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ACLU, United Action of Idaho, Safe Schools Coalition to Train 'Citizen Lobbyists' Sunday, Monday

“This nation’s democracy depends on people being active participants."

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In an effort to engage more citizens to spend Monday's Presidents Day holiday at the Idaho Capitol, Statehouse activists will be holding what they call "lobby day training" this Sunday.

“This nation’s democracy depends on people being active participants,” said Leo Morales, ACLU of Idaho's public education and communication coordinator.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho is partnering with United Action for Idaho and the Idaho Safe Schools Coalition to offer what they say will be intense training on advocacy.

“Participants need to come with an open mind and a willingness to learn,” said Morales, ‘We want citizens to get a better understanding, develop lobbying skills as advocates, and put these skills into practice.”

During the two-hour training—slated to begin Sunday at 1 p.m. in Room WW16 of the Statehouse—ACLU officials will discuss issues that need to be protected by the Bill of Rights without violating the First Amendment. Some issues that will be discussed include the debates surrounding education and free speech, protection of sex origin and gender identity, drones and how they impact our privacy, voting rights for those living abroad, and health care and Medicaid education.

“We are going to show participants what composes legislation. How many senators and representatives there are, how many veterans and how many are new,” said Morales."We want to refresh people on the legislation process. How does a bill become a law? We'll address how to write to the editor, and how to build community awareness.”

Monday, Feb. 18, is a national holiday but the Idaho Legislature will be in session. Lobby Day participants will be encouraged to spend their Monday by talking to elected officials. Statehouse veteran Bill Killen, former Boise Democratic state representative, will be on hand to coach the Lobby Day participants.