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Good Lobbying Practice Is Similar Regardless of State

A few years ago the Nevada Legal Brothel Association lobbyist, referring to an upcoming Las Vegas Lobby School, wrote to me:

Only the total novice would dish out $ to some “authority” who knows little or nothing related to our state of NV. NV is so separate and unique. Only the already qualified have survived in this challenging time in this very different state… not [to] some “foreigner” from Olympia or the deep south.

(Note: “Olympia” refers to Lobby School alum Ron Meyers, former Speaker pro tem, Washington House of Representatives. In March 2020 Nevada Gov. Sisolak closed brothels as Covid-2019 non-essential businesses.)

But is Nevada or any state “so separate and unique… and very different” that foundational lobbying principles don’t apply there? Sure, details differ among states. A bill is referred to committee on first (FL) or second reading (WV); an amendment in the form of a substitute is called “gut and stuff” (NV) or “hog house” (SD). Nevada‘s legislature is one of the few that convenes once every two years. Lobbyists in California generally have nicer offices while lobbyists in Oklahoma often work out of their homes. Yet despite differences of legislators’ personalities and details of the process, most experienced multistate lobbyists will tell you best practices lobbying is about the same everywhere.

Insiders Talk: Winning with Lobbyists, Professional Edition (hardcover, 488 pages) details best practices for developing and managing a beyond-the-basics lobbying campaign. Neftali Garcia, VP, Governmental Affairs, McLane Company, says,

Insiders Talk: Winning with Lobbyists, Professional Edition is a timely comprehensive treatise that should be on the desk of every in-house counsel and government affairs team. Not only an excellent reference point, but also a great analysis of the lobbying profession.

All six of our hands-on, how-to lobbying manuals and 15 skills-development videos, beginner to veteran, detail methodologies leading to more successful lobbyists, expected best practices, and effective advocacy campaigns. Since administrative agencies write ~90 percent and enforce ~100 percent of laws, lobbying agencies is the next phase in legislating more favorable regulatory environments.

The Brothel Association’s lobbyist ended his letter with an invitation: “It might be fun to chat. A 52-year lobbying survivor!” Good lobbying practice, pretty much everywhere and for the long-term, is to make friends and avoid making enemies – enemies are bad for business and future coalitions. Given his longevity, I expect he was an effective lobbyist in the Silver State. He died this year (2020) at 85 years old.

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