The 2021 legislative session in Minnesota started on January 5, and due to COVID-19, it looks very different this year. The majority of legislators and staff are working remotely, and the Capitol is closed to the public.
Despite the changes, participating in this year’s legislative process is more important than ever—the coronavirus pandemic still poses a threat to millions of people and it is disproportionately ravaging Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities; reproductive rights are under attack by a hostile U.S. Supreme Court; and health care disparities remain stark. Even in a typical year, the complexities of the Legislature can be hard to navigate, and this year is no exception.
How to virtually engage in the Minnesota 2021 legislative session
Research issues that you care about
It can be hard to find out what is going on at the Capitol, but there’s likely many bills on issues you care about. One way to find out what’s going on is by following your favorite issue advocacy organizations. If you’re looking for updates on bills related to sexual and reproductive health care, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and sign up for email alerts.
Find who represents you
Each Minnesotan is represented by two state legislators—a representative in the Minnesota House of Representatives and a senator in the Minnesota Senate. You can find out who your legislators are here. By entering your address and clicking on the contact button, you can find ways to get in touch, subscribe to their email updates, see what bills they have authored, and learn more about them.
Contact your legislators
Contacting your legislator is one of the easiest ways to make an impact in session, and this year is no different. Since some legislators are working virtually, you may want to try emailing them instead of writing letters or calling.
Pro-tips for contacting your legislator: give your name, address, and tell them you are a constituent. If you are contacting them about a specific bill, try to include the bill number. The bill number is typically a 4-digit number that starts with HF in the House and SF in the Senate. Tell them why the bill or issue is important to you, and why it is important for fellow Minnesotans. Then ask them for their support.
Meet your legislators
Having a face-to-face meeting with your legislator this year is unlikely, but many legislators are doing virtual town halls or meeting with their constituents over Zoom. While these methods may not feel as personal as an in-person visit, it allows people more access to their legislators, especially for folks who cannot travel to the Capitol. You can email your legislator to request a meeting about an issue, or sign up for their newsletters to get information about town halls or other virtual events they’re holding.
Doing your research, contacting your legislator, and finding a time to meet with your representatives are powerful ways to get involved in the legislative process. Looking to do more? Join our virtual volunteer team to help reach out to supporters just like you to encourage them to take action on bills to protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care. Sign up here.