On Wednesday, April 19, from 9 to 10 am in House Hearing Room 30, the 2006 bottle bill will be the subject of a one-hour hearing before the Local Government Subcommittee of the House State and Local Government Committee. Rep. Russell Johnson will have 20 minutes to make his case for a bottle bill; the opposition will have 20 minutes to explain why they think a bottle bill will be the ruination of the state; and the legislators will have 20 minutes to ask questions.
The press will be there in force; so will members of the opposition and their lobbyists.
IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE FILL THE HEARING ROOM WITH SUPPORTERS! If there is any way for you to attend this hearing, PLEASE MAKE THE EFFORT!
I know Nashville is a long drive for most of you, but consider that this single day spent driving to and from Nashville may translate to many years of driving along far cleaner roads. Because if this bill gets out of this committee, IT MAY ACTUALLY PASS.
Be sure to notify your state rep and state senator that you are coming to town, and why. Tell them you'll try to visit them for a minute or two while you're here. Few things will make as big an impression on them as knowing that their constituents are traveling to the Capitol in support of this bill. Be sure to review the main talking points before you come, so that you can respond to their concerns. (I'm attaching two fact sheets for your convenience.)
Call your friends, neighbors and coworkers and make an outing of it! If you have kids, consider trading a day of schoolwork for a live civics lesson in Nashville. In fact, if you are a teacher and can get permission, bring your entire class!
WHY IS YOUR ATTENDANCE SO IMPORTANT?
First, your presence will show the subcommittee members--as well as their fellow lawmakers, the general public, the news media and even the opposition--that real Tennesseans want this bill and are willing to come to Nashville to say so. That's why we need as large and diverse a crowd as we can get, from farmers to 4-H kids to fishermen.
Second, your presence in the hearing room will hold committee members accountable--to you, to the facts, to the greater good they pledged to serve.
It may be that some legislators have already promised the opposition that they will vote to kill the bill, but I'm counting on three things to change their minds:
--a powerful presentation by Rep. Johnson
--statewide press coverage
--and most important, the watchful eyes of dozens of ordinary citizens like us!