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Government and Legislative Information & Tutorial


 to know your elected officials...and help them get to know you and your profession

1. The Maryland General Assembly: Find My Representatives

Guidance: Under the heading "Find My Representatives," click Lookup. Enter your street address and zip code. Click on the name of any individual to learn more about them including contact information, past and present bills they’re affiliated with, and their bio. 

2. Find elected officials on social media platforms (LinkedIn, X, Facebook, and Instagram). For example, see Sandy J. Bartlett (del. Anne Arundel Co.) on X and Sen. Chris van Hollen, also Gov. Wes Moore on Instagram.

Guidance: Make sure the social media page you're looking at is the official page of your elected official. On X look for the gray checkmark for official government bodies & officials, on Facebook, and Instagram, look for the blue checkmark that indicates an account has gone through some sort of verification process. Or, go through an elected official's website to link to their social media profiles. 

3. Is it an election year? Check out candidates' campaign pages. To see who's running for which positions in which districts check out the Maryland State Board of Elections 

Guidance: It'll be helpful to know your legislative and congressional district numbers which you can find in link #1 above. Remember - voting is a form of advocacy! Are you registered? Do you know where your polling station is? Maryland Board of Elections

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 to know the issues at the different levels

1. Look for updates here and keep your eyes open for the MCA quarterly newsletter!

2. Search for all current and past issues discussed at the state level in the MD General Assembly

Guidance: You don't have to fill in all the search boxes. Enter what you know or browse legislation by Subjects such as: mental and behavioral health; counselors - see also Telehealth; Medicare; substance abuse; rehabilitation - just to list a few. Want to search by keyword instead? Use the search box in the uppermost right hand corner of the MD General Assembly website.

3. Read about and take action on national issues from the American Counseling Association

Guidance: You don't have to be an ACA member to utilize this resource. View the current issues ACA is taking action on, click on each one to learn more. When you're ready to take action on an issue (i.e. contacting a member of congress), visit ACA's Take Action page to get started.

4. Review and  take action on NBCC Government Affairs Page

Guidance: NBCC supports National Certified Counselors and the counseling profession through government affairs initiatives at the federal and state levels. Know local issues and get involved Grassroots Action Center

5. Search for all current and past issues discussed at the national level in Congress  

Guidance: Use the search bar at the top of the page. The dropdown to the left of the search bar lets you limit your search by congress or by source. Type in keywords, bill numbers, or officials' names. Put quotation marks around phrases like "mental health." Use Boolean search operators (AND / OR) to narrow or broaden a search. For instance, searching the current congress for keyword "mental health" yields 2,496 results. Searching the current congress for keyword "mental health" AND BIPOC yields only 26 results. 

Clicking the More Options tab right below the search box lets you filter or limit the search by other criteria such as sponsors/co-sponsors, committees, legislative action, and legislation & law numbers. Learn more about how to use various search tools on

Watch a 4-minute video on how to explore bills on

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 to know the legislative calendars 

Calendars can be helpful when you want to know when bills are being discussed in committees or on the floor of either the House or the Senate. At the US level, they can also indicate when they will be voting on bills. Most meetings are open to the public so the calendars will also provide information on how to attend.

1. Maryland County Government Calendars

Guidance: Individual counties' calendars seem to live in different places if they exist at all. Begin by clicking on the county of interest, after that you may need to scroll down a bit till you find a link for "county council" or "county government," and then on those pages look for keywords like "calendar," "schedule," or simply "meetings."

2. Maryland General Assembly Calendar

Guidance: Use the three dropdown menus at the top of the screen to change months and committees, and to toggle budget hearings on or off. Click on any event to get more details about time, location, contact information, and in some instances, meeting materials. 

3. US Congressional Calendars

Guidance: The page is divided in half with the House of Representative calendars are on the left and Senate calendars are on the right. The House's calendars include the House Majority's weekly and monthly calendars, along with the House Clerk calendars. The Senate's calendars include the Senate Leadership calendars and the Secretary of the Senate's calendars. The link to committee meetings is toward the bottom. 

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 to know the legislative and advocacy process and how to take action

1. MD General Assembly's "The Legislative Process" interactive chart

Guidance: Scroll down a bit to see the interactive chart. Click on the small grey circles along the timeline (they turn yellow with a black dot if they are active and after they have been viewed)  (i.e. Original Chamber >> Referral to Committee [Cmte]) to learn more about what happens at each stage.

