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Guide for Legislative Campaign for January 2013 Session ~ Support HB 1038: No Cost Opt Out of Smart Meters in Maryland (hearing on Thurs. March 14)

Guide for Legislative Campaign 2013

Introduction

This guide is designed for residents of Maryland  to be used in contacting their respective state representatives in Annapolis for the 2013 session that begins in January of 2013.  This guide works regardless of whether you have internet access, although using the internet may be more efficient.  This guide will first explain how to determine the legislative district in which you live if you do not know this already.  Then the guide will explain how to figure out who your respective state senators and delegates are.  Once you know who your elected representatives are, you need to decide whether you want to meet with your elected representatives or just write them letters.

Our goal is get a cost free opt out passed.  HB 1038: No Cost Smart Meter Opt Out Option for Maryland Ratepayers will be heard by the Economic Matters Committee on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 1:00pm.

The Most Effective Action is to Meet Your Elected Representatives
By the far the most effective action you can take is to actually meet with your elected representatives either near where you live (called an ‘in-district’ meeting) or in Annapolis.  MSMA will do its best to have someone accompany you if you would like that.  Of course you will need to coordinate with us before you make the appointment.  While meeting face to face with your elected representative may be something out of your comfort zone, you should not be at all intimidated.  The only reason why your elected representatives are there in the first place is because people like you elected them.  They are there to serve us, not visa versa.  In fact, they will welcome the opportunity to meet with you unless they have some sort of competing concern.  They all want to keep getting re-elected, and the best way to do that is to be responsive to the needs of their constituents.

Personal Letters are Also Effective
If meeting face to face is not an option, then it is vital to at least write a letter to each of your elected representatives.   We have drafted some model letters for you to use and put them on our web site.  We did not include every reason why we are opposed to smart meters as that will overwhelm your elected representatives.   Rather, we focused on the key issues that we think will present our opposition to smart meters in the most favorable light.  You are encouraged to add your own personal touch to the letters.  We make some suggestions in the Writing Letters section, below.

Emails are better than remaining silent

Some people like sending e-mail to their elected representatives.  The jury is still out as to how effective that is.  For the younger generation of lawmakers, it probably works, although it is less effective than written letters.  For the older generation of lawmakers, they clearly give much greater attention to written letters.


The Alliance for Natural Health has generously set up a very easy way to contact your legislators to let them know you support HB 1038 using an online tool that sends a personalized email >>


Obtaining Your Elected Representatives' Contact Information

If you do not have access to the internet, you can call 1-800-492-7122 and ask them to help you figure you who your representatives are and how to contact them.   If you have access to the internet, then just go to the website below:

http://www.mdelect.net/

At the top center of the page, type in your street address and press the find button.   All your elected representatives in Maryland will appear on the left including your state senators and delegates.  It will also tell you which district you live in.  Each name is highlighted in blue.  You can click on each name and get all the contact information you need for each of your senators and delegates.  (If you have more than one delegate from your district, you will need to contact each one.)  You will need this information if you wish to set up a face-to-face meeting, send them a letter or send them an e-mail.


Requesting a Face-to-Face Meeting with Your Elected Representatives


A face-to-face meeting is the most effective way to communicate your concerns to your elected representatives.  Once you have determined who your elected representatives are and obtained their contact information, you need to call up their respective offices and start making appointments.  It is quite possible that the receptionist will have you meet with the delegate’s or senator’s legislative aid.  This is perfectly acceptable.  Your approach in either case will be the same.

You do not have to be a master of all the facts to meet with them.  All you need to do is express sincere concern about smart meters.  Personalize your reasons for opposing smart meters if possible.  (See letter writing section for ideas.)  It also is a good idea if you mention you belong to Maryland Smart Meter Awareness as it will give both you and our organization more credibility.  If there is some question you cannot answer, note it carefully and tell the elected representative that you will contact MSMA and try to get the information.  If it is easier, we will contact the delegate or senator directly.

At the end of the meeting, you should thank the senator, delegate or legislative aid for the meeting.  Once you have finished meeting with a particular delegate or senator, please e-mail Maryland Smart Meter Awareness (MSMA) with the results at jlibber@gmail.com.   We will need to know the elected representative’s name, his or her district and what attitude that person had.   If your representative seems really supportive of our efforts, ask him or her if they would be willing to co-sponsor the bill.

