You run state government relations for a trade association or a company. It is your job to make sure that legislative activities are neutral or positive to your stakeholders. Periodically, a legislator makes a push that appears to be harmful to your interests. Perhaps she calls for a study of a topic related to your business. Or, he pushes a proposal that is primarily symbolic but could be a problem down the road. As you consult with your contacts in the legislature and the governor’s office, you realize that the above activity will go nowhere and you are relieved. Now you can turn your attention to other issues. Or can you?
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Stateside Associates, a local and state government affairs firm, offers some cautions on ignoring proposals that go nowhere. Government tends to be slow-moving and conservative, which means that new ideas take a while to develop into mainstream movements. The study mentioned above that was not funded may have planted an idea in the mind of an influential legislator. It is important to stay ahead of the curve on these kinds of issues. Constance Campenella, the President and CEO of Stateside Associates offers the following recommendations:
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- Consider the source of the policy recommendation. Is it a well-known organization that has demonstrated legislative success in the past? If so, get out in front of the issue.’
- Is the sponsor in the legislature serious and successful as a lawmaker? If so, his/her reputation could enable the legislation to move forward.
- Has the legislature changed in leadership or in membership so that more members now lean towards the initiative? If so, that will make your job more difficult.
- Is the topic popular on social media or among legislators? If yes, it means that more lawmakers could be receptive to the initiative.
- Is traditional media buzzing about the topic and supportive of the legislation? If so, you need to address this support.
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If you find the above issues happening in the legislature, give Stateside Associates a call for some recommendations.