2. MD General Assembly Committees 

Guidance: Note the menu that is on the left side of the page. Each of those items corresponds to committee related data or information. For instance, clicking on Senate will display both standing and select MD Senate committees, their chair, vice chair, and contact information. On the Senate, House, or Other page, click on the name of any committee will display contact information, legislation, meetings, membership, and subcommittees.

3. The Legislative Process (video overview from

Guidance: A 5-minute video that walks through the legislative process at the national level. Perhaps more helpful are the topic-specific videos shown on the right side of the page. These additional videos include: Introduction and Referral of Bills; Committee Consideration; Calendars and Scheduling; House Floor; Senate Floor; Executive Business in the Senate; Resolving Differences; and Presidential Actions. 

4. Congressional Committees

Guidance: When you know which committee(s) in which houses are sponsoring a bill at the national level, visit this page to find their meeting schedule, to watch live or recorded meetings, to find out more information about their subcommittees, members, leadership, and news. Most importantly, you can find details regarding progress made on the bills currently in committee. 

5. ACA's Action Center

Guidance: If you're unsure how to contact a representative or if you're not sure what to say, this may be a good place to start. The Action Center provides easy to fill out forms that generate pre-formatted emails about current issues that go directly to the appropriate legislators.  "ACA uses VoterVoice to simplify the process for members [and non-members] to contact their representatives on federal and state issues. You can scroll down to the recent VoterVoice campaigns, legislation, or contact information for your representatives by entering your zip code to contact them yourself." 

6. NBCC's Grassroots Action Center

Guidance: NBCC's Action Center highlights advocacy issues from across the country. On the right side of the page, you can read the latest blog updates, sign up for advocacy alerts, find legislation and officials. To learn more about a certain issue click on its title. On the topic's page, you'll read a brief status update and on the right side of the topic page you will find a widget that allows you to write or call the local legislators (there's even a phone script!), and post on social media if you choose.  

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 to know additional sources of supplemental information

1. Maryland state agencies and government offices

Guidance: Visit this page if you're looking for information from MD statewide agencies such as the attorney general, the education department, emergency management, or social services among many others. 

2. Maryland counties' local government offices

Guidance: Visit this link to learn more about a specific county's government and structure through documents like the county charter, county code, a list of county executives, the organizational chart, budget, election returns, municipalities and more. In some instances, there are links to county-level departments and agencies such as the department of aging, parks and rec, and housing and community development to name a few. 


Guidance: Visit this site if you want to do a deep dive into "tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy." Of particular interest may be Maryland's state summary which breaks down financial contributions across delegates, candidates, donors, industries, geography, and presidential. See: 

4. GovTrack.uspublishes the status of federal legislation, information about your representative and senators in Congress including voting records, and original research on legislation

Guidance:  Use GovTrack to track bills for updates by getting alerts and understand the broader context of legislation through our statistical analyses. Read their original research on GovTrack Insider and in their congressional misconduct database. You can read more about the data they have, including how you can get it.

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Get to know yourself and discover which issues related to mental and behavioral health are important to you

1. How can legislators know what's important if we don't tell them? How can they know what's important when they may only hear from a few of us? Consider: The danger of a single story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Guidance: Listen and reflect on how your voice, intellect, and expertise can transform ideas, promote change, and increase awareness. Use this understanding to assist in developing talking points and building broader perspectives. 

2. Discover what you care about; take the Advocacy Competencies Self-Assessment (ACSA) Survey developed by M.J. Ratts and A. Ford. (Permission granted by M.J. Ratts)

Guidance: Complete the survey, use the scoring guide to increase insight into the domains of advocacy to assist you in engaging with elected officials and policy making. 

3. Identifying and knowing what you care about can assist you in determining what topics to focus on and spend energy advocating. It can seem overwhelming reviewing all the potential topics in advocacy. Taking values surveys provides opportunity to dive deeper into passions, interests, and compassions. Here are a few free websites which contain values inventories: Personal Values Assessment , Valued Living Questionnaire , Portrait Values Questionnaire 

Guidance: Choose one or all the surveys or take one you know; analyze the outcomes to learn how values play a role in your life. Correlate advocacy topics to the top values of your surveys to create a personalized prioritize advocacy topics list. 

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"People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it." - Simon Sinek, author of Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action

Maryland Counseling Association

915 Russell Ave, Suite B Gaithersburg, MD 20879


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