Congress begins a month-long vacation this week and lasting past Labor Day, but that doesn't mean policy makers are lying on a beach somewhere drinking a Mai Tai.
Representatives use the break to head back to their home districts to find out what is on the minds of their constituents, making the next three weeks the perfect time to contact congressmen and to protect your right to play online poker by supporting HR 2366, Rep. Joe Barton's bill to license and regulate Internet poker.
The opportunity might be available to meet representatives face to face without having to go to Washington, D.C.
The Poker Players Alliance is specifically asking for people located in the districts of key congressmen on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to use this time to pester, or reach out to, their representatives.
The hope is to get the Energy and Commerce Committee to hold a hearing for Barton's bill soon after Congress returns to session. The committee's chairman, Fred Upton (R-Mich.), is someone to target because he is the one who will ultimately decide whether to hold a hearing on the legislation. Upton is graded a "B" in the PPA's congressional ratings guide. Barton's bill is up to 20 co-sponsors.
Committee members who are on the fence regarding poker are also a priority for contact. They include Charles F. Bass (R-N.H.), Steve Scalise (R-La.), Bob Latta (R-Ohio), Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Brett Guthrie (R-Ken.), Pete Olson (R-Tex.), David McKinley (R-W.V.), Cory Gardner (R-Col.), Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Morgan Griffith, (R-Vir.), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), Michael F. Doyle (D-Penn.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Charles A. Gonzalez (D-Tex.), Donna Christensen (D-Virg.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.).
It's easy to identify your representative and get contact information for his or her local office through the PPA action center. The site also has sample letters and suggested talking points.
It may be difficult for poker players to schedule individual meetings with their representatives with so many people undoubtedly wanting to talk to their lawmakers about the nation's economic problems and the debt crisis. One strategy that could help in being heard is to use message forums or social media to group together with other poker players who live in your district and try to make an appointment together. It's harder to ignore 10 people than it is to turn away one.
August is also the season for town hall meetings, where the elected official will face the public. Anyone can attend and possibly voice opinions. Again, an organized group is more likely to be heard and seen at such a meeting. Representatives usually list upcoming town halls on their websites.
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