Get a Seat at the Table: Utah's Legislature and How it Impacts Nonprofit Organizations


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Each January through March, the Utah Legislature meets to discuss and enact laws that have a significant impact on nonprofit organizations. Mike will discuss the laws affecting nonprofits that were enacted during the 2012 session, the issues that will likely be discussed in the upcoming year and how to get a "seat at the table."

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Get a Seat at the Table: Utah's Legislature and How it Impacts Nonprofit Organizations

  1. 1. Utah Nonprofits Association Educational Conference GET A SEAT AT THE TABLE: UTAH’S LEGISLATURE AND HOW IT IMPACTS NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS J. Michael Bailey October 11, 2012 Utah Cultural Celebration Center West Valley City, Utah 4836-8213-6847
  2. 2. Goals of Today’s Presentation Educate you Alert you to issues that may affect your nonprofit Arm you for discussions at backyard barbecues • This presentation is a source of general information for clients and friends of Parsons Behle & Latimer. Its content should not be construed as legal advice and attendees should not act upon the information in the presentation without consulting legal counsel 2
  3. 3. Outline of PresentationI. Utah Legislature 101II. 2012 Session ReviewIII. Protecting your Nonprofit by Playing an Active RolePlease ask questions throughout 3
  4. 4. Composition of LegislatureRepublicans (80) Democrats (24) 4
  5. 5. It was a Very Busy Session0 200 400 600 800 Bills that were numbered (891) Bills that were introduced (764) Bills that passed (478) 5
  6. 6. It was a Very Busy Session The Governor vetoed 2 bills (HB363 (Sex education) and HB414) 72% of the bills were not written & introduced until after the first day The legislators admitted in the press that they cannot keep track of it all (especially at the end) 6
  7. 7. Comparing Bill Passage Over Time 2011 2012 782 764 504 478 Bills Bills Bills Bills Introduced Passed (62%) Introduced Passed (64%) 7
  8. 8. 2012 Bill Passage By The NumbersRepublican - sponsored bills that passed Democrat - (414) sponsored bills that passed (64) 8
  9. 9. 2012 Bill Passage By The Numbers 78% 56% 56% 55% Senate Senate House House Republicans Democrats Republicans Democrats 9
  10. 10. 2012 Bill Passage By The Numbers Most Prolific Legislators – Republican Senator Curt Bramble (20 out of 26 for 76.9%) – Democrat Senator Ben McAdams (9 out of 15 for 60%) 10
  11. 11. It All Starts With A Budget Budget was $13 billion Had $440 million more to spend – Funded growth in education – State employees - 1% raise – $11 million into rainy day fund – Did not borrow for roads 11
  12. 12. Session’s Broad Themes That Affect Nonprofits Employment E-Verify Local Government Health Insurance Mandates “The Loud Issues” 12
  13. 13. Employment Initiatives That Passed Employer premium reduction for wellness programs (HB144S02 – Dunnigan) Unemployment insurance top rate reduced 2% (SB129 – Bramble) 13
  14. 14. Employment Initiatives That Failed Immigration (HB300 – Sandstrom/Herrod) – Would have repealed the guest worker provisions enacted last year Job Discrimination (SB51 – McAdams) – Would have approved a statewide prohibition on job discrimination based on sexual orientation “Open Carry of Firearms Bill ” did not pass (HB49S03 – Ray) 14
  15. 15. E-Verify Governor Herbert wanted teeth put in the law – Disappointed it didn’t happen – Bill would have: • Suspended business licenses for violations • Applied to all businesses • Applied to hiring of independent contractors Legislature will pursue it next year 15
  16. 16. Local Government Legislature has mixed feelings about local control but mostly let cities have the reins – Allowed local anti-idling ordinances – Did not prohibit cities from regulating electronic billboards – Did create state ethics committee to hear local ethics issues 16
  17. 17. Health Insurance Mandates Health Insurance Mandates – Important because if passed before 2014, become set in stone for state under federal health care reform – Many bills this session – Only autism pilot project passed • To serve 350 children at a cost of $30,000 annually per child • “Back-door mandate” 17
