State Lobbying


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Introduction to State Lobbying

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State Lobbying

  1. 1. The following is excerpted from the 12-hour seminar. More at
  2. 2. The Campaign Method Theme – organization, planning, discipline and execution lead to greater success “Tool Box” – methods, checklists, how-to skills, and strategies Works in all states Results - improved probabilities of getting what you need from state government
  3. 3. Campaign Method Overview – Legislative Lobbying: what, why, who, where, when Effective lobbying Assessing and increasing political strength Building lobbying campaign infrastructure Crafting bills and supporting materials
  4. 4. Campaign Method Overview (cont’d) Working with legislative staff Using legislative procedure Committees and caucuses Committee testimony Complying with state ethics law and rules
  5. 5. Campaign Method Overview – (cont’d) Making campaign contributions Gaining special interest support Negotiating for consensus Hiring and working with contract lobbyists Motivating lawmakers
  6. 6. Campaign Method Overview – (cont’d) Getting and keeping lawmakers’ votes Actions after committee of 1st reference Lobbying your bill into law
  7. 7. Campaign Method Overview – (cont’d) Next step: Give “feet” to your statute, structure how your law will actually affect your daily life, make law into reality through agency rulemaking.
  8. 8. Campaign Method Overview – Executive Constitutional and political foundations of US executive agencies and law Agency ideal and structure Agency legal powers and limits Planning for agency advocacy Face-to-face with agency decision makers
  9. 9. Campaign Method Overview – (cont’d) Rule development and adoption Responding to promulgated agency rule • administrative appeal • judicial appeal • legislative appeal Similarities and differences between legislative and executive agency lobbying
  10. 10. Campaign Method Overview – (cont’d) Similarities between legislative and executive agency lobbying, for example − drafting supporting materials − coalitions − inter-interest group negotiations Differences between legislative and executive agency lobbying, for example agency lobbying − technically driven − importance of experts − less politics
  11. 11. Lobbying What, Why, Who, Where and When
  12. 12. Lobbying is A logical process requiring • Planning • Organization • Execution • Campaign Method for More Effective State Government Affairs • Guide to State Legislative Lobbying • Governed by a body of law and etiquette
  13. 13. “I can say that the Guide and the seminar experience are essential tools for both beginning and experienced government relations pro- fessionals.” Vito G. Gallo Assist. V.P., State Relations Lehigh University (PA)
  14. 14. “Mr. Guyer's clear structure and methodology for an effective lobbying campaign added to my own effective- ness with the legislature contributing to me being ranked one of the five best lobbyists in the state of Florida.” Desinda Wood Carper Senior Legislative Advocate Florida League of Cities
  15. 15. Lobbying is not A rational process. It can be: • Petty • Arbitrary and capricious • Designed for political solutions • Bad laws are passed all the time
  16. 16. The system is to be political The framers designed a system to implement the will of the majority, while protecting the rights of the minority.
  17. 17. The system is to be political Parliament has an be at once the nation's Committee of Grievances, and its Congress of Opinions. John Stuart Mill
  18. 18. The system is to be political Publius rejects as merely visionary any plan for civil government that depends upon reforming human nature for the purpose of eliminating factions and making all citizens devoted to the common good. Scott R. Stripling, The Founders' View of Character and the Presidency dersview.html James Madison
  19. 19. Typically “Lobbying” means… (a) Appear[ing] in person in the legislative building or any other building in which the Legislature or any of its standing committees hold meetings; and (b) Communicat[ing] directly with a member of the Legislative Branch on behalf of someone other than himself to influence legislative action whether or not any compensation is received for the communication. Derived from NRS 218.912 “Lobbyist” defined
  20. 20. Typically “Lobbying” means… • … attempting to influence the passage or defeat of any legislation by directly communicating with any legislator… AZ 41-1231. Definitions • communicate … with any elective state official, agency official, or legislative official for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action. Derived from CA Government Code Section 82039
  21. 21. Lobbying is a fundamental US right “Congress shall make no law… abridging the right of the people to… petition the government for a redress of grievances.” First amendment US Bill of Rights
  22. 22. What if citizens don’t lobby? If once (the People) become inattentive to the public affairs... I, and Congress, and Assemblies, Judges and Governors shall all become wolves. Thomas Jefferson
  23. 23. Why lobby legislatures? Neither liberty nor property is safe when the legislature is in session. Edmund Burke (1729-1797) British statesman and orator Note: similar statements are attributed to Mark Twain and H. L. Mencken
  24. 24. Why lobby executive agencies? The execution of laws is more important than the making of them. Thomas Jefferson
  25. 25. Why lobby executive agencies? In other words: What the legislature giveth an executive agency can taketh away and what the legislature wouldn’t give an executive agency might.
  26. 26. Why lobby? For most practical purposes, the General Assembly can do anything it wants, to you or for you! Agencies can do almost anything they want to you.
  27. 27. Lobby the legislature to 1. Gain better laws 2. Protect favorable laws 3. Repeal unfavorable laws 4. Stop adverse proposals for laws (bills) 5. Instruct courts and the executive as to public policy in the state
