Start Time & Location: The usual plan is to get started at 9 a.m., but the General Assembly doesn't usually publish its calendar until the day before, so that's subject to change. Check in with the trip coordinator to determine where we'll meet.
Stay in Touch: Make sure you have your State Leaders’ and District Captain’s cell phone numbers and they have yours.
Anthony Anderson, State Director: 312-217-7997
Vickie Deppe, Legislative Liaison: 630-476-8652
Parking: Free parking is available in the Visitor Center Parking lot at 425 S. College St., but it fills up early. Metered on-street parking is available around the Capitol complex. Bring plenty of quarters to feed the meters. If I can't get a spot in the visitor lot, I try to park as close as I can get to the main entrance of the Illinois State Museum at 502 S. Spring St. If you park on the far (south) side of the street you can leave your car there for a longer period of time...5 hours, vs. 2 on the north side of the street. There is also 9-hour parking on Monroe St. You'll see the Capitol building from any of these locations; and the Stratton Building, where most Representatives' offices are, is the next building to the west.
Security: Unless you are a state employee with identification, you will need to go through a security screening similar those conducted at the airport. If you are a concealed carry permit holder, please leave your weapon locked in the trunk of your car, as firearms are not allowed in the Capitol complex.
Attire: Please wear business or business casual attire & comfortable shoes, and be sure to dress for the weather, as the closest parking is about a block from the Capitol entrance, and we may have to make multiple trips out to the car for materials. We’re not allowed to bring things in with dollies.
Single Purpose: When you visit the Capitol on a COS visit, it is necessary for you to limit your remarks to the Convention of States Project. Please do not distribute materials or discuss issues that concern other organizations or causes. Doing so could inadvertently violate federal election law, which governs organizations like COS, and jeopardize our tax status. Also, it is important that there be no confusion in the mind of a legislator about the parameters of our Convention. Discussing other issues may leave the legislator thinking that we endorse the other cause, which we may not. If you wish to discuss multiple issues, you'll need to visit on your own and not as an official part of a COS team.
When you get to a legislator's office:
- Please bear in mind at all times that COS is a non-partisan organization and we will need the support of Americans of all political persuasions to get any amendments all the way across the finish line to ratification. Here in Illinois, we will need significant numbers of both Democrats and Republicans to link elbows with us. It is imperative that we not criticize a single politician or party. Our problems are systemic, and that's why we need a convention and not just an election to solve them. Be kind to everyone, even if you disagree vehemently with them.
- Greet & introduce yourself to the Legislative Aide. If you are calling on your own legislator, be sure to identify yourself as a constituent. Ask if you can have a moment of the legislator's time. If s/he's not available, you'll need to decide whether you want to wait, come back later, or talk with the Aide. (If there’s only one or 2 people ahead of you and they’re not involved in a lengthy meeting, I suggest you wait. The Aide will be able to give you some guidance.) Please remember that the Aide is an important member of the Legislator's team. Engage with him or her as an important ally to be won, not an obstacle to be overcome. Treat the Aides with the utmost courtesy & respect.
- Whomever you talk to, explain that you're here as a volunteer for the Convention of States Project, and briefly tell them why you support our application, "to limit the scope, jurisdiction, and spending of the federal government." Feel free to engage in as much or as little discussion as you're comfortable with. Take a business card and make notes about your conversation, including what literature you gave them. Also try to find out where they stand and note it on the back of their business card.
- Opposed? If so, why?
- They want more info. Ask if they want a member of your state leadership team to swing by today, or set up an appointment. Phone one of us at the above phone numbers and we'll set it up.
- If they say, "We passed that already," let them know that this application deals with a different subject and can help address Illinois' budget problems. (the other resolution was about campaign finance reform.)
- If they say "It's a good idea, but we're too busy with the budget," tell them that our application has the potential to address Illinois status as a "donor state" and save us tens of billions of dollars per year in things like waste & earmarks that go to other states.
- If they ask a question you don’t know the answer to, tell them you’ll have one of your State Leaders follow up with them. Send us a text as soon as you’re done talking with them so we can come by their office while we’re still in town.
- Supports? to what extent: would vote for it when it comes to the floor, would co-sponsor? Is it ok for us to let their colleagues and/or constituents know they support us?
- Try to snap some photos.
- Be sure to thank the legislator or aide for their time.
Table in the Rotunda: At certain times we will be running a display table in the Capitol Rotunda. While this is happening, we are not permitted to call out to people, approach them with literature, or engage them in conversation. They must initiate. If you are approached by media, please text Anthony or Vickie at the above cell phone numbers immediately.
Please don't hesitate to contact us at one of the above phone numbers if you have any questions, and THANK YOU for your efforts to restore liberty!