Virtual Advocacy During the 2021 Legislative Session
The resources on this page can help you connect with your
legislator's office during the 2021 Washington State Legislative
Session to plan a virtual meeting that works with your schedule.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Washington State
Legislative Session will be held largely remotely, with the Capitol
closed to the public in deference to public health guidelines. While
WSMA's government affairs team will continue to advocate for the house
of medicine in this new virtual setting, there's still no substitute
for physicians connecting directly with their local legislators. The
experience and knowledge of physicians can provide critical context for
lawmakers as they consider policy changes that impact the practice of
If you have questions, email Alex Wehinger at
FAQ on Meeting with Your Legislators
How do I know who my state legislators are?
Use the Legislature's
District Finder to
identify your state legislators. Be sure to enter your home address.
Make sure the preferred district type is legislative (you can also use
this feature to look up your congressional representatives). Once your
district is located, the names of three state legislators will appear:
one state senator and two state representatives.
Where can I find contact information for my state
The Legislature's website features a
directory for Washington state senators
directory for Washington state representatives. Legislators are listed in alphabetical order by last name. These
directories also include links to the legislator's website, their
contact information, party affiliation, leadership positions, and the
committees the legislator serves on.
a roster of all House and Senate members
is available, along with their contact information and their
How should I reach out to my state legislators to request a
Email is the preferred method of communication during session. Send
your meeting request to your legislator and be sure to ‘cc' their
legislative assistant. These assistants keep legislators' schedules, so
your odds of getting a meeting will be increased.
Make sure the subject line of the email can clearly be identified as a
meeting request. If you are a constituent, include that too as
legislators make every attempt to connect with folks in their
legislative district. You may also include the topic of the meeting –
if you are reaching out to discuss WSMA's
2021 legislative priorities
simply put ‘WSMA priorities.' If you are reaching out on a specific
issue, name it.
Example subject line: Physician constituent meeting request / WSMA
The body of the email needs to include six things:
- Your name/affiliation and contact information
Whether you are a constituent (you may want to include your address,
so the office can confirm you are a constituent).
- A request for a virtual meeting with your legislator
- The topic of the meeting
- A timeframe for the meeting (e.g., "in the next two weeks")
Your availability (legislators will have very strict schedules
during session and while their offices will work with you to find a
date/time that works for all parties, if you know you are widely
available on Tuesdays or during lunch hours, it can be helpful to
share that information).
If helpful, please review and/or use the following email template when
contacting your legislators:
Subject line: Physician constituent meeting request / WSMA
Dear Senator/Representative [NAME],
Hello! My name is [NAME]. I am a physician at [NAME OF
ORGANIZATION] and your constituent. I am writing in the hopes of
scheduling a virtual meeting with you in the next few weeks. As a
member of the Washington State Medical Association, I would like the
opportunity to share our 2021 legislative priorities including:
Medicaid primary care, pediatric, and behavioral health rate
- HB 1196: Telemedicine
- SB 5229: Health equity continuing medical education
- SB 5169: PPE reimbursement
- Scope of practice
I know that schedules are very packed, and I will do my best to
accommodate your schedule, but I am generally available on
[DAYS/TIMES]. You can reach me at [EMAIL] or [PHONE NUMBER].
Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from
When should I reach out to my state legislators for a virtual
As soon as possible. Due to the nature of a virtual session, it may
take longer to get a virtual meeting scheduled with legislators as
their offices will be handling a high volume of requests. Ideally, your
virtual meeting will take place during the legislative session, which
runs from January to April.
In the meantime, you may let your legislator know your stance on
pending legislation by emailing articles, responding to WSMA's calls to
action, or sharing your related personal experiences. Please remember
to be respectful to legislators and their staff during these
interactions, particularly in terms of the number of inquiries or
information sharing emails you share. No spamming!
When should I expect a reply?
Be patient. If you haven't received a response within one or two weeks,
don't be afraid to follow up to inquire about the status of your
meeting request. Email Alex Wehinger at
firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
What will the meeting format look like?
All legislator meetings with the public will be conducted virtually.
Legislators will use Microsoft Teams and/or Zoom. The legislator's
office will provide connection details, so you do not need access to
your own account to meet with your legislators.
If you have concerns about broadband capabilities, legislative offices
may also schedule a phone meeting if you let them know that is
Most meetings during session last 15 minutes, and legislators may have
back-to-back virtual meetings, so they will need to stay on schedule.
If your legislator is unable to meet directly, they may request a
member of their staff meet with you on their behalf. Their staff member
will relay what was discussed to the legislator.
How can I prepare for this meeting?
Check out these resources:
Learn more about the top issues for physicians during the 2021
session by reviewing
WSMA's issue briefs. We recommend reading the issue briefs before the meeting so
you're versed in the subject matter. The issue briefs can also be
shared with your legislator after the meeting as a follow up to your
WSMA’s 2021 legislative agenda.
Attend the 2021 WSMA Legislative Summit on Feb. 9 from 5:30-8:30
p.m. WSMA's government affairs and policy team will share
information about our priority issues, as well as provide a general
is free for all WSMA members.
WSMA's Legislative and Regulatory page
includes an archived webinar that provides an overview of WSMA
priority issues, the state budget outlook, and pending legislative
issues for the 2021 session.
The Washington State Legislature also has information on
how a bill becomes a law, and
the legislative process.
What should I discuss?
- Introduce yourself and share brief background information.
Explain the purpose of the meeting and your connection to WSMA.
Pick two or three of
WSMA's priority issues
to discuss (remember that you only have 15 minutes)
Share why those issues are important to you: how they will
impact you, your patients, your practice, and/or your
- Personal anecdotes can be very effective.
Leave some time for your legislator to ask questions. Building a
rapport with your legislator is important; think of the meeting more
as a conversation than a presentation.
Offer to be a resource in the future to your legislator and thank
them for their time.
What do I do after I have a virtual meeting with my state
After you have met with your state legislators, share your
experience with Alex Wehinger at
email@example.com. We'd love to hear
about how your meetings went.
Follow up with your legislator with a "thank you." You are
establishing a relationship, and a thank you note will go a long
way. A thank you email is also an opportune time to share
WSMA's issue briefs
or other supporting material on the subjects you discussed with your
Other Advocacy Opportunities
In addition to meeting with your state legislators, you may consider
other advocacy opportunities that are typically limited by your ability
to travel to the Capitol. The Legislature has provided the below
resources on how to provide testimony during a committee hearing and
"sign-in" on a bill. These instructions may be subject to change as the
Legislature navigates these processes in the virtual setting.
Committee hearings and floor debate will be broadcast live and archived
for review on TVW.
You have the opportunity to provide written testimony, state your
position on a bill, or register to testify remotely via
videoconference by registering at the Legislature's
committee sign-in page.
The Legislature provides
instructions for remote testimony.
Be sure to review
WSMA's tips for testifying at a public hearing.
Note that registering to testify does not guarantee you a chance to
speak or speak at specific times. Time constraints, technical
issues, changes to committee schedules, etc. could affect your
ability to testify.
Signing in on a bill being heard in a committee is a great
opportunity to signal your support or opposition on pending
Sign in via the Legislature's
committee sign-in page. Instructions are provided after you select the type of committee.
Learn more about
participating in committee hearings.