This session was destined to be full of debate from the get-go. Some of the most debated topics were: Medical Marijuana, Teacher Pay Raises, Income Tax Elimination, ARPA Funds, Redistricting, Broadband, and the Outdoor Stewardship Fund.
In a normal year, you may have four “hot topics,” so to say this session was one for the record books is an understatement.
With so many important discussions occurring at the state capitol, I am very proud that our legislative committee decided to hold off on an official “ask” for this session. The dynamics change every term, and we are all still adjusting to many of these changing policies by the leadership in place. It is clear there is an “anti-regulation” movement. We are hearing from all sides that unless there is a very strong need, this leadership doesn’t support adding new or changing regulations.
I am very pleased to report that this year, we did more for name recognition of our organization than we would ever do with a bill ask. This year, we were a resource. I believe that we have increased our organization’s name recognition significantly. It’s so important not to be the nagging entity always wanting something and to instead be the person that can help when they call on us for input.
This year, we followed over 50 bills by the first deadline. We were asked to provide input for at least six bills that had traction and strong interest by high-ranking legislators, and while not all of those bills passed, we had a seat at the table. We cared about many of those bills and while neutral in overall position, we followed all of them to the very end and made sure to reach out to conferees and provide additional language that would improve the bill. This type of input without the pressure of passage is not to be under-appreciated. Our legislators see so much legislation in a session. Most that are working on these bills are also juggling their regular jobs. Having an entity that provides helpful data without skewing it to one side is hard to come by and something I am truly proud of with this organization. To know that a legislator is taking the amendments we provide and actually using them is the biggest compliment we can receive.
I am extremely proud to represent this organization and I am thankful for your leadership and for allowing me to have input into the decisions made legislatively. Ken is outstanding to work with, oftentimes having to respond to my legislative requests within 24 hours. As your lobbyist, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I believe this organization’s presence has increased faster than many I have seen, and it’s because of the team approach we all take.
Southern Consulting Associates, Inc.