H.R. 1183 is currently before The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the House Committee on the Judiciary. In order to get approved by this subcommittee, the bill needs about fifty Congressional co-sponsors. In other words, about fifty members of the House of Representatives need to give this bill their endorsement before it can make it out of this subcommittee.
As of August 2011, the bill has four co-sponsors. You can keep up with the list of co-sponsors on the bill by looking at the GovTrack page for H.R. 1183.
You can help us by urging your Representative to sign on to H.R. 1183 as a co-sponsor. What does that mean? Really very little. Co-sponsoring a bill isn’t a binding act. A Representative who co-sponsors a bill hasn’t committed to vote for it. He hasn’t gone out on a limb or given away a favor. It costs nothing to co-sponsor a bill.
So really, there’s no reason in the world why your Representative couldn’t co-sponsor H.R. 1183.
The best way to urge your Congressman to co-sponsor H.R. 1183 is with a five-minute phone call.
Step one: Identify your Representative
It takes about ten seconds to find your Representative’s phone number. Put your ZIP code into the following form and click “Submit.” You’ll be taken to the Web site of the House of Representatives, where you’ll be given a link to your Representative’s Web page.
Please note that this form is directly connected to the House Web site, and isn’t connected to our Web site in any way. We are not collecting any information from you via this form.
You might need to put in all nine digits of your ZIP code in order to find out who your Representative is. This will likely be the case if you live somewhere fairly crowded, like a big city. If you don’t know your nine-digit ZIP code, you can find it with this Web form on the United States Postal Service site.
Step two: Find your Representative’s phone number
Somewhere on your Representative’s Web page will be at least one telephone number, and usually more. Most Representatives have a Washington, D.C., office number as well as a local office number. You can use either of these numbers; both will reach your Representative’s staff.
Step three: Call!
You can call your Representative’s office any time, day or night. During business hours, you’ll reach a human being. At other times, your call will go to a voicemail system or other message service. In either case, just say something like this:
My name is [your name], and I’m a constituent from [your town]. I’m calling to urge the [Congressman or Congresswoman] to co-sponsor H.R. 1183, the Suzanne Gonzales Suicide Prevention Act of 2011, which is currently before the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.
That’s it. That’s all you have to say. Of course, you’re welcome to say more. Perhaps you’ve got a personal connection to this issue that makes it particularly important to you. Maybe you’ve lost a friend or family member to a tragic suicide like the one that inspired this bill. Maybe you just think it’s a darned good idea. Remember, this is your Representative. Speak your mind! That’s what the person on the other end of the phone is paid for: to listen to you!
Step five: Let us know
This step is technically optional, but if you’ve called your Congressman to urge co-sponsorship of H.R. 1183, please send us an e-mail to let us know. Please include the name of your Representative and the date of your call, and if it’s convenient please let us know whether you called the DC office or a local office.