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Tis the Season, the Legislative Season That Is

Virginia legislative sessionBy Cathy Jameson

It doesn’t feel like we’ve tiptoed into 2023.  Some days, it feels like we’re barreling through it.  It especially felt like that when I flipped the calendar page from January to February last week.  When I got an action alert from the NVIC last week also, I knew for sure that time was flying by.  The type of email they send this time of year means that legislative season is under way in my state.  Curious about which other states were also in session, I was floored when I looked at the map. 

CJ map

Screenshot from NCLS.org

I’ve written about this topic several times but had completely forgot how many states are at work right now. 

Quite a few are!

You know what that means?

Across the country, representatives are talking about all sorts of topics that will affect all sorts of people – including you and me.  It also means that vaccine bills are back.  Unless you subscribe to an outlet, like NVIC, that reports on vaccine-related legislative issues, some people may not know this. 

Take a look at the most pressing bills NVIC has shared in their advocacy portal.  Two things jumped out at me when I saw the current concerns:  prior session vaccine legislation in Washington, D.C. rolled into 2023’s session with the push for B24-0942. And check out how many bills are were proposed in the commonwealth of Virginia!  The time to speak up there is now.   

CJ NVIC action alert

[To get an idea of what’s going on locally in your state, and not just about vaccines, search the LegiScan portal.]

Are these elected people really speaking for you?  If they are, let them know.  If they are not, you have several ways to reach out to them.  The quickest way, in my experience, is to send a message via email.  I might not get a personal reply, but I send a message hoping that my thoughts have been registered in their official communication log.  After I email, if I have a quiet minute, I will call a representative’s office directly.  I don’t always get a live human being on the line, so I have a drafted message ready to read when I leave a voicemail:   “Hi ____,  My name is Cathy, and I’m calling about (name of bill).  I’m requesting that you please (oppose/support) because (I may include a personal reason – or I will state why this bill would be great or horrible).  Please reach out to me if you’d like more information from me.  Thank you very much for your time.”

If you’ve got the time, head over to the statehouse and attend the hearings.  Those days can be long and very tiring.  I may never get to voice my opinion while there, but I find that I learn so much by just being present. 

Cj NVIC freedom

Every day is a good day to fight for your rights!  Photo from 2016 when the kids and I took a little road trip to the statehouse.

If you have a very pressing issue that needs a face-to-face, sit-down meeting, call the representative’s office, and schedule an appointment.  For some, a face-to-face meeting may feel a bit intimidating.  But remember, they work for you!  You can ask to speak to the staffer who oversees that specific legislation you are most concerned about as well as request a meeting with the representative themself.  If you don’t know who represents you, look for that information, as well as how to contact them, on this list

It can be overwhelming and exhausting and feel like Groundhog day, especially when elected officials are not listening to their constituents.  Several groups make it their mission to keep the people informed before those bad bills turn into overreaching laws.  They keep us in the know and also encourage us to keep us going on during those exhausting moments.  Besides NVIC, groups like Health Choice, https://healthchoice.org/affiliates/ Autism Action Network, and Children’s Health Defense work year-round on our behalf.  I consider each to be great organizations to follow and support.  If you like what you see them doing, join their email list and share their efforts in your circle of friends and family.  Just last week I was able to forward the recent bills-to-watch information NVIC emailed me to another like-minded mama.  This mama has tippy toed into the realm of vaccines and was grateful for what I shared.  The more she reads and understands just how far-reaching this topic goes, I believe, in time, she’ll have the confidence to also speak up for herself. 

From when it begins and ends, each state’s legislative season is different.  As quickly as some states start meeting formally, their season will be over.  If your state is active now, I highly recommend taking time to read what’s already being discussed.  If you can’t be at a hearing, find a broadcast link to tune in.  If you want to share your thoughts on something that concerns you, do that. 

Speak up now. 

Do that for yourself and for your family. 

And know that your action, even if you live in a different state, has the potential to help countless other families, mine included. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.


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Laura Hayes

Check out this bill in WY:


Great to see the CDC and WHO specifically named as harmful and tyrannical entities from which protection is needed.

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