May 7 Warheads to Windmills webinar Breakout session – Lobbying Congress re Norton bill – Timmon Wallis
Norton’s bill links climate and nuclear weapons. There are many nuclear weapons related bills in Congress, ranging from not wanting North Korea to have nuclear weapons to Norton’s nuclear abolition and conversion bill, with many in between.
NuclearBan.US trying to track where members land along this spectrum, and try to nudge them further, such as Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who supports the Back from the Brink statement but not Norton bill. It took one year to get Jim McGovern to support Norton’s bill; he’s enthusiastic now but we keep having to push. Christian and Ellen have been trying to find people in their own constituencies to talk to their representatives, or more likely staff, and get a conversation. Timmon doesn’t want us to think we’re going to get these bills passed, but that we can use them to focus attention on the issues.
Ellen spoke about voter initiatives, or referendums brought by local legislators where initiatives aren’t available. By standing on the corner and collecting signatures from voters, saying “Please sign the petition to bring the issue to the ballot, this doesn’t mean you’re voting for the idea, simply for the right to vote on it!” is very effective, people stop to read what you have to say. And the people who are circulating the petition learn a lot from it as well. Members of Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, US, were responsible for helping to get a number of cosponsors, four of them during meetings they set up when Ellen went on tour in 2016. WILPF has been behind Norton’s bill since they learned about it in 2004.
Christian working with students over the summer, and encouraged to involve them in this effort.
Julia is part of a small group in Washington state, No More Bombs, and just got back from a weekend of tabling at the tulip festival. Washington is such a militarized state, plus they have Hanford nuclear waste site.
David asked if groups do door knocking any more and Timmon responded that most of the work is via emails and phone calls. It’s important that members of Congress hear from their own constituents, so it is important to get ordinary voters contacting their legislators. We’ll be lobbying Congress for Norton’s bill in DC, perhaps in July, maybe some of the students can join us.
Check out http://prop1.org for the history of the bill; Ellen updates it with news occasionally.
Notes: Ellen Thomas