Ninia Linero (00:08):
Welcome, everyone. We’re just gonna give a few minutes for everyone to join. While we are waiting we just want to throw out an icebreaker question and you can answer in the chat. Let’s see here. State capitals, what is your favorite and least favorite state capital to visit when meeting with legislators? Go ahead and throw it in the chat.
Pierce Haley (00:35):
That’s a good one.
Ninia Linero (00:39):
Pierce Haley (00:40):
Partial to Massachusetts. It’s like a museum. Do I like Oklahoma’s? Cuz they have all the people who paid for it in the Rotunda.
Ninia Linero (00:49):
Oh, I’ve never seen that. That’s one I have not been to.
Pierce Haley (00:52):
And they also have an oil rig pump.
Ninia Linero (00:56):
Interesting. I went to Utah’s last year and I thought it was very pretty. It was, I think it’s newer.
Pierce Haley (01:06):
Tennessee was pretty, but they wouldn’t let me in because I was, I was jogging and I didn’t have an appointment.
Ninia Linero (01:12):
Oh, interesting. That is interesting. Welcome again to everyone who’s joining. We’re just giving a few minutes for people to jump on. We have an icebreaker question in the chat. What is your favorite and least favorite state capital to visit when meeting with legislators? Springfield, Illinois. Awesome. We had another Oklahoma, Colorado, Florida, Missouri. Oh, Missouri’s least favorite. DC. Santa Fe. Awesome. Okay, well, feel free to keep throwing in your answers in the chat. I think we’re gonna go ahead and get started here. So, welcome everyone. Thank you for joining today’s Wonk Week session. I’m excited to welcome Pierce Haley here with us from Serlin Hailey. Pierce Haley is an attorney based in Boston, Massachusetts. He has been lobbying for 21 years and previously served in government at the state level for another 14. I will kick it over to Pierce to get started.
Pierce Haley (02:39):
Ninia, thanks. Thanks for having me. And I’d like to thank Quorum which is a product we use every day, and they’re not paying me to say this. It’s invaluable. So we appreciate it. We use it to track bills in all 50 states across multitudes of industries. Serlin Hailey started as a small Massachusetts lobbying when I joined it. And we are now registered in 37 states this year. So we’ve grown. We have offices now in Augusta, Maine, Washington, DC and Sacramento, California. So we do everything from retail to financial services. Waste management and recycling is where a lot of our out-of-state work and home warranty space. So this is a great opportunity. So I’ll just jump in here. So I was asked to cover a couple of things for everybody.
Pierce Haley (03:35):
Prepping for the new faces as the governor’s office has changes, managing your lobbyists, and shoe leather lobbying. So I know a bunch of the issues, the number issue, number two issue, number three. I know distinctly cuz that’s, I get managed and I manage. And then we also do the actual work of lobbying for everybody. So that’s kind of our agenda for this afternoon. As I said we are a national law firm. I’ve already repeated this. I would be remiss to not say that we are skilled in passing legislation, not just stopping it. I think that takes a different focus when you’re lobbying especially in, in states that are difficult, like the coast, the west, and the east. So it’s very different than just killing bills.
Pierce Haley (04:28):
Before we go into the content, I will say Ninia, please feel free to interrupt me if people have questions. We’ll keep this as a conversation going. So as we know, this is a big election year midterm election, new potential partisanship. Everywhere you go you don’t know who’s going to be elected. It could be an unknown, or it could be somebody that you know very well. And so one of the things that our firm likes to do is meet with all the staff prior to the election. Regardless of the viability of the campaign, you have no idea what’s gonna be happening. What could happen, you know, media hit, press release, a gaff in a debate. We have our first Massachusetts debate tonight between the two candidates. New Hampshire and Rhode Island were yesterday. There’s a lot of news that is coming out of that.
