Advocacy Toolkit

CALCRA takes legislative action to achieve its objectives, which are to enhance the financial security and quality of life for CCRC residents. As the only organization whose sole purpose is representing CCRC residents, we actively sponsor and support bills in line with our objectives, and work equally hard to oppose bills that are not in the interest of residents.

Action on Bills

Each bill has an author, a legislator who has agreed to introduce and champion that piece of proposed legislation through the legislative process. CALCRA may take one of three actions regarding a particular bill: sponsor, support, or oppose.

To be the sponsor of a bill means that we work directly with the author’s office in drafting the bill’s language, participating in stakeholder meetings and negotiating amendments, testifying before policy committee hearings, and advocating for CCRC residents at each Legislator’s office and the Governor’s office. Policy committees hold hearings on each piece of legislation throughout the legislative year. We also work to generate and organize support from other organizations and our members. Sponsorship is the strongest form of support a bill can have.

When we support a bill, we actively follow and track its progress through the legislature and its various committees. We send formal letters documenting our support to the author and to each policy committee when the bill is heard; we also may testify at committee hearings.

Taking an oppose position involves the same work as being in support - tracking, writing letters, lobbying Legislators and testifying at hearings as to why the bill should be defeated.

Current Legislative Activity

The deadline for each Legislator to introduce bills is usually during the second half of February. Once that deadline passes, CALCRA reviews all of the bills that impact CCRC residents and takes positions on key legislation. You can always view any current bills on which CALCRA is taking a position here.

Taking Action

If you are on CALCRA’s email list, you will receive alerts requesting action on bills. Due to the legislative schedule and the calendar and schedule of policy committee hearings, time is always of the essence in these situations, and a quick response is appreciated. In addition to a description of the issues under consideration, these emails will include a suggested template letter for members to use as a basis for their response. If you would like to receive these notices and be a part of the action, send an email request to mgriffin@urcad.org.

In addition to our CALCRA legislative alerts, there are other ways to make sure your voice is heard by your Legislator. Calling their office or sending letters to express your support or opposition to a particular bill is very important. Legislators do pay attention to those calls and letters, especially when the communication comes from a constituent or resident of their district. You can find your California state representatives online; contact information for your Senator and Assemblymember is available on their web pages.

Keep up to date on bills of interest to you via email alerts from the California Legislative Information website can send email alerts on bills of interest to you to keep you updated. Search by bill number or keyword; once you've found the bill in which you're interested, click on the link for full details. Click on Track Bill on the upper right of the page and register or log in to choose the type of notifications you would like to receive.

Working with Legislators

Helpful tips for writing letters to your Legislator

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Letters regarding a particular bill should be focused:

  • Identify the bill in a subject line. For example, “Re: SB 939”
  • In the first paragraph of your letter state your connection: “I am a resident of XYZ CCRC.” Or if you are a constituent, say so: “I am a resident of XYZ CCRC located in your district”
  • State the issue(s) of concern to you: “This bill would provide important protections to residents with repayable-on-resale contracts”; and why it matters: “This is important because there have been delays amounting to several years in processing these repayments, and residents and their families have no recourse to compel providers to make these payments.”
  • Personalize the letter with details of your own situation as appropriate.

Get to know your legislators

Your legislators and their staff want to hear from you. They are interested in developing resources within their districts that can advise them on issues of importance to seniors. That resource could be you!  Here are a few simple steps to help you initiate and develop an relationship with your legislators and their staff:

  • Subscribe to their newsletter
  • Attend their town hall meetings
  • Visit them in their local field office
  • Invite them to tour your CCRC and/or make a presentation to your residents

In initiating contacts, remember to plan well ahead. Be prepared by having researched your legislator’s web pages to learn of their particular interests and what committees they are members of. Organize your own thoughts on what you want to say. DO NOT “wing it” or dawdle through the visit; remember, their time is valuable. Consider composing a short fact sheet covering your community or the issue you want to discuss. Always follow-up with a thank-you letter.

Resources

General sources of legislative information

Visit the official site for California legislative information, maintained by the Legislative Counsel, for bill text, history, votes, committee and floor analyses, etc. from 1993 to present. This site is searchable and also contains all California Codes.

Visit the California State Assembly website to find information on Assembly members and committees.

Visit the California State Senate to find information on Senate members and committees.