It’s the beginning of the two-year legislative session, so within the next two weeks, we’ll introduce the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill in the State House again. Every session, we start from the beginning of the process but with more backing in the State House each session. Here’s how the process works:
- We’ll get a docket number.
- We’ll have a week to flood our state legislators (reps and senators) with requests to contact the lead sponsors to sign onto that docket number. Data shows that calling your legislators versus emailing them is the most effective way to get them to sign onto the bill since emails often just sit in an inbox. Once we have a docket number, we’ll send out information that will make it incredibly easy for you to do both. Look out for it on or around Monday, January 23rd.
- We’ll update you during the week of January 23-27 with who’s on board and who needs a nudge so you can ask colleagues, friends, and family to join in. We’ll try to beat our numbers last session, when we got 58 sponsors on board. That’s nearly one third of the entire State Legislature, growing from 39 sponsors the previous session and 13 the one before that.
- We’ll have a brand-new bill number to promote the bill with.
What to remember about this legislative session
If you’re exhausted by how long it’s taking to pass this bill, we get it. But don’t be. It’s a typical timeframe to pass a bill at the state level, and we’ve just about reached that point when bills gain enough momentum to pass. It’s how school bullying legislation passed, and it can happen with workplace bullying legislation, too. But there’s more:
We’re taking advantage of the national political climate to get in front of political activists who can help us build momentum even faster. There are more political rallies going on now than in my lifetime. And they’re full of people who want to create change —and know they have the power to do it. Help us reach out to them by sign holding at a major Boston event in the next week so we can get as many people as possible to contact their legislators to sponsor the bill.
We’re fine-tuning strategy in the State House. We’re getting a new House lead sponsor to replace our champion, retired Rep. Ellen Story. And we’re figuring out the best path for the bill to go through to pass this session.
We have the ears of the media. We’re working on some major media breakthroughs involving the workplace bullying connection with suicide that we hope will put some urgency behind this bill. This story has the potential to be huge. We’ll keep you looped in.
It’s a long process, but we’re not backing down.
No one deserves to go through what we went through. Help us be the voice for those who are suffering and still healing.
On May 30, we moved from a second reading to a third reading in the House. We now have two months — until July 31 — to complete the rest of the steps to turn the bill into law during this legislative session. What does having two months left mean for advocates? And why haven’t we had a strong push recently for contacting legislators?
Lobbyists push the Healthy Workplace Bill at the State House daily. They have strong insight into the politics that play a role into turning the bill into law. They’ll let us know the most effective strategy — a rally or push with calls and meetings with legislators, for example — and the best timing for that strategy in the next two months.
While we’re waiting for the best timing to act at the State House, we can act now to increase awareness in Massachusetts. In the next two months, we’ll continue to increase our contact lists to prepare to rally our volunteers. You can:
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper describing why you support the Healthy Workplace Bill. Read an example »
- Reach out to civil rights groups and unions about their possible support.
- Post a link to this slideshow on Facebook to educate others on the Healthy Workplace Bill: http://prezi.com/i1h9lcalopsx/healthy-workplace-bill/
- Share your personal story on our website. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sign the petition »
- Pass around the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Bill Fact Sheet or send a link to MAhealthyworkplace.com to those who have experienced or witnessed workplace bullying. Download the flyer »
- Join the Facebook group, Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter for updates on the progress of the bill.
- Write to employment lawyers, social workers, and psychologists about the Healthy Workplace Bill. Ask them to tell their clients about the bill. Download the letter template »
- Sign up for the Massachusetts Workplace Bullying Law e-newsletter. E-mail email@example.com.
- Tell friends and co-workers about the bill.
While bills generally take multiple two-year legislative sessions to become law, we’re hopeful that 2012 is the year that we’ll have a law in Massachusetts. We know that many bills become law at the end of the session. But we also know that we need to do everything we can now to turn the bill into law.