Pierce Haley (05:28):
So and just the other thing I like to stress is the person checking you in at that fundraiser could be the gatekeeper for the next Secretary of Health and Human Services. You don’t know who that person is and what that job is going to be. So treat everybody. And I know they do. You do it with respect cuz you don’t know where these people are going to go. I find a lot of times people come knocking on my door for interviews. That’s one of the other ways that I make inroads to these people. So how do you establish your credibility? Whether it’s internal or external, it’s based on your clients. They may hate your client, but you represent them and they have to listen to you. When you’re chasing down a meeting, being rejected in the end, that can help you with leadership when you’re fighting on an issue. But there are always issues that are always going to be coming. And the other piece here is that with the new administration, new issues, some issues will get pushed to the side. So we will have a whole new idea of what things are coming down.
Pierce Haley (06:41):
Again, you know, nothing that you don’t already know, working up and down the chain of command, who is the accessible individual? Media is always advanced, always with the candidates, so you can always talk to them. These policy people, sometimes you have to jump through hoops to find out. And then, more importantly, are the surrogates. You know, those people, those people are the known entity that is in campaigns. You’re able to reach out to them and get the names of the people that are inside the policy shops because you don’t, again, don’t know who’s gonna get appointed. So, an example that I like to use is when Governor Deval Patrick got elected here in Massachusetts, he was an unknown. He had worked at Coca-Cola. He had worked in you know, in corporate America. Was from Massachusetts not originally, originally from Chicago, but it was a grassroots campaign.
Pierce Haley (07:38):
They started two years before the campaign doing background backyard barbecues and things as such. Lots of new faces, lots of new availability. You could actually interact with him all one on one until we got through the state democratic caucuses. And then all of a sudden his ship started to go straight up. And it was a little difficult to get the candidate, but you had, you were able to offer policy briefings, newsworthy items, and legislative initiatives to advocate for your clients. Another one more recently that I had specific dealings with was the new Boston Mayor, Michelle Wu better known as Wu Train on the campaign trail. But she was a city councilor. And you know, we worked with her then. But when she became a candidate for mayor, she had a whole new entity of people behind the scenes that nobody knew when she put in her inaugural committee to do the transfer of power.
Pierce Haley (08:41):
These were names that nobody knew who they were, and you were scrambling to find out who they were. DEI was extremely important to the candidate. So it was all new phrases, wasn’t the typical Irish politician that people have come to know Massachusetts as. And then I would compare that with Governor Charlie Baker, who had been and served as a Health and Human Services secretary and under Governor Bill Weld previously had also done other jobs, ran a health insurance company here in Massachusetts, was a known entity. Everybody he brought in was somebody that everybody knew. So again they knew the issues harder to get their attention because you’re trying to advocate for a position that they may already have an opinion on. Again, using third-party verifiers and people from different entities to push on your agenda was the way to go.
Pierce Haley (09:41):
So you know, with regard to the new candidates, advocates are not experts. Emotion, not science drives many campaigns. You have to be the voice of the business community or your nonprofit or your environment if you’re an environmental spokesperson. So you, you gotta be able to work all different angles. One of the things that I drive is town meetings a lot of times, especially in Massachusetts, which has a lot of town meetings and town warrants, they are putting things on the ballot to direct their elected official on how to vote at the State House. So, it’s a new view on how to move legislators to do the things you want. So, I don’t know, Ninia was there any questions on that first half that popped up in the chat that I can’t see?
Ninia Linero (10:41):
Not currently, but again, please feel free to throw in your questions as we go along.
Pierce Haley (10:46):
Great. I think I’m talking a little fast, so I’ll slow down a little bit. So, you know, the introduction to this one, managing your Contract lobbyist. I feel like a fox in the henhouse. As a contract lobbyist, you’re providing information what would be, in fact, to my manager, it’s important though for both parties of the relationship. You need to have constant communication between the parties. At a minimum, I recommend a biweekly phone call. As your work is sometimes amorphous, you think you have all the time in the world to work an issue, and you really have to have a steady work product to achieve your results. Whether you’re trying to be proactive on an issue or defense. The biweekly phone call at a minimum is what I would recommend to keep the flow of communication going.
