Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature

Michael Covington Governmental Relations Officer South Carolina Department of Transportation

Today’s Outline
I. Understand the Process II. Know Your Environment III. Communicate Effectively
Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature

Governmental Relations Rule #1
Sincerity is the Best Policy

Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature

Step 1: Understand the Process 1. Know your agency’s position on issues and its policy on legislative involvement by employees Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

Familiarize Yourself with the Legislative Process • • • • • How is the Code of Laws laid out? How are bills and resolutions drafted? How do bills get introduced? How does the appropriations process work? How is testimony/input received? Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .Step 1: Understand the Process 2.

Step 1: Understand the Process 3. How are regulations developed and adopted? Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

How best to monitor the legislative process? • www. or create your own • Request notice of committee meetings Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .SCStatehouse.Gov (or.Step 1: Understand the Process 4. your equivalent) o Review meeting schedule o Set up “Track Legislation” account o Review meeting schedule and daily calendars • Employ a monitoring service.

Step 1: Understand the Process 5. Review state ethics laws • • • Are you required to register as a lobbyist? Is your agency required to register? What are the “Rules of Engagement?” Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

Read: Covington’s Rules of Legislative Procedure Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .Step 1: Understand the Process 6.

Wins Battles The Art of War By Sun Tzu Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature . Read: * Understand Your Enemy * Winning Without Battle is Best * Strategy. not Power.Step 1: Understand the Process 7. Be Prepared.

Step 1: Understand the Process 8. Be Warned. Read: • • • Motivation Distraction Ends Justify the Means The Prince By Niccolo Machiavelli Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

• • • • • Have a basic awareness of politics Republican Democrat Rural Urban Top Current Issues Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .Step 2: Know Your Environment 1.

Step 2: Know Your Environment 2. Familiarize Yourself with the Leadership • Learn Committee Structure • Learn who chairs the committees • Who are in leadership positions? Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

Step 2: Know Your Environment 3. • • • • Understand what motivates both your allies and your adversaries Be attuned to their predispositions Pay attention to their judgment of others to understand how they project their own views onto the political environment Look at campaign disclosure reports. Who are their supporters? Substitute names of politicians when playing “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature . Don’t be overcome by the “Shock and Awe” of the environment.Step 2: Know Your Environment 4.

Step 3: Communicate Your Message 1. “Legislative Relations” is both an art and a science Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

Come with your hat in your hand. but wear your big boy pants Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .Step 3: Communicate Your Message 2.

Step 3: Communicate Your Message 3. Prepare yourself • • • • Research the issue Talk through the issues in advance Use your experts Seek “Third Party Endorsement” It’s hard to fly with the eagles when you are surrounded by turkeys Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

Step 3: Communicate Your Message 4. Manage your issues: • • • Weigh your chances. Establish priorities Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature . Consider the probability of success.

Step 3: Communicate Your Message 5. Collaborate • • • Make alliances Build coalitions Use other agencies and organizations o State and Federal Agencies o Trade Associations o Advocacy Groups o Colleges and Universities Work with private sector lobbyists Use “Grassroots” if appropriate • • BEWARE OF COVINGTON’S RULE #10 Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

it is your job to EDUCATE. • • • • • Facts Research Policy Analysis Practical Advice Public Good Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature . As an agency representative. not LOBBY.Step 3: Communicate Your Message 6.

” “Men fight hardest when they have no way to retreat.Step 3: Communicate Your Message 7.” Sun Tzu Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature . not politics Be a problem solver. offer solutions • • • Stick to policy. It’s easy to object… If possible. not a trouble maker Give them “a way out.

Tell both sides of the issue Don’t lead them down the garden path… Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .Step 3: Communicate Your Message 8.

Step 3: Communicate Your Message 9. Get the right perspective. Empathize. To understand a person. you must first walk a mile in his moccasins … Native American Proverb Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

I learned from Hogan’s Heroes.Step 3: Communicate Your Message “Everything I ever needed to know about governmental relations.” Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

Confront the issue. Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .Step 3: Communicate Your Message 10. Stay on point.

Step 3: Communicate Your Message 11. Put Out Fires • You’ll know there’s a fire when somebody starts blowing smoke. Find the source of the fire. • • Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature . Put it out before it spreads.

Understanding the Rules Rule #3 “Perception is 99% of reality.” Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

Understanding the Rules Rule #12 “The most innocuous bills are always the ones that get amended with damaging language. For promised joy!” Robert Burns Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature . you are not alone. And leave us nothing but grief and pain. In proving foresight may be vain: The best laid schemes of mice and men Go often awry.” “But little Mouse.

as soon as it is introduced as a bill you will find out where your reasoning is flawed.Understanding the Rules Rule #17 “Good bills don’t become law just because they make sense” • Also see Rule #24 “If you think you have a good idea.” Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

you will never get him to understand the complicated reality of it.Understanding the Rules Rule #22 “Once a legislator has deduced a simple understanding of your bill.” Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

Understanding the Rules Rule #30 “Compromise is useful only when victory is impossible.” Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

Remember. There’s Always Next Year Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature .

org Advocating for Your Agency with the Legislature . SC 29201 (803) 737-0593 covingtonmd@scdot.Discussion Michael Covington SC Department of Transportation 955 Park Street Columbia.

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