A new legislative session is beginning. The composition of the legislature is much changed from the last several sessions. For better or worse, this means our lobbying efforts on behalf of the concept of justice and due process is as important as ever.
Patricia Cummings and Allen Place will head up our efforts with the able assistance of David Gonzalez and Kristen Etter. It is important that we conduct our efforts in the legislature in a manner that maximizes our effectiveness and enhances our credibility with the legislators and their staff. In furtherance of that effort, we would like to ask all of you to give generously of your time when called upon by these four people to do so.
The four people managing our lobbying efforts will probably call upon you to do two things:
1. Lend your advice on areas that are the subject of legislation in areas where you are recognized as having expertise or special experience. If you feel you should be on that list, by all means send them an email, but please refrain from calling them unsolicited because their time is going to be very, very limited. Legislative committee hearings occur simultaneously and often run long into the night. Our lobbyists are going to be very, very busy.
2. If asked to do so, lend your voice as a witness before a legislative committee. I suggest that you do so only when asked, because our effectiveness depends in part on the coordination of our efforts.
In past legislative years many of our members have appeared at the legislature to testify without coordinating their appearance with our legislative team. Of course, every citizen has the right to do this, but please consider this: Lobbying the legislature is a very complex process. Much goes on behind the scenes of which you are not aware. Often strategies are not public because making them public defeats them. Imagine trying a complex white-collar crime case and having an inexperienced lawyer intervene in the midst of the trial to “help” you with your defense. All of us are trial lawyers. Lobbying is a very different beast.
It is going to be a very interesting year. We have a great team leading our efforts. Let us all help them, not hinder them. If you want to communicate with them, please email them. If they need to visit with you on the phone, they will call you. Please take their calls when they do and support their efforts.