Pierce Haley (11:44):
You must set specific goals between you, the company, and the lobbyist. You need an agenda to point to benchmark results. You need to delineate what you’re seeking to do. Why did you hire the lobbying firm? Sometimes we get calls and, and they’re calling in. They, we need a lobbyist in Massachusetts, and like, what do you need a lobbyist for? You don’t necessarily wanna take somebody’s money to just enhance your pocketbook, but actually achieve some measurable results. Clear information on policy objectives. We can’t help you if we don’t know what you’re, what you’re trying to do.
Pierce Haley (12:29):
So regardless of what the lobbyist wants, the biweekly phone call, sometimes I find I get more information talking to a client than they do talking to me. We can always give a political update. What’s happening in the states may or may not be pertinent to the client, but what you don’t realize as the company is passing onto the lobbyist internal conflict that’s happening at the company, you, again, purchasing another company, national policy shift, where things are going, meetings, new products, what are you able to delineate from those conversations? Some of our clients require a written report. These can be a pain in the neck, but they are beneficial to put your foot in front of their bosses. Shows a return on the investment. Lobbying most of the time is heard, as a cost center. We’re not driving any revenue.
Pierce Haley (13:29):
But when you kill a bill, that’s gonna put a company out of business, that makes a lot of sense, but they quickly forget. Always highlight what you’re doing that benefits the company’s bottom line. And what could cost the company more money? So scorecards are another way to kind of benchmark your progress as a lobbyist. We have two clients that require this. They use it for their management to show the return on investment. We actually sometimes have to make educated guesses on where legislation is, what’s gonna happen with it, and what, in terms of the pain of the client.
Pierce Haley (14:13):
So many clients nowadays not only have a lobbyist, but they also have their tracking system like Quorum basically as a second secondary source. But you have to trust your lobbyist because sometimes the information that you’re getting that the chamber actually moved on a bill is not the reality of what the situation is. We are still using and cleaning up the system here in a number of states where there are residual bills that should have been already addressed, and they’re still hanging out there. And you get the frantic phone call, I saw my bill moved, Quorum shows the report that says it built, moved. And it’s like, no, actually we, we, we reported on that months ago that the bill went to study and they’re just cleaning up their things. All these tools give you raw information but you must rely on the specific intelligence a lobbyist gives you. That’s what you’re paying them for. You can always use secondary information to assist in your decision-making process, but the lobbyist is the one there on the ground. It’s always a good way to make sure the lobbyist is paying attention though, to your issues. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, Oh, I haven’t heard that from my lobbyist yet. This is new information to me. Let that sink in.
Ninia Linero (15:33):
Hey, Pierce, could we ask one question? Yeah. Related to the last few slides. If a client or prospective client comes to you with something they need accomplished or a bill that they need killed that is completely unrealistic to you, how do you balance that strategy-wise?
Pierce Haley (15:53):
Well, a number of ways. Number one you know, just speaking from Massachusetts’s point of view, like not unlike California, it takes many years to pass the piece of legislation. So you’re kind of, you sell the reality. I like to tell people, not too long, not too, not too short, but six years on average to pass a proactive piece of legislation in Massachusetts, you can run up to New Hampshire and get something passed in a year. Same thing in Rhode Island. You could do it in the night if you wanted to if the issues and the stars align. But that’s the first thing. The second thing is we are because we represent so many associations, we’re usually part of our national process where we’re trying to effectuate change across all 50 states and the territories. And so there the result is, hey, we may not be successful, but we’re gonna get this on the radar screen and we’re gonna have a hearing and there’s gonna be media coverage, and you can use that information to then advocate in other states. So that, that’s kind of how I, I address it. I hope that answers the questions. I’m, I’m happy to follow up with anybody. I’ll put my email on the last slide so you can send me emails and gimme a call if you want to talk further. But yeah, that is kind of the way we sell it.
