Participating in Message Phone-Ins

During a legislative emergency, advocates may be called upon to act in unison to flood legislators with messages urging support of or opposition to a particular bill or issue. This strategy is only effective if large numbers of callers are mobilized — such as ICAN’s membership!

While these actions are not a substitute for more personal legislative contacts, when timed correctly, they can have a dramatic impact. Urge your friends and colleagues to join in the action.

At the State Level

  • You will be asked to leave a message for your legislator(s) with the Senate/House switchboard.

    Senate Switchboard: (515) 281-3371
    House Switchboard: (515) 281-3221

  • The switchboards operate while each chamber is in session, so hours vary. Be patient; if you get a busy signal, keep trying.
  • Ask the switchboard operator to take a message for Senator/Representative _____________________.
  • State the message you have been asked to convey — this is usually only a few words, such as: “Support bill #________.”
  • Give the operator your name and your city, so the lawmaker will know you are a constituent.

At the Federal Level

  • You will be asked to leave a message with the Senator or Representative’s office staff, which is usually in Washington D.C
  • State the message clearly and concisely. Be brief and to the point. Include all bill titles and numbers.
  • Give the staff member your name and address, including city and zip code. You will probably receive a letter acknowledging our call.

Remember: Message phone-ins are generally launched during emergencies shortly before an issue is expected to be debated. It is vital to deliver the message as soonas possible after being notified of the emergency! Those on the other side will be mobilizing their supporters at the same time, so be certain your message is clear concerning which side you support. Your best alternative is to leave a message on your legislator’s voice mail, if it is available.