NLFRTA & OTA Hill visits at Organic Week 2022–February 2, 2022

As you know, advocacy is critical to our work and is the cornerstone of DC Organic Week, but before you register for hill visits I want to be up front about what to expect. Things are different at the U.S. Capitol and it’s not just due to COVID health and safety precautions. Access to the U.S. Capitol complex and buildings remain severely restricted and are closed to the general public due to security concerns after the January 6 attack. In-person meetings although limited are still happening and we are requesting in-person meetings for Advocacy Day. Here’s what to expect:
Current In-Person Meeting Process
Each office has the discretion to accept the meeting as in person or not and have their own individual office policies. Of the offices that are open to in person, many have restrictions such as: constituents only, all attendees require proof of vaccination etc.OTA is requiring proof of vaccination to attend Organic Week and hill meetings. Please read our COVID safety protocols here. Although OTA is using a third-party vendor to verify vaccination status for our event, offices may request additional documentation from you such as your COVID vaccination card in order to participate in a meeting.Per D.C.’s current mandate, you will be expected to wear a mask at all times inside the buildings and during meetings.If the office confirms an in-person meeting, attendees must call the office and have a staffer meet them at the entrance of the office building upon arrival. Advocacy Associates will provide every attendee with the primary point of contact for each meeting.The maximum number of attendees allowed in per office is 5. We will be restricting meetings to mostly constituents only so your meeting groups will be small and in some cases, if you are the only constituent, you will be taking the meeting by yourself and won’t be accompanied by a group of OTA team members.Attendees must sign in and present ID to Capitol Police once through security. You will be assigned a Hall Pass indicating the building and floor you are allowed to be on.The staffer will escort you up to the office for the meeting and escort you out of the building when the meeting concludes.You are not allowed to roam the hallways or hangout in the cafeteria or be escorted to another building. If an attendee has a meeting in a separate building, they must exit and reenter through that building with the same process described above.OTA will schedule meetings accordingly to allow for enough time in between meetings to acoomidate the security procedures. You may only have 1 or 2 meetings throughout the day. Additional programming and meetings will occur at the InterContinental on Wednesday. To view the latest Organic Week schedule go here.There is no place to gather when attendees have to wait outside for their next meeting. The weather will be very cold outside (snowy, rainy, windy etc) and the nearest public indoor areas will be .25-.5 miles away. Because of this OTA will have a refreshment room reserved at the Hall of States (near the U.S. Senate buildings) for attendees to take shelter in between their meetings.     
I know this is a lot of information to take in. We hope that even with the restrictions you are able to participate in hill meetings and register to attend. Even though the meetings will be pared back and more limited in scope, face to face contact with legislators and their staff is valuable to our advocacy goals. Thank you for your patience and understanding and please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself (mdebates@ota.com) or Laura Holm (lholm@ota.com) for assistance or questions.

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