Ninia Linero (17:14):
Great. Thank you. And there was one other question about scorecards. I know that those are kind of specific to Quorum. And they wanted to know what do scorecards look like or are there more details? I know that we can you know, find that on our website, so I’ll answer that individual and also include our contact information. But if you have anything else to add, that would be great.
Pierce Haley (17:36):
No when we were doing scorecards, we would actually set up, a spreadsheet, a matrix with all the bills and the regulations that would be, that would impact a client that would get filed at the beginning of the year. And then we would basically work off that and tick off as you killed a bill or Bill moved. You would note that. And they would use that in their quarterly meetings at the corporate level to say, Hey, where are we? What’s going on? And now, now that there are systems like Quorum to make it much easier.
Pierce Haley (18:11):
But you know, on the GR front, local issues are the new frontier. Everything is being pushed down from federal to state, state to local. Many communities don’t require more than 24 hours’ notice of an issue going before a city council or a board of Alderman. So combining state and, and federal GR teams, I think is important. You may not need to meet together all the time, but meeting more often than not is because people know it’s, it’s the flow of information is important to go from the different groups.
Pierce Haley (18:52):
So what can be done you know, the 80-20 rule is always important. Pay attention 80% of your time and the 20% that’s gonna kill you the most. And, don’t worry about the rest of it. Work with our allies and coalitions. What happened here. Join the large state chamber as well as the manufacturers’ organization or the industry equivalent. Biopharma, NAM, Retailers all put out important timely information for you to use to help buttress your lobby. Utilize national groups, SGAC, CSG, partisan organizations to identify trends and voice positions. We know that ALEC and CSG have, you know, different versions of shared state legislation or suggested state legislation model legislation. All those are items that, you know, talking about working on a national effort, get the bill passed in one state, and then you can go to these organizations and file and, and try to get them adopted, and then use that to move f things forward.
Pierce Haley (20:06):
So that’s a nice segue into shoe leather lobbying because you can always replace your shoes. Again, thoughtful and timely dialogue is what’s needed. It’s a constant effort. You can’t expect to run in at the last second and get something done. I need my meetings done at least a month before a hearing, or I feel like I haven’t gotten and accomplished what needs to be done. The priority. They’re beholden to their constituents. And sometimes you’re fighting constituents for the issues that the lobbyist excuse me, the legislator has filed. They’re not experts. We’re the experts. We provide expertise from the companies that we represent. And we just need the meeting. That’s what we’re looking for. The meeting. Always have the data, and always convene opposite sides. One of the things we’ve been very successful in here in Massachusetts is bringing diverse parties to the same table to have a discussion, whether or not they agree with you in the end.
Pierce Haley (21:12):
It’s always good to hear the other side out in person, so you’re not guessing what they’re saying to the legislator. The other thing I like to say is, there are no secrets. You may think you have confidence with a legislator. It’s not true. They’re talking to the other members and then they inform the other lobbyists who might be fighting you, what, what you’re saying. So always go into it with that mindset. Find the way to get your issue number one on their list of asks, because they’re the ones who are gonna have to ask for it from leadership.
Pierce Haley (21:50):
And again, the government doesn’t work in silos. These silos can be moved around, and the titles change depending on your point of view. But we see a lot of executive and legislative advocacy, and then they walk away and the regulation is left hanging. And you can do a lot there. You can also drive the regulatory agency to push up on legislative and executive. And then the municipal, You wanna leverage all branches of government when you’re shoe-level lobbying. There’s an intersection there in my little diagram. But many cities and towns, like I said earlier, pass resolutions to direct their elected officials to vote a certain way. Always found it helpful to go to a mayor of a large city that has a client’s facility there and, and have them push on the legislator, This is good for my city.
