Every decision that impacts the professional life of each IEA member is a decision made by an elected official. That is why it is crucial that IEA members participate in the IEA Educators Talking to Legislators opportunity.
What is “Educators Talking to Legislators”?
The Educators Talking to Legislators opportunity gives IEA members the opportunity to educate policymakers what education employees need to help students. A good time to meet legislators face-to-face is in their home districts when the legislature is not in Springfield.
Legislators understand how important it is for them to meet with their constituents and the legislator’s home district is convenient for IEA members to have a conversation and explain what they want and expect from their elected officials.
Other opportunities to talk with legislators back home include inviting a legislator to participate in a school tour or attend an after-school meeting or local union social event.
When should IEA members schedule meetings with legislators?
Legislators are home on break from Springfield the first two weeks of April (March 30-April 13). Anytime legislators are not scheduled to be in Springfield is a good time to schedule a meeting in the district office with the people who make the laws that dictate teaching and learning conditions.
How will “Educators talking to legislators” work?
The IPACE Executive Committee is encouraging members to use existing teams that consist of their Region Chair, UniServ Director and Grassroots Political Activists (GPA) to schedule and attend meetings.
If you already have a system in place for your region or office to convene your political action team, please use the existing system. If not, the IEA UniServ Directors will initiate a conversation with the Region Chair and GPA (where applicable) to determine the optimal time to set up a meeting with the local legislator. GPA’s will contact the legislator and work to schedule the meeting. Region Chairs and staff will work on turning out our members to attend the meeting. Associate staff will assist in the coordination of logistics for the meetings. Our IEA lobbyists are available to support our efforts.
We believe that home district meetings will result in a positive experience for our members and provide legislators with the opportunity to hear first-hand the interests and concerns of IEA members.
The request for funds will need to be made in advance to the IPACE Executive Committee using the Educators Talking to Legislators Request Form.
What resources are available for in-district meetings?
There will be limited resources available, based upon need and upon request, to ensure that our members are unencumbered in their efforts to meet with their legislators. Regions may request up to $300 to cover the costs of food, beverages and facilities. Transportation cost will not be reimbursed for in-district meetings.
Will there be opportunities to talk to legislators in Springfield?
In the months of April, May and possibly into the summer, there will be opportunities for smaller groups to come to Springfield and meet with their legislators. Smaller meetings provide members an opportunity to experience lobbying at the state Capitol, where things are always interesting in the springtime.
All too often in recent years, on large-scale Lobby Days, IEA members have been unable to schedule face-to-face meetings with their legislators. Allowing groups to come when it is convenient for them, and when they know they will get to meet with their legislators, is a better alternative.
If your group decides to come to Springfield to meet with your legislator, we would request that you provide the following information in advance:
- When you are planning to come to Springfield
- Which legislator(s) you will be meeting with
- How many members from your area will be attending
- Any request for resources.
Transportation costs will be reimbursed at .20 cents/mile.
Updated fact sheets on the various issues before the General Assembly are available on the Legislative Fact Sheet page. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the Government Relations department.