Federal Legislative Toolkit

Welcome to the DSC Federal Legislative Toolkit. Our goal is to offer a one-stop-shop of resources to assist you with your federal advocacy needs. We will update the page periodically to ensure you have the best, most recent and relevant information. Please contact us at [email protected]ools.org if there is additional information that will assist you in your federal advocacy work.

Look Up Your Federal Representatives

The United States congress consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Members in the House of Representatives are elected to a two-year term and represent a congressional district within your State. Your Senator is elected to a six-year term and represents the entire state. Members of the House and Senate are responsible for FEDERAL legislation and do not have jurisdiction over State law.

• Click here to locate your member in the House of Representatives

• Click here to locate your Senator

Contacting Your Representatives to Schedule a Visit

Meeting with your member of Congress, or their staff, is a great way to influence and impact legislation. When scheduling a meeting it is important to know when members are in session in Washington DC, or in recess working at home in your state. When members are in recess, also known as district work periods, it is a great time to schedule meetings in the state district office. Use the congressional calendars below to find out when your member is in session or recess. Dates in blue are days the House and Senate are in Session. All other Days, with the exception of Federal Holidays and weekends, are district work periods.

• Click here to download the House Calendar

• Click here to download the Senate Calendar

Congressional Committees

A congressional committee is a group of selected members of Congress that focus on particular legislation issues. Committees also have Subcommittees that are assigned specific issues under the umbrella issue area (i.e. the House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement). Committee membership enables members to develop specialized knowledge of the matters under their jurisdiction. The committees monitor ongoing governmental operations, identify issues suitable for legislative review, consider legislation under their jurisdiction, gather and evaluate information, and recommend courses of action to the full congress.

Committees also decide which bill and resolutions move forward to consideration by the full House and Senate. Committee chairman have enormous influence over this process. The political party that is in the majority (with the highest number of members in the chamber—the House or the Senate) takes the lead on Committees, meaning that Committee chairs represent the majority party of the House or the Senate. The party in the minority has a designated “Ranking Member” who is the highest ranking member of the Minority Party. For example, Rep. John Kline of Minnesota is currently the Chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee and Rep. Bobby Scott is the Ranking Democrat on the Education and the Workforce Committee.

Committees with jurisdiction over our work on school discipline and school climate are the following committees:

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Workforce Committee (HELP): This Senate committee has jurisdiction over matters relating to health, education and training and public welfare. Click below to learn more about the Senate HELP Committee.

Senate HELP Committee

The Education and The Workforce Committee: This House committee has jurisdiction over matters relating to education and the workforce. Click below to learn more about the Education and The Workforce Committee.

House Education and The Workforce Committee

Democrats Education and The Workforce Committee

LEGISLATIVE PROCESS -The legislative process can seem overwhelming. This easy to follow flowchart can help you understand the process of how a bill becomes a law.

Legislative Process Flow Chart

Understanding the Legislative Process

(Source: hobnobblog.com)

SHARING YOUR STORY – Sharing personal stories are a very effective way to help legislators and policy makers understand how issues, policies and legislation affect real people in real ways. This document will help you craft a memorable story to share with your legislators.

Story Mapping Tool

ADVOCACY TIPS – This advocacy packet offers practical tips, strategies and tools you can use when meeting with your legislator.

Advocacy Packet