  18. 18. The Loud Issues Tanning Beds – Not for minors Hookah and e-cigarettes – Outlaw them Sex Education – Don’t ask, don’t tell 18
  19. 19. Protecting Your Nonprofit Employ the Chicago Rule: “Get involved early and often” Play Offense Play Defense Get Involved or Hire Someone to be Involved (during the interim process, not just the session) Famous old saying: “You’re either at the table or you’re on the menu” 19
  20. 20. Play Offense 38-15-1 is the Lobbyist Rule of Thumb: – 38 votes in the House of Representatives – 15 votes in the Senate – 1 “vote” from the Governor 20
  21. 21. Disadvantages of Playing Offense It costs more The odds are longer (not as favorable) 21
  22. 22. Advantages Of Playing Offense Instead of just defending against the bad you can achieve great things The specific law or practice that has impeded your nonprofit goes away You never know the ways in which the government will help you until you ask 22
  23. 23. Steps for a Good Offense Analyze what assistance your nonprofit needs from the government Craft a solution that negatively impacts as few other entities as possible “Shoot for the stars” Think big. You never know what you can get passed until you try (clean-up standards bill) Sometimes “the best defense is a good offense” 23
  24. 24. Play Defense Lobbyist Ancient Proverb: “There is only one way to pass a bill but many ways to kill it.” 24
  25. 25. Arrows in the Defensive Quiver Kill the bill in interim stage Kill the bill by lobbying the agencies that are recommending the bill Kill the bill by lobbying the agencies that are affected by the bill Kill the bill in the drafting stage Kill the bill in committee Kill the bill on the floor 25
  26. 26. And When All Else Fails… Amend, amend, amend Sometimes a really good amendment actually kills a bill 26
  27. 27. Get a Seat at the Table Get Involved – Participate in the political process – Educate yourself / Stay informed If you see an issue of concern, what can you do about it? – Build a coalition – Contact your legislator ( – Contact us…We will help 27
  28. 28. Other Ways to Get a Seat at the Table Find Friends – Who do your board members know? – Who do your staff members know? – Who might be ready to help you? – Do you have leverage or pressure points? Make Friends – Who should your board members get to know? – Who should your staff members get to know? – What other members of the UNA will help? Marketing/Messaging 28
  29. 29. Outside Help to Protect Your Nonprofit To strategize with clients To monitor the Legislative Session To draft legislation To help get bills passed To help get bills killed To seek appropriations To help with incentive packages To help clients get whatever they need to protect their nonprofits (no request is too difficult)
  30. 30. What About 2013? Legislature has interim study committees that meet monthly Master study list gives some idea of issues to be studied What can we expect to see in 2013? 30
  31. 31. New Faces are Coming in 2013 Numerous legislators ran for or are running for other seats – Rep. Chris Herrod (US Senate) – Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (US House-4th District) – Rep. Ken Sumsion (Utah Governor) – Rep. John Dougall (Auditor) – Sen. Ross Romero (SL County Mayor) – Sen. Ben McAdams (SL County Mayor) (didn’t have to resign or choose which race to enter) 31
  32. 32. New Faces are Coming in 2013 Redistricting just occurred – Some legislators lost at convention Retirements – Senate President Michael Waddoups – House Minority Leader David Litvack – Senate Minority Whip Karen Morgan – Rep. Todd Kiser 32
  33. 33. Study Issues That May Affect Nonprofits Study ways to incentivize wellness Third-hand smoke in the workplace Employment Discrimination Subcontractors 33
  34. 34. More Study Topics Government Competition with Private Sector Coal and other severance taxes – Impact on utility rates Other Issues? 34
  35. 35. Task Forces Economic Development – To include air quality issues Health System Reform 35
  36. 36. Don’t Hesitate to Call We’re here to help – never be reluctant to call – About employment issues… – or immigration… – or any issue relating to nonprofits 36
  37. 37. Thank you Mike Bailey direct: (801) 536-6777 cell: (801) 201-0115 email: twitter: @utahcounselor 37