Pierce Haley (22:49):
And they’re the ones who are gonna run against the legislator in the future potentially. They want to keep their mayors and city councilors happy. Policies at the state level impact business at the local level. We know that. And one of the things I found is, and I’m sure a lot of people found this, that when the pandemic hit, all of a sudden all the clients were calling saying, We’re gonna take a pause. We don’t know what’s gonna happen there. There’s a pandemic going on. I wanna say it took a month and everybody started calling back saying, We need you. We need to find out what the governor’s gonna do next. What is economic development going to do? What do you know, how is the reopening process going to happen? It was a very interesting piece that I found very interesting because it just, it kept driving and we picked up a number of clients because they needed, they thought they never needed to know what the government was doing, and then all of a sudden they did.
Pierce Haley (23:49):
Again, this slide emphasizes the interactive approach. The executive government always wants to know what your business, what’s hurting you. That’s what you should be advocating for. Let them know before it’s too late. Legislative work with the committee and your legislator and the district you’re located in. Mitigate or make language as strict as possible for no interpretation. Use others in the legislative process to write a letter. Always the third-party verifier. You want to make an echo chamber for all your advocacy. Municipal. They protect the legislator’s home base. As I said, they could always run against them. Cultivate long-term relationships. This comes down to shoe leather. Everyone is busy, but if you take the time to be thoughtful and spend some time in front of an issue, it will benefit you tenfold in the end. One of the tactics I take is to offer myself as a sounding board for aids that have questions. Being a former aid and staffer and lawyer in the legislature gives you a distinct view that new people coming in are able to talk to you. I had a long history in the building and people know it. So
Pierce Haley (25:10):
You get, you get outreach. But then again, now that I go back in with my gray hat, I won’t say it’s black or white, it’s gray. There are allies. There’s no good or bad in the lobbying field. You walk into an office now and they say hello, and then they say, We’ll be right with you in the door, closes in your face and you’re left out in the hallway like everybody else. It takes getting used to.
Pierce Haley (25:35):
So again these are the things that I think are important. For shoe leather lobbying. You need to be prepared, you know, need to know the rules. For committees about to do something that you don’t want, you need to be able to inform a member, Well, this is the rule. You can postpone that. You can delay it, you can kick it to another committee. Identity politics are real politics. What, what’s impacting your issue? And then number one, always be truthful. That is your credibility, the only thing you have is a lobbyist. Once you lose that, it’s gone forever and you’re never able to get it back. So the advantages of third-party verifier, you know, more creativity in approaching the solution reduces duplication. But you always gotta watch out that, you know, if you’re hearing from the same people all the time, it can be time-consuming. Delegating can also be difficult cuz you don’t wanna give up control of the process. So, so the takeaways meet with everyone. Don’t discount anyone. Like I said, that person that checking you in for a candidate’s fundraiser might end up being their aid or chief of staff. With regards to managing biweekly phone calls, at a minimum you need to be in contact with your client. And then last one, nobody works in silos. That is my presentation. It went faster than I thought it would go Ninia.
Ninia Linero (27:10):
Awesome. Not a problem. It was very informative. We have quite a few questions, which is awesome. And if, if anyone still has questions feel free to put them in the chat. Or the Q and A box. So first one, what do you anticipate will be some of the priority topics for state legislatures next year?
Pierce Haley (27:29):
I think privacy is going to be a huge one. I also think we, we, we’ve been working on an issue of extended producer responsibility who pays for the waste electronic waste. But I think privacy election, election, election , how is that? The legislators are the ones who control that, and I think that’s gonna be driven by who gets elected. So I’ll start with that. I, I know that social issues are becoming more and more forefront based on what the Supreme Court does. I don’t want to delve into that too much but it’s gonna be an issue and the states are going to address that as well. Healthcare I know that there’s a lot of APA money left to be spent. Some states used it to balance their budgets, others didn’t. I know you know, Maine, New Hampshire, Mass, they’re sitting on tons of money. Rhode Island, same sitting on tons of money to spend. So I think those, those are other issues that’ll be out there.
Ninia Linero (28:31):
Great, Thank you. Another question. When you are looking to bring out a lobbyist in a new state, what are the key attributes you look for? How do you make sure you are picking the right one?