If you want one of our members to accompany you, please coordinate with us so we can have someone there.   As a practical matter, we have members willing to travel to areas within easy striking distance of Baltimore, Annapolis and the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC.  It will be much harder for now to reach areas beyond that.   To get someone from MSMA to accompany you, call Jonathan Libber at 410 358-4616 or e-mail him at jlibber@gmail.com.


Writing Letters

By far the most effective letter is one that is in your own words.  We of course realize that many of you are very busy and need something simple and easy.   And it is certainly preferable to have a mass produced letter sent than no letter at all.  We have included some model letters on the MSMA web site where you can just add the senator’s or delegate’s name and address, your own name and address, run it off and then send it to that elected representative.   One compromise might be take our model letter and change it around a bit so they look somewhat different.   Here are a few very helpful ways to personalize your letter.   First, try to include your own personal reasons why you do not want a smart meter.  For example, you have someone who lives in your apartment with pacemaker, and the FDA has warned that the rf radiation may interfere with its function.  You might mention that you live in an apartment, and that there is a bank of meters on the other side of wall of your bedroom.   Even if you opt out, it will not help because of all the other meters.    The American Academy of Environmental Medicine put together a list of medical conditions that could be adversely impacted by smart meter radiation.  The list appears below.  If you have any one of these conditions, I would mention that in your letter.  Those conditions are:

  • Neurological conditions such as paresthesias, somnolence, cephalgia, dizziness, unconsciousness, depression
  •  Musculoskeletal effects including pain, muscle tightness, spasm, fibrillation
  • Heart disease and vascular effects including arrhythmia, tachycardia, flushing, edema
  • Pulmonary conditions including chest tightness, dyspnea, decreased pulmonary function
  • Gastrointestinal conditions including nausea, belching
  • Ocular (burning)
  • Oral (pressure in ears, tooth pain)
  • Dermal (itching, burning, pain)
  • Autonomic nervous system dysfunction (dysautonomia).
  • Neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).
  • Neurological conditions (Headaches, depression, sleep disruption, fatigue, dizziness, tremors, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, decreased memory, attention deficit disorder, anxiety, visual disruption).
  • Fetal abnormalities and pregnancy
  • Genetic defects and cancer
  • Liver disease and genitourinary disease

In any case, your letter should clear and concise and not more than two pages.   Keep in mind that our state representatives have only one full time staff person, a part timer and an intern.  With that staff they have to deal with the thousands of e-mails, letters and calls that come in.  So a long complex letter is not going to be appreciated.

When you get a response from your elected representative, we need to keep track of how they responded.   It may be just a noncommittal polite response (e.g., “thank you for letting us know about this important issue”).  But it might contain more information that gives away where the elected representative is coming from.    Please e-mail me with the results at jlibber@gmail.com.

Writing E-Mails

While not as effective as personal letters, a quick e-mail containing the same substance as the model letter is certainly helpful.  It does seem that the younger representatives have a higher regard for e-mail than the older ones.  The same guidance for letters applies here, particularly in regard to personalizing the message.   In addition, use the subject line to state why you are writing this e-mail.  In the body of the e-mail you should state up front that you are a constituent (unless you are not!) and include your name and street address.  Finally, you should ask them to respond with their position on the issue or the legislation if it has already been introduced.   Again please e-mail MSMA with the results at jlibber@gmail.com.   If it is easier, just forward the response to jlibber@gmail.com

Here are a few very helpful ways to personalize your email.   First, try to include your own personal reasons why you do not want a smart meter.  For example, you have someone who lives in your apartment with pacemaker, and the FDA has warned that the rf radiation may interfere with its function.  You might mention that you live in an apartment, and that there is a bank of meters on the other side of wall of your bedroom.   Even if you opt out, it will not help because of all the other meters.    The American Academy of Environmental Medicine put together a list of medical conditions that could be adversely impacted by smart meter radiation.  The list appears below.  If you have any one of these conditions, I would mention that in your letter.  Those conditions are:

