Target: Legislative Bodies

What is a call-in day

Call-in days are about showing there is widespread consensus on a bill that is about to have some kind of action. Every day, offices get lots of calls on a wide range of things from advocacy issues to bills about to move (you!) to local needs (you’re my Rep and I’m having a problem with Veteran’s Affairs, can you help?). They are one important way for constituents to let Representatives know how they feel. Every day the top issue(s) which people call about are reported up to more senior staff. At the end of the week, the top issues are reported to the member. The goal of a call-in day is to be one of those top issues.

When to Use

The best time to use a call-in day is when an introduced bill is about to be considered either before it goes for a markup or a vote. There are multiple points in the legislative process when a call-in day can be impactful, and the best timing is the week prior to the action.

Whom to target

Not all Senators or Representatives see all bills every time something happens. Bills are first assigned to a committee before they go to be assessed by the full body. Call-in days should target the people who are going to be acting – either committee members or the full body. Calls to a member who isn’t about to do anything don’t have much impact.

What is needed

A successful call in day is about volume for the targets. While the ask is generally small (make phone call), this is a numbers game.

  • Tools for mobilization: Depending on how you reach your base, this might look like reaching out to coalition partners, advertising on social media, sharing the information with partners.
  • Script with clear bill details, and a direct ask: Having a clear script for people will not only make the lift smaller for them, it’ll make it easier to get your point across to the office you’re reaching. “Vote No on The Terrible Very Bad Act, S. 101010, which comes to the floor on Tuesday, February 1” is clear. “Support sex workers” won’t get you far.
  • Follow-up Plans: Depending on the relationship you have with staffers in an office, it may be helpful to outreach before, to let them know this is coming, and after, to make sure the office understands the substantive issues.

Examples in sex worker-led campaigns

Hacking//Hustling and the SurviveEARNIT crew led a call-in day the week before the EARN IT Act was scheduled to go for markup in the Judiciary Committee. Using the hashtag #FuckEARNIT, the team mobilized people on multiple social media platforms to get people to call Senators in the Judiciary Committee to vote no on the bill.

See scripts here.

See H//H’s social media campaign on Twitter.