Tips on Contacting Your State Legislators about Raw Milk

Take Action: Tell your Illinois state legislators that no one should be criminalized over farm fresh unprocessed raw milk.  Currently, it is legal to buy raw milk on the premises of a permitted farm, but the farmer and the customer could be criminals if they agree to meet off the farm for a milk delivery.  This discriminates against people who don’t have cars, is inconvenient for many consumers, and could have ADA implications for dairy farms that allow public entry.  SB1662/HB2466 allow the Illinois Department of Public Health to write rules for off-farm delivery and sales. Contact your representatives today.

  1. Look up your STATE representative and senator (not federal) here: http://www.elections.il.gov/districtlocator/addressfinder.aspx
  1. Usually, it is best to call the district office that is closest to where you live, and you can also call their Springfield office.
  1. When you call, you will speak with an assistant. It is important to be very polite so that they will convey your message favorably to the legislator.  This is very, very important.  Think about whether your tone and language would make you want to help the person on the other end of the line.
    1. Introduce yourself by name, state that you are a constituent, and provide your address (or at least town or zip code).
    2. Tell them that no one should be criminalized for buying or selling raw milk, and, if it is a representative, that you want him/her to support and cosponsor House Bill 2466, or, if it is a senator, that you want him/her to support and cosponsor Senate Bill 1662.
    3. Briefly explain why you care. Are you a consumer who wants to be able to get your milk delivered without that being criminal?  Are you a farmer who is trying to run a successful small business without being criminalized?  Does it just bother you that people could be criminals for buying and selling farm fresh unprocessed milk?
    4. Ask if you can schedule a meeting with the legislator. If you don’t want to do that, ask if you can schedule a phone call with the legislator so you can tell him/her more about why this issue matters to you, or ask for an email address and follow up with an email.
    5. When you communicate with the legislator, again, be very polite. Tell them you support access to raw milk and don’t think anyone should be criminalized for it.  This is where you should tell your story and make it personal.  Why do you care?  Has raw milk helped you or someone close to you?  Ask them to support and cosponsor the bill.
  1. Raw milk sales are currently legal in Illinois, but only on-farm from permitted farms, though many consumers prefer the convenience of “drop points” in town or delivery. Right now, off-farm delivery is criminal.  House Bill 2466 and Senate Bill 1662 are identical, and they allow the Department of Public Health to write rules for off-farm delivery and sale.  The current law discriminates against people without cars, who cannot get to a farm regularly, and could create ADA issues for farmers if the public is coming onto the farm to buy milk.  Find the bills at ilga.gov by searching by number for “HB2466” or “SB1662.”  “Full text” at the top of the page takes you to the bill language; the initial page shows cosponsors and the progress of the bill.
  1. Let us know how your conversation went so we can follow up with the legislators: Rebecca Osland, Policy Associate at Illinois Stewardship Alliance, rebecca@ilstewards.org, (217) 528-1563. Sign up for our newsletter at ilstewards.org and follow us on Facebook.

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