No Child Left Inside Legislation Reintroduced in CongressPosted: February 27, 2015
Thanks to you and our colleague organizations, the No Child Left Inside act (NCLI) got a great start this year. We feel that with another round or two of followups to engage addition legislators who needed more time and encouragement to sign-on, our Congressional champions will be able to position the provisions of NCLI to be considered for inclusion into the larger Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
Bill numbers: H.R. 882 & S. 492, introduced on 2/11/15 & 2/12/15. More about them at www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/882 and www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/492. You can sign up there to get an alert about any official actions. Note that as of today, the bill names on Congress.gov are the formal, “A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 in order to improve environmental education…” We have been informed that it will be administratively changed to “No Child Left Inside Act of 2015” shortly.
Cosponsors: Thanks to you and the coalition of our friends, including the NCLI Coalition, National Wildlife Federation, and others, 42 House members are original cosponsors, plus sponsor Rep. Sarbanes (MD-3), compared to 43+1 for all of the last Congress…great work! On the Senate side, we were level with the last Congress for initial cosponsors, with five plus Sen. Reed (RI). In both chambers there are many additional legislators who have supported us in the past, including every one who cosponsored last time in the Senate; see below. Support spread sheet attached. (One more House cosponsor was added this morning, bringing us even with the House total from the last Congress!)
What’s next? Thank you notes + requests for our initial cosponsors to help us with recruiting some of the additional cosponsors we need. Please send your thanks via email to all legislators and staff you connected with who cosponsored, or even if you hadn’t contacted them… if they stepped up, then send a thank you. We also need public thank yous – have your state environmental education (EE) association mention our champions in their newsletter, blog, twitter feed, etc. Request that other organizations with whom you are friends, do the same: local league of conservation voters, Audubon Societies, the zoo and aquarium, etc. Sample social media language attached.
We still need more NCLI cosponsors in these categories:
– Senators – We are thin with their support so far. There are 16 who have cosponsored in the past but not yet this year… mostly because they weren’t asked again!
– Other past EE supporters, Senate and House, of NCLI – we have plenty of friends of environmental education who just need a little reminding of the importance of EE to their state and country, and of their past support. There are an additional 10 House members who cosponsored last term and haven’t yet done so this one, and 30 more who cosponsored in other previous Congress and not yet this time, and plenty more who have signed appropriations support letters.
– Freshmen – We need new champions; we only have two so far. Some of these new legislators don’t know what EE looks like in their district or state, or they may know and love your school/organization, but don’t think about the connection between your good work, EE, and NCLI. For freshmen profiles see http://info.cqrollcall.com/NewMemberGuide2014.html (you must provide your email address to download this).
– Education committee members – In the House we have 9 of 16 already cosponsoring on the Democratic side, and 4 of the those remaining 7 have supported EE in Congress in the past. On the Senate HELP Committee, we have only 3 cosponsoring ed committee members so far, but again, almost all of the rest of the Democrats on the committee are friends of EE.
– At least one cosponsor from every state – We are almost 1/2 way there with 23 states and D.C. represented… let’s try for this!
– Republicans – We simply need more connections with them.
With all of the above groups, we know in some cases there might be a low probability of an individual legislator willing to be on the record cosponsoring NCLI, so the goal becomes having them make that positive link between your good work and support of EE, so that the Senator or Representative will at least say that they won’t vote against us!
In the coming few weeks: Congressional EE appropriations support to request. For most of us, it makes sense to combine our appeals to our legislators with several appropriation items for Congress. More on this shortly.
Thanks again for a great start!
Chair, Advocacy Committee, NAAEE