Action of the Week 3/21/21: Civic Engagement Toolkit Part Two

Civic Engagement Toolkit Part Two: Resources for Issues, Bills, and Votes

Time required: Five minutes to save this information and take a quick look at the sites—or an informative hour or more when you start looking into voting records and upcoming legislation.

Goal: Being informed and ready to act

Federal:

  • Congress.gov — Official Congressional site.  Easy to use. Search for the bill(s) you’re interested in, and see what’s currently up for votes.
  • GovTrack.us – Non-government site. Provides updates on bills’ progress, outlines and full text, and even study guides. Voting records on the House and Senate floor are available for every bill as well.
  • https://votespotter.com Downloadable app.
  • https://votespotter.com/community/ Blog with current bills and votes
  • https://clerk.house.gov/Votes If you already know what a bill is about, this is a quick way to check on your representative’s votes. All bills recently voted on are listed. For any bill, you can search votes by party or by state.
  • https://www.senate.gov/legislative/votes_new.htm This is even briefer than the house info. Daily updates on roll call votes.

State:

https://retakeourdemocracy.org/

This group provides an all-in-one site for information and activism. The best resource for New Mexico legislation. The session just ended, but while the legislature is meeting, Retake sends regular updates on bills coming up for votes so you can make your voice heard.

The state legislature site https://www.nmlegis.gov/ strikes me as cumbersome for tracking votes and legislation. (If anyone has any easy way to navigate it, let me know before the next session.)

 State and National:

This site, https://justfacts.votesmart.org, provides information on key votes, politicians’ stands on issues, their funding sources, and endorsements and ratings they have received. You have to know what the organization doing the rating or endorsing stands for to understand the meaning of their endorsement, but that’s a small drawback. You can search voting records by issue category, such as environment or energy. It appears few people (if any) take the site’s Political Courage Test by answering a fixed set of questions. However, the site’s authors quote politicians who didn’t take the “test” making strong public statements on controversial issues, so the test is irrelevant. This is still an excellent resource.

If you missed the Civic Engagement Toolkit Part One—public officials’ contact info—here’s the link.  Put the two parts together and you’re equipped to create your own actions to share with others.

Four January opportunities to be active in your community

Monday, January 6 at 5:30 p.m.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Fellowship Hall
407 Cedar, TorC
Guest Speaker: Paul Gibson, co-founder of Retake Our Democracy, explains how we can help to advance priority legislation in the upcoming NM legislative session and why Retake believes conservative Democrats in the NM Senate must be replaced.
Sierra County Democratic Party Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, January 15 at 5:30 p.m.
Sea Properties
108 Main, T or C
Guest Speaker: Neomi Martinez-Parra, former state Democratic Party vice chair, who is vying against veteran NM Senator John Arthur Smith to become the Democratic nominee for our District 35 Senate seat.
“Women Rising”: Fourth Annual T or C Women’s March
Saturday, January 18
Organized by Women United of Sierra County. Time, location and program to be announced soon.
T or C City Commissioners Candidates Forum
Monday, January 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Civic Center, 400 W. Fourth, TorC
Organized by Sierra County Indivisible
Meet and question what promises to be a crowded field of candidates running for the three of five commission seats up for election on March 2. Your chance to determine, before early voting begins on February 4, who is best equipped to lead us forward.