  • Neurological conditions such as paresthesias, somnolence, cephalgia, dizziness, unconsciousness, depression
  •  Musculoskeletal effects including pain, muscle tightness, spasm, fibrillation
  • Heart disease and vascular effects including arrhythmia, tachycardia, flushing, edema
  • Pulmonary conditions including chest tightness, dyspnea, decreased pulmonary function
  • Gastrointestinal conditions including nausea, belching
  • Ocular (burning)
  • Oral (pressure in ears, tooth pain)
  • Dermal (itching, burning, pain)
  • Autonomic nervous system dysfunction (dysautonomia).
  • Neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).
  • Neurological conditions (Headaches, depression, sleep disruption, fatigue, dizziness, tremors, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, decreased memory, attention deficit disorder, anxiety, visual disruption).
  • Fetal abnormalities and pregnancy
  • Genetic defects and cancer
  • Liver disease and genitourinary disease

Model Letters to Get You Started

Please note that all text in italics should be replaced with your information. If you would like to share your letter as a model for others, please email it to msmaorg@gmail.com.

Model Letter to State Delegates

Your Name
Your Address
Today’s Date

 

Delegate Delegate Name Here
House Office Building
6 Bladen Street
Annapolis, MD 21401

Dear Delegate  Delegate Name Here:

I am one of your constituents and am very concerned about my utility’s plan to replace all our analog electricity meters with ‘smart meters’.  These meters are supposed to help us manage our electricity usage and save both money and energy.  While I am certainly in favor of both of those goals, studies have proved that these meters will not save either energy or money.  But they will fill our homes with dangerous radiation and put all of our homes in jeopardy of catching on fire.  In addition, they will constitute a serious invasion of our privacy.   Some of the most intimate details of our lives will be on display for anyone working for my utility, anyone working for the contractor who prepares our utility bills and anyone hacking into the system.   I therefore urge you to support  legislation that either puts or a moratorium on all future installations or at least provides an opt out for all those who do not want a smart meter.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Model Letter to State Senators

Your Name
Your Address
Today’s Date

 

Senator Senator Name Here
Miller Senate Office Building
11 Bladen Street
Annapolis, MD 21401

Dear Senator  Senator Name Here:

I am one of your constituents and am very concerned about my utility’s plan to replace all our analog electricity meters with ‘smart meters’.  These meters are supposed to help us manage our electricity usage and save both money and energy.  While I am certainly in favor of both of those goals, studies have proved that these meters will not save either energy or money.  But they will fill our homes with dangerous radiation and put all of our homes in jeopardy of catching on fire.  In addition, they will constitute a serious invasion of our privacy.   Some of the most intimate details of our lives will be on display for anyone working for my utility, anyone working for the contractor who prepares our utility bills and anyone hacking into the system.   I therefore urge you to support  legislation that either puts or a moratorium on all future installations or at least provides an opt out for all those who do not want a smart meter.

Sincerely,

Your Name


GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

7 Responses to Guide for Legislative Campaign for January 2013 Session ~ Support HB 1038: No Cost Opt Out of Smart Meters in Maryland (hearing on Thurs. March 14)

  1. George November 26, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    Where do we stand on this please? Did it pass? Thanks

  2. Margaret Range February 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    Please support HB 1038. Pepco should have no right to install things on our homes without scientific evidence about their safety.

  3. Loralyn Helms February 18, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    Thanks for the petition – I’ve emailed everyone I can think of. Put up the warning! over my meters and now sending the certified letters. Thanks again, Loralyn Helms

  4. George Karadimas February 18, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    For those that are too busy to write a letter to their Maryland Delegates in regards to supporting The Glenn Glass HB 1038 , I have set up a petition Online, that is easy as pie to let the Maryland House of Delegates know that you want them to support the NO FEE Smart meter OPT-OUT BILL.

    The Problems “as Einstein has said” has been reduced to it’s simplest terms and it can be made NO SIMPLER!

    http://signon.org/sign/maryland-house-bill-1038?source=c.url&r_by=7048862

    AND DO NOT FORGET to Forward the LINK above to your Contacts!

    Remember! Every Voter is entitled to a Vote, even if they reside in the same household.

    And I always remember those “Elected Representatives” that have done me wrong and have supported the economic interests of their CORPORATE ELITE Masters.

    VOX POPULI Avail yourself of the opportunity to be heard.

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