Letter to a Government Official (Legislator)

Assignment Instructions

Purpose

In order to effectively lobby for or against an issue of concern, the Professional Nurse must be perceived as informed, professional and politically aware. This assignment is intended to help the student sharpen those skills, and perhaps even make an actual change in his or her community.

Remember the information about how an idea becomes a law? Well, here is your chance to influence the process! Have an idea of what you would like our government to do? Find out if there is already a Bill trying to survive the process and write to your Senator or Representative about it! Do you know of a Bill working its way through the process that you believe to be a horrible idea? Speak up!! Voice your opinion and desire to have the legislator who works for you vote it down!

General Instructions

Each student will choose a Bill that addresses an issue of concern to them or their community, that is connected to healthcare in an obvious way.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Staffing levels of RNs
  • Health education in schools
  • Tobacco cessation campaign efforts
  • Injury prevention
  • Licensure or RNs maintaining the oversight of nursing practice with the Board of Nursing, rather than the Board of Medicine.

Here are some links to help you find your Legislators, and a Bill that interests you:

Federal Bills:

In the search bar, type in a health-related topic of interest to you

https://www.congress.gov/ (Links to an external site.)

State Bills:

Florida Senate:

Bill List – The Florida Senate (flsenate.gov)Links to an external site.

Florida House of Representatives:

https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/bills.aspx

Students will draft a formal letter that may be sent to their legislator– the person who represents you and can vote on the issue

1. Draft a formal Business Letter to a Legislator to persuade them either to support or reject the legislation you have identified. The Bill must be pending (‘live’) legislation. Bills that are ‘Dead’, ‘Tabled’ or Enacted (signed into Law) are not appropriate for the assignment. 

2. The recipient must be someone who has power over (can vote on) the Bill of interest, and who represents you at the correct level of government! Please see the links above to find your legislators. You MUST put your actual address on the letter, so that the correct recipient (legislator) can be verified. (Cocoa Beach, Florida, Brevard County ,zip code 32927, USA)

3. Be sure that you write to the correct person. If you are concerned about a Bill in the U.S. Senate (Congress), write to your U.S. Senator. If the Bill is at the State level, be sure to write to your State Senator. In other words, write to the person who represents you, based on your address, and who is at the correct level of government for the Bill you have chosen! This is where students run into the most trouble, so please be careful!

4. Citations and references are not necessary in a business letter.

5. The letter should be no more than one page. Legislators are notoriously busy people, so being succinct (getting straight to the point and stating your request clearly) is absolutely essential!6. Actually, contacting the legislator is not required for the assignment.

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