issues to learn about, your knowledge of developmental disabilities helps them do their job! Although contacting a legislator can be intimidating at first, working for change is not hard. Here's how:
It's not always easy to stay informed about laws that may affect people with developmental disabilities and their families. An important part of The Arc's mission is to keep people informed as important issues arise so you can consider them carefully and offer your input. For laws being considered at the state level, The Arc of Washington State is an excellent resource for information. The Arc of the United States follows laws at the national level and is also an excellent resource for information. Click the links below to learn more about issues at the state and national level.
• The Arc of Washington State
• The Arc of the United States
Join The Arc of Spokane's Parent Connection e-mail list. The list provides up-to-date information about legislation being considered. To be added to the Parent Connection e-mail list send an e-mail to: Jessy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org with "legislative" in the Subject box.
State senators are elected by voters in their districts to a 4-year term, and state representatives are elected for 2 years. To be a legislator, you must be at least 18 years old, live in your legislative district, and be a registered voter.
The Washington State Legislature holds regular sessions every year, beginning on the second Monday of January. Budgets are passed every two years, a period known as a biennium. A new biennium begins every odd-numbered year and lasts for 105 calendar days; this is called a "long session." Short session are held on even-numbered years and last for 60 days; this is called a "short session." Bills that do not pass during a long session are retained for the following short session. Bills are often considered by the legislature for several years before they are passed into law, and many bills never become law.
To contact your legislators, you need to know which legislative district you live in and who has been elected to represent that district. Click here to find out. If you need additional help, call The Arc of Spokane at (509) 328-6326. If you already know which legislative district you belong to, the links below will connect to each official's web page where you can find their contact information, learn their position on important topics or send a message:
THE FEDERAL LEGISLATURE
The United States Congress consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. They meet in Washington, D.C. and pass laws that affect all 50 states. The links below will connect you to each official's website where you can find contact information, learn more about their position on important issues or send a message:
Washington State's U.S. Senators are:
• Senator Patty Murray (Democrat)
• Senator Maria Cantwell (Democrat)
Eastern Washington's representative in the U.S. House of Representatives is:
• Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (Republican)