  28. 28. Abrogation of Case Law It is the intent of the Legislature to reject and abrogate earlier case law interpretations on the meaning of or definition of "accident", "occupational disease", "arising out of", and "in the course of the employment". It is also the intent of the legislature to reject and abrogate earlier case law interpretations on the meaning of or definition of "owner". MO SB1 2005
  29. 29. Lobby legislature to (cont’d) 6. Affect state executive agencies 7. Build momentum among states 8. Build momentum to affect Congress
  30. 30. Who can lobby legislatures? 1. Organizations for religious worship and private foundations banned 2. 501(c)(3) IRC limited to budget per cent 3. 501(c)(4-12) IRC unlimited when advancing organization’s tax-exempt purpose 4. Individual (corporate/natural)
  31. 31. Who do we lobby? 1. Special interest groups 2. Legislative staff 3. Executive agencies 4. Legislators 5. Governor
  32. 32. Who do we lobby (cont’d) 6. Electronic media 7. Press 8. General public
  33. 33. Where do we lobby? • Capital • Capitol • Lawmakers’ districts • Social context • Business context • Wherever we find opportunity
  34. 34. When do we lobby? • Pre-regular session • Regular session –early –late • Special session • Interim
  35. 35. When is the best time to lobby? The best time to lobby is when you don’t need anything !!
  36. 36. Effective Lobbying
  37. 37. Effective lobbying defined Effective lobbying v. tr., the act or process of getting a lawmaker to vote your way; as contrasted with slaps on the back, handshakes, encouraging words, smiles, and other similar common forms of political smoke and inaction.
  38. 38. Effective state lobbying Requires knowing 1. Lawmakers are not there for you 2. You are there for them 3. Lawmakers are your “customers” 4. Each customer’s unique set of needs 5. How to meet those needs 6. Customers buy to meet their needs, not your needs
  39. 39. 4 keys to effective lobbying 1. Campaign based 2. Established on trust 3. Education centered 4. Constituent driven
  40. 40. 1. Campaign based 1. Series 2. Aggressive planned activities 3. Maximize chances of “making the sale”
  41. 41. 2. Established on trust Trust is supported by 3 legs 1. Honesty 2. Accuracy 3. Credibility • know what influences targeted lawmaker • familiar with formal processes • abide by the rules
  42. 42. Rules Legislatures work on 3 sets of rules 1. Written 2. Unwritten 3. Unwritten and unspoken
  43. 43. 3. Education centered Educate lawmakers about 1. Yourself 2. Your association 3. Your issues 4. Need for your bill 5. Technical foundations
  44. 44. Education centered (cont’d) 6. Legal foundations 7. Politics surrounding your issue 8. How your idea is good for • lawmaker • district • state
  45. 45. 4. Constituent Driven 1. Lawmaker’s first concern 2. Elect legislators to serve 3. “Un-elect” those who don’t serve 4. Have relationships with legislators 5. Have relationships with others who have relationships with lawmakers 6. In-district first, then out-of-district
  46. 46. Constituency “Getting a lawmaker's vote is 10% access and 90% heat.” Col. Gayle Gardner HI State President Eagle Forum
  47. 47. Using the power of constituency – grassroots - is the foundation of the Campaign Method. “The voter is always right.” Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey to TN Lobbyists Association September 14, 2009
  48. 48. Ranking of lobbying influences 1. Spontaneous constituent letters 2. Telephone calls from constituents 6. Visits from constituents 7. Articles in district dailies 11. Orchestrated constituent mail 19. Visits from lobbyists 28. Visits from D.C. representatives American University, 1981
  49. 49. Percent of Congressional offices stating that e-mail from outside the district is of ________ importance compared to e-mail from district 60 40 20 0 less no same more Bonner and Associates/American University (1999)
  50. 50. When citizens attempt to contact other Members than their own, these messages are usually forwarded to the appropriate Member or are ignored because offices do not have the resources to answer non-constituents. Communicating with Congress Recommendations for Improving the Democratic Dialogue Congressional Management Foundation (2008) at 18
  51. 51. Congressional e-mail contact model • 82% of those contacting Congress did so at request of 3rd party interest group • Email often suspect as fraudulent or “spam” • Emails are “batched” into summaries on basis of senders’ contact information • More than one email per topic is wasted • Faxes are least influential form of contact due to labor to enter into batch format Id.
  52. 52. Model email template page 19
  53. 53. Constituents The mode of communication to lawmakers is less important than the constituency of the communicator.
  54. 54. Constituents Non-constituents “need not apply.”
  55. 55. Guyer’s influence rankings 1. Individuals close to the lawmaker 2. Affected constituent supporters 3. Unaffected constituent supporters 4. Constituents, potential supporters 5. Persons who employ constituents
  56. 56. Influence rankings (cont’d) 6. Friendly fellow lawmakers 7. Legislative aides and staff 8. Friendly special interests 9. Chamber party leadership 10.Governor
  57. 57. Influence rankings (cont’d) 11.Executive agencies 12.Media – print and electronic 13.Non contributing constituents 14.Contributing non constituents 15.Affected non constituents
  58. 58. Influence rankings (cont’d) 16.Contract lobbyists 17.Unfriendly lawmakers 18.Non contributing non-constituents 19.Regularly unfriendly groups 20.Unaffected non-contributing non-constituents
  59. 59. Move up the rankings Examine your rankings and ask yourself • Where do I rank? • What can I do to improve my own ranking? • Who with a higher ranking can I ally for greater influence with lawmaker?
  60. 60. Assessing and Increasing Political Strength “Charity” Illinois Statehouse
  61. 61. Why assess political strength? 1. Gain credibility with special interests 2. Build credibility with legislature 3. Keep legislature’s short attention span 4. Conserve political capital 5. Maximize + increase member motivation 6. Husband resources – money, time, etc. 7. Defend against unfavorable amendment
  62. 62. What if I don’t assess strength? You may end up worse off than if you never went to the legislature at all!