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You are here: Home / Policy Action / Advocates Newsletter / We did it! 218 Co-sponsors for H.R. 1831 Make a Strong Case for Passage

We did it! 218 Co-sponsors for H.R. 1831 Make a Strong Case for Passage

Advocates Alert: September 18, 2009

House Majority Marks an Impressive Achievement for the Land Conservation Community

As you saw in Wednesday's eNews, we made it to 218!  We're waiting for just two more Republican co-sponsors so we can send a press release celebrating a majority from both parties, but we didn't want to wait any longer to thank you for achieving this important milestone.

Thanks to you and other partners of the Alliance, more than half of the House of Representatives has now officially co-sponsored the Conservation Easement Incentive Act! The 224 co-sponsors hail from 48 states and include a majority of both Democratic and Republican members of the House Committee on Ways and Means!  Click here for the latest list and scroll down for new additions.

Of the 900+ bills referred to the Ways & Means Committee this year, only four have as many co-sponsors as HR 1831!  That's an amazing achievement considering that, up until a few years ago, few land trusts were involved in Federal policy.  Our coalition partners in Washington, and Ducks Unlimited in particular, have been extremely helpful reaching Representatives where few local land trusts exist, but most co-sponsors are on the list for one simple reason: local land trust leaders called them up, sent them email, knocked on their doors and took them outside to show them that this incentive is important to their constituents.  Thank you for making this success possible!

Next Steps: Now They'll Pass it, Right?

We're afraid it's not quite that easy... but it should be, and it's our job to remind them of that!  Tax bills like ours are generally enacted as part much larger tax packages, but everything has ground to a halt with partisan gridlock over health care.  What better time to enact one small bill that both parties can agree on?  When thanking co-sponsors, we should urge them to think creatively about how to enact H.R. 1831 this year.  With a majority, anything is possible!

Today we need your help with two things:

  1. Thank co-sponsors again: Even if you've done so before, it's important to tell co-sponsors about this milestone!   No, they won't know without you telling them!  Please thank them for caring enough about the work you do to help, and for helping us reach this level of support.  You could use our new template thank-you letter, explore our dozen ways to say thank you, or simply give them a call (Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121).
  2. Get more co-sponsors: 218 is an important milestone, but every additional co-sponsor helps, so please take a look at our co-sponsor map. If there are any Representatives in your region who haven't yet co-sponsored -- or if your Representative said they would cosponsor, but they haven't shown up on the cosponsor list, tell them about the majority support for H.R. 1831 and urge them to sign-on.  For talking points and fact sheets, visit our how-you-can-help page.

224 Advocacy Success Stories--What's Yours?

Members of Congress rarely do things just because they're a good idea; it almost always takes someone they care about asking them to act.  Thus, behind these 224 co-sponsors are 224 advocacy success stories.  Here are just a few we know about:

Krista Magaw of Tecumseh Land Trust wasn't sure if Rep. Steve Austria (R-OH) was a friend to conservation, but she asked around at her board's education committee meeting and one board member volunteered to have his wife ask the Congressman to co-sponsor at an upcoming event.  Rep. Austria indicated that he would sign-on right away, but it took Krista following-up with his staff in DC a few days later to actually get him on the list.  She found the whole process surprisingly easy, and says "you just never know until you ask."

Despite the workload of transitioning to a new Executive Director, RJ Taylor of Connemara Conservancy made time to visit with staff in Rep. Sam Johnson's (R-TX) district office.  He put together a packet for them to forward to DC using fact sheets from the Land Trust Alliance website.   Not only did the Congressman co-sponsor right away, but a week later he came to visit the Conservancy's office and an adjacent property under easement.  There, he offered to help recruit other co-sponsors from the area and his press secretary sent out a release that got Connemara coverage in local press.

We'd love to know more about how you got your Representative on board!  Please email your story to policy@lta.org.

Remember: Rally Pre-Registration Closes Monday

Monday is your last chance to pre-register for Rally 2009 in Portland, OR, October 11-14!  The National Land Conservation Conference provides key opportunities to advance your land trust's advocacy skills, including more than three dozen workshops and seminars on public policy. Click here for a full listing of policy related sessions.

Please click here to register today!  The conference hotels are almost sold out, so click here for information about lodging or visit the Rally e-board to coordinate roommates and carpools.  We look forward to seeing you in Portland next month!

H.R. 1831 Co-sponsors Added Since Last Week

  • Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL/1st)
  • Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH/14th)
  • Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA/8th)
  • Rep. Dennis Moore (D-KS/3rd)
  • Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY/15th)*
  • Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN/1st)
  • Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL/3rd)
  • Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-NY/28th)
  • Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ/4th)

*Members of the House Ways & Means Committee

Thanks for helping!

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