Executive Director’s Message - Spring 2015
A Million $$$’s doesn’t Guarantee Success…
Earlier this year the Kentucky General Assembly completed crafting and changing laws that impact citizens and businesses across the commonwealth. Coming from the convenience store and grocery wholesale business in my prior careers, becoming involved in the Kentucky legislative and regulatory world has been, let’s say, an “interesting” experience. What I have learned over the years from being involved in the obscure legislative process is this – the key to a winning legislative formula is YOU!
In most business issues each of you face, things boil down to someone, a consumer shopping a store or a retailer considering a new product line, deciding either to buy something or not to buy. I only wish the world of legislation and regulation was as simple! Instead, experts in working with the General Assembly – lobbyists – must know all the personalities at the Capitol, understand the complex process of how a bill becomes a law and strategize a careful roadmap to navigate between the two.
Trying to convince the majority of 138 Kentucky General Assembly members plus the Kentucky Governor to agree with you, through repeated votes, is MUCH harder than those outside of the legislative process appreciate. “Lobbyists” may sometimes receive a bad rap for our work in educating legislators about issues facing citizens or businesses. The percentages for successfully getting legislation passed and signed into law are amazingly low. Hundreds of pieces of legislation, sometimes exceeding 1,000 bills, can be introduced during a General Assembly session with perhaps 100 – 150 actually becoming a law.
Sometimes the perception exists that high priced lobbyists run government and can get any legislation passed. But, as with most things, just throwing money at the problem is not always the best solution. This year, despite dozens of lobbyists and hundreds of thousands of dollars or even a lobbyist making $1 million per year, very few bills became law. The winning combination for any legislation to get passed in Frankfort of course includes boots on the ground, but it must also include strong participation from the KGA/KACS membership in the legislative and political process.
Obviously the KGA/KACS doesn’t have million dollar lobbyists, but we do have a team of knowledgeable and effective government relations professionals working on your behalf. Just like life itself, sometimes things turn out for the better and sometimes things don’t go as well as hoped. But the effort of your legislative team never waivers, issue after issue.
Here’s the real point of my babbling this month. I’ll take a committed group of government relations professionals who know the Kentucky General Assembly inside and out (our team) backed by the industry they represent over a single million dollar lobbyists with no support from a particular constituency and working for many clients.
You may remember a few of our “Legislative Alerts” sent out during the 2015 General Assembly. When each of you participate in legislative alerts, our government relations team enters a conversation with a legislator who knows that the “folks back home” who actually vote stand behind their lobbyist. Again, a single lobbyist, regardless of how much they make, cannot “guarantee” any desired result when it comes to legislative action. The “BUT” in this statement is when each of YOU take two minutes to participate in our legislative alert system, the odds of legislative success for our team are improved – perhaps much more than a million dollars might have delivered…