You Can Now Text Your State Lawmakers with Resistbot
Published January 16, 2019 / Updated August 7, 2020

You Can Now Text Your State Lawmakers with Resistbot

Text STATE to 50409 to write to your governor and legislators in all fifty states.

by Jason Putorti

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Utah State Capitol Building, Salt Lake City, Utah • Photo by Chris An on Unsplash

I’m happy to announce a huge leap forward for Resistbot: the ability to text your state legislators just like your members of Congress. Starting today, the people of Arizona, California, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington can contact their state legislators the same way they’ve been writing their federal ones. Simply text state to 50409, or to Resistbot on Twitter, Messenger, or Telegram. Letter delivery is instant and electronic, and you can have it delivered to your Governor as well simultaneously. Your letter goes directly to the same systems state lawmakers use to manage their other correspondence. And just as we do with letters to Congress, you’ll have the option to submit them as letters to the editor of your local paper, or have our twitter bot publish them, increasing the power of your advocacy. More states will be added on a rolling basis—if you’re technically savvy, help us add them!

Update: Thanks to our diligent volunteers, we’re in all fifty states as of February 7, 2019.

In March of 2017, we had no idea anyone would use Resistbot. It was a night and weekend project thrown together by a handful of passionate volunteers to solve the problem of busy-signals when trying to call Senators Feinstein and Harris. It was truly a minimum viable product. In an age of high civic engagement, not seen since perhaps the 1960s, Resistbot hit one million users in six months, and four million before the end of 2017.

The Robot of the Resistance

Resistbotters primarily use the ‘bot to write to their officials in Congress: about health care, net neutrality, the Dreamers, Supreme Court and cabinet nominees, oversight of the President, protection for the special counsel, and thousands of other issues. Our 4.7 million users have written over 11 million letters and made almost a hundred-thousand minutes worth of calls to Congress and their state governors. For the election, Resistbot added a number of voter features, helping over 1.1 million folks either register to vote, check their registration, get the right voter ID, find polling place information, and much more.

Resistbot Helped Over 1.1 Million People Vote in the 2018 Midterms

On January 3, 2019, Democrats took control of one House of Congress thanks to the action of countless voters, activists, and organizations who sounded the alarm about the attacks on democracy and our civic institutions. The dumpster fire is not fully extinguished yet, but there’s now a check on the President of the United States and subpoena power in the hands of the House of Representatives to provide true oversight and transparency—something missing under the Speakership of Paul Ryan and the chairmanship of Devin Nunes at the House Intelligence Committee.

The surprising election of Donald Trump in November of 2016 revealed to many that the health of a number of state democracies, papered over by the presidency of Barack Obama, was in peril. There’s been a decades-long concerted effort by the right to curtail civil liberties such as abortion rights, union rights, and voting rights while gerrymandering Congressional districts to dilute the power of the people. These efforts effectively warped election results and in many cases gave the GOP unchecked ability to write and adjudicate state law. Amending the U.S. Constitution to roll back civil rights that people fought and died for, was to be next. Take North Carolina for example:

Point of View: North Carolina no longer a democracy | News & Observer

Engaging at a federal level can’t be the end of civic engagement; it needs to be the beginning. Our politics have become national in scope and the old adage of “all politics is local,” has been blown away by Trump and our national-centric media. The midterms were largely a referendum on Donald Trump and the health care access / pre-existing protections the 115th Congress spent two years trying to roll back. The nationalization is eroding the foundation underneath our feet and will continue if we don’t educate ourselves about state issues and participate at the state level. The actions of lame duck legislatures in Michigan and Wisconsin are perfect examples of how winning once isn’t enough.

Support for state legislatures is an incredibly exciting development to me for many reasons. For one, a U.S. Senator might represent as many as 40 million people (California) and the typical U.S. House district has between 700,000 and 800,000 constituents. State legislators have a much smaller constituency and are therefore much more responsive to constituent correspondence. Resistbot has the resistance in its DNA, but our goal is to forge a true relationship between you and your elected officials — not just the ones who work in Washington, D.C.

You should have political power. You may think that calling or writing in doesn’t matter, but if most voters in the district took the time to engage with their government, there would be a lot less need for that corporate and special interest money. Why would a politician need money for ads if everyone is already engaged? We can lament campaign finance laws or we can organize. For another, while we have the Supremacy Clause in the United States Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2), states can go beyond the federal government in giving rights. We see it in California fuel economy standards and their own net neutrality legislation, experiments in single payer health care in Vermont, sanctuary statues, and other cases. State laws typically matter a lot more to individuals than federal laws. So start a subscription to your local newspaper (Resistbot can find it for your and deliver the daily front page using thepage keyword) or find a reporter that covers your state politics. Then bring your resistance, or insistence, to Annapolis, Austin, Columbia, Columbus, Oklahoma City, Olympia, Phoenix, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Tallahasee, or Trenton.

Here’s a news article in each of our supported states to get you going:

Arizona State Legislature

Arizona Senate (30 Senators)
Arizona House of Representatives (60 Representatives)

5 key issues to watch at the Arizona Legislature this year

California State Legislature

California State Senate (30 Senators)
California State Assembly (60 Assemblymembers)

Newsom takes housing plan to San Jose, Silicon Valley | The Sacramento Bee

Florida State Legislature

Florida State Senate (40 Senators)
Florida House of Representatives (120 Representatives)

Maryland General Assembly

Maryland Senate (47 Senators)
Maryland House of Delegates (141 Delegates)

'A learning experience': 60 new Maryland lawmakers head to Annapolis, ready to tackle big issues

New Jersey State Legislature

New Jersey Senate (40 Senators)
New Jersey General Assembly (80 Assemblymembers)

As N.J. and Pa. fall behind in voting access, governors call for reform

Ohio General Assembly

Ohio State Senate (31 Senators)
Ohio House of Representatives (150 Representatives)

Reproductive and feminine health might be a focus for the Ohio Statehouse in 2019

Oklahoma Legislature

Oklahoma State Senate (48 Senators)
Oklahoma House of Representatives (101 Representatives)

Pace of work intensifies at Oklahoma state Senate, Republican Treat and Democrat Floyd unveil key proposals

South Carolina General Assembly

South Carolina State Senate (46 Senators)
South Carolina House of Representatives (124 Representatives)

New education-funding formula in South Carolina is sought by legislative leaders

Texas State Legislature

Texas State Senate (31 Senators)
Texas House of Representatives (150 Representatives)

Medicaid, opioids and abortion: Health care issues to expect this Texas legislative session

Utah State Legislature

Utah State Senate (25 Senators)
Utah House of Representatives (75 Representatives)

Bill would repeal, replace Medicaid expansion initiative approved by Utah voters

Washington State Legislature

Washington State Senate (49 Senators)
Washington House of Representatives (98 Representatives)

Gov. Jay Inslee uses State of the State to urge action on mental health, climate change, orcas

Want to highlight an issue you care about? Please leave it in the comments! Thank you to the Resistbot volunteers that made it all possible over the past year and OpenStates for their work in opening up state legislatures. If you like what we’re doing, Resistbot is a non-profit organization that serves its users and users alone. If you love the ‘bot, please donate to keep it alive, or you can read more about our mission and values before you do.

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