Pierce Haley (28:43):
I will attribute this to a very good client of mine, but I don’t want to hear, I was at the speaker’s wedding , I do not wanna hear that. I also think that former staffers make the best lobbyists. They know how the actual process works. They’re not just calling their friends in the legislature. And that’s not to discount former elected officials. I don’t want to be perceived as doing that either. But as a former staffer, I think that they know how the system works. They’ve done the work, they know what it takes. This is, you know, this, this, nothing happens easily in, in government. There’s always somebody complaining or, you know, just making one snide comment could, you know, sideline your issue for an entire legislative session. So but yeah, it’s that I think teams work. You know, the days of the solo practitioner are numbered. We’ve seen a lot of consolidation across the country of different firms merging together so that they have more people so that there’s never a lack of coverage. But those, those I’d say would, would be the top three that I would, I would look at for hiring a lobbyist.
Ninia Linero (30:01):
Mm-Hmm. . Yeah, absolutely. And I would even add to that from someone who was an association, had to hire a contract lobbyist. You know, maybe looking at what that lobbyist has done in the past in terms of issues wins, you know, getting things in the budget and their effectiveness overall, I think is definitely good. You know, in terms of credibility.
Pierce Haley (30:23):
The other thing I would say is ethics. You need to check the client list because if it’s a big firm, they don’t know what the other side of the firm is doing, and they may represent the opposite side of your position. Mm-Hmm. . So you wanna make sure that there is no, there are no conflicts existing internally.
Ninia Linero (30:42):
Absolutely. Let’s see here. Okay, another question. Is there a way to easily identify which states have faster or slower legislative timelines? For example, you said California is slow, New Hampshire is fast.
Pierce Haley (30:57):
I, well, first of all, you need to look at the legislative process. Texas meets every two years. There are certain states that do that. Others are full-time, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, just to name a few. So the full-time ones, I think, I think it’s, it’s much harder to do something. The short-term ones, even though they’re meeting for 90 days, they’re having hearings the year before. So you, that’s why you hire a lobbyist that’s familiar with the process. So they’ll, they’ll give you that in your intake meeting when you’re, when you’re kicking the tire of a firm, you know, how long, how long are they in, what’s the average year? They should be able to tell you, you know, if they’re telling you it can be done right away, unless it’s an emergency, nothing gets done right away. The legislators always find a way to just say, Oh, we’ll get to that. Mm-Hmm.
Ninia Linero (31:50):
. Yeah, absolutely. Okay, here’s another question about lobbyists. How do you handle a lobbyist that is not functioning in the best interest of your organization?
Pierce Haley (32:02):
You get rid of them. You put them on warning immediately, and then every, oh, every contract should have a 30-day out. Don’t agree to be paying forever and ever and ever. So you always have that 30-day out and you can exercise it, be aware of the timelines because people will hold you to it, especially if the relationship ends acrimoniously. It’s not, it, it won’t be pleasant, but if they’re not working in your best interest, then it’s not in your interest to have them. Why, why would you be giving them your hard-earned money?
Ninia Linero (32:40):
Yes, Absolutely. Okay, another question. How does the structure of different states impact your strategy for engaging new legislators? How do you work differently to engage states with part-time legislators versus full-time legislators as a new year kicks off?
Pierce Haley (32:59):
So again, that’s, that’s why you’re always involved in meeting the campaigns. So you know who these people are before they, they get there. If you’re involved in the state, you would be involved in some civic organizations sometimes that, you know, people who are running for office have never been involved in civic organizations. Most of them have, so that, they are hopefully somewhat of a known entity. But you know, it’s the outreach, it’s the policy briefings that you can offer for a specific client. You know, we’re, we’re trying to meet with all the elected officials. We’ve been working on behalf of an issue regarding assisted living. And it’s been quite a road. But, you know, we’ve taken that opportunity to go around and brief people to talk about elder issues in general. This is what you need to know mm-hmm.
Pierce Haley (33:51):
. But that is how we go about doing it. You know, in some states you’re calling their number and you think it’s an office and it’s their house. . So, it depends on the state. I mean, part-time legislators, legislatures, you call them up, they’re answering their cell phone. So you have to be aware that they’re trying to run a business at the same time as they’re an elected official, as well. Other states, they’re full-time legislatures and, you know, that’s, this is all they do. Then you’re dealing with staff. So it depends. I mean, if it’s small, you know, well, small is a relative term. New Hampshire is 400 house members, yet you call their number, you’re calling in their house or their cell phone.
Ninia Linero (34:35):
Mm-Hmm. . So it seems like either way it is most beneficial to get ahead of the issue, you know, hopefully before you have one at the very least, engaging with legislators, making introductions, and educating them on your issues.
Pierce Haley (34:51):
Yeah. And one of the other ways that you can get in front of new elect newly electeds is to talk to the mayor of the city that they came from. Especially if you have a physical presence for the company you represent, the industry or the nonprofit you represent, you can always use that. Ask the favor, Please make the introduction. So there’s a warm handshake. So you’re not going in cold and they have no idea who you are and why you’re trying to get ahold of them.
Ninia Linero (35:15):
Mm-Hmm. . Absolutely. Another question. How does redistricting impact your strategy for the new year?
Pierce Haley (35:24):
Still trying to figure that out. some of the maps are still not finished, which is unbelievable. But no, it, it, you know, they, they change in, in some respects where you’ll, you’ll get redistricted out, but you’re still able to talk to that legislator. They usually know better than anybody else what they have and what they don’t have or what they’ve asked for. So you can use that leverage to, to meet the new member. But yes, it does, it definitely impacts you because if there was an issue that they didn’t like and now you’re not in their district anymore, they don’t have to deal with it and they’re not gonna help you.
Ninia Linero (36:01):
Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. Great point. Someone asked or commented we have tried to engage our members in state grassroots advocacy, but the uptake has been slow. Do you have any tips for marketing grassroots advocacy as a supplemental tool to members or chapters in the state? On the state level?
Pierce Haley (36:23):
Ninia, I’d like to hear what you did in the dental association, cuz it’s yeah, that’s a hard one. I, I think you physically need to get in front of them. You need to, to, to, you know, stock them as I like to say,
Ninia Linero (36:34):
Yeah, I mean, I,you know, selfishly I will say Quorum has some awesome tools for that in our grassroots platform where you can make like a leadership board or have different tier levels to engage your members. So the more times they take action you know, they’ll become a gold member or platinum just kind of gives them, you know, a reason to be engaged or kind of excites them about the project. Also, I would say recognizing your membership base. So if it’s people that are not super technologically savvy understanding, you know, solutions that will be really easy for them to take action. Maybe it is actually going and doing a physical meeting in their district. Or maybe it’s easy for some of your members to just fill out that online form with a grassroots platform like Quorum. So making sure that you recognize you know, your population that you’re working with and then also those you’re reaching out to.
Pierce Haley (37:31):
I will say that it’s become much easier to interact with legislators with Zoom. But what we do is we kind of assess where the membership is of the organization that we’re representing and having that individual call and be on the call with them mm-hmm. because the legislator is more likely to call them back than they are the lobbyist, especially if they’re not, the uptick is not there.
Ninia Linero (37:55):
Right. Yeah. And there’s a lot of power and knowledge as well. So sometimes I think members feel like they have to be a legislative expert, and that’s not at all the case. We actually want kind of the opposite. We want it to be a little more genuine when they’re coming from their districts explaining how it is directly harming them or their business you know, the issue that they’re going to talk about. So, you know, just giving very basic talking points for them and, and making sure that they know that they’re not there to be the legislative expert. They’re there to talk to their legislator, and that’s what the lobbyist is for. Okay. Some other questions. How do you handle the increased partisan divide when trying to advocate for what should, or I’m sorry, when trying to advocate what should or be used to be a bipartisan issue? I think maybe there was a typo . So I think maybe, you know, how do you handle the bipartisan divide?
Pierce Haley (38:58):
We try to stay out of it actually. It’s a hard question because some states, Tennessee, you, you’re seeing, it’s like Congress now. They’re hiring both Democratic and Republican lobbyists in a state. That hasn’t happened so much up here in the Northeast. I know in New Hampshire, there definitely is a partisan divide where, where they’re looking at, you know, who are you, who do you represent, and where have you been and where your campaign dollars are going. But most of the time it’s, we represent our client and that’s who, that’s who we’re with. My personal politics really shouldn’t play into that, but it always does, especially if you’re a known entity mm-hmm. . So, that is something that each person’s gonna have to manage on a case-by-case basis.
Ninia Linero (39:55):
Yeah, I think that’s a great answer. Other than getting a bill passed or signed into law, how do you define wins to both the organizational staff and members when you’re trying to get them involved?
Pierce Haley (40:09):
Well, you manage expectations with regards to, you don’t always get a win, but you advance a piece of legislation. Mm-Hmm. Finding bill sponsors sometimes can be hard depending on what the issue is. So, you know, a first, a first-year depending on, so this is the, I’m gonna get in the nuances here, but this is where you get into, I wanna hire you for the session January to June or January to December. It’s like, yeah, but we need to draft a bill. We need to make sure it’s right. We need to find bill sponsors. That takes a couple of months. So no, you should be hiring me in October, not in January when we’re all scrambling and everybody’s banging down doors saying, Please sign on and sponsor my bill. So getting a piece of legislation filed, getting a hearing early, sometimes you don’t have any control over that, but you wanna try and do those in-person meetings with the committee staffs getting, getting that crescendo of support for the piece of legislation.
Pierce Haley (41:08):
Those are all things that you’re reporting to your client. And that should be a win. I mean, you know, sometimes you’re sitting there in a state and you’re in the budget committee and you, you’re ready to go, and then all of a sudden, you know, a pandemic happens or there’s a tax crisis. Anything can change the legislative agenda and feel that just sidetracks everything. Because it’s so generated from the top, they don’t have the bandwidth to be juggling so many different issues. So you just try to, again, the early bird gets the worm. You, you’ve done your legwork so far in advance that when it’s ready to go, it just naturally happens. Mm-Hmm.
Ninia Linero (41:54):
. Yeah. Absolutely. All right, time for a few more questions. How do you operate efficiently in states with term limits? Do you focus on building relationships with staff?
Pierce Haley (42:06):
You do. But again, you know, when they have term limits, a lot of these states now you can, you can basically assess who’s gonna be the next, in the next person in leadership. But staff do definitely become more important. Also, that’s where the lobbyists become more important because they have the institutional knowledge of what the issue is. So most of the time I find these issues do not go away. So it’s you wanna offer yourself is the policy sounding board for legislators, and you use those legislators from the districts that, that you have locations in.
Ninia Linero (42:41):
Yes, absolutely. All right. Let’s go with one final question here. Could you share some of your favorite methods or tools for tracking future legislation trends?
Pierce Haley (42:55):
Ooh. I think, you know, going to the national conferences is able to, we’re able to do that and you can, you know, you read the papers. I will say, you know, the Financial Times is usually five days ahead of your local big daily. You can really see trends there. But that, that’s, that’s really where you get it. You can find, and, and the trend starts slowly. So you, again, you know, we’re in 37 states. We had four states go against us this year. Next year we’re gonna be busy, busy, busy. So it’s, it’s that, it’s that kind of just paying attention and knowledge and paying attention to these national conferences and the issues that come up and that, that are discussed. Mm-Hmm.
Ninia Linero (43:47):
. Yeah. And I think sometimes depending on what state you’re in and you know, your legislative sessions year or issues from the previous legislative session can also come back up, especially if they didn’t pass, but they got a lot of action or are becoming more prominent, you know, across the nation.
Pierce Haley (44:05):