What is a Lobbyist

Have you ever asked yourself “What is a lobbyist?” A lobbyist helps clients navigate the complexities of government. 

Lobbying goes far outside of the lobby of the chambers of government. It is a unique form of collaboration, strategy, and relationship building that involves the client, their organization, lawmakers, legislators, and the community. 

Identifying the Gaps and Strategizing for a Solution

Problems don’t get solved just by attending the legislature and getting to know all the representatives. Each situation is different and requires a unique strategy to successfully be resolved. 

First, you need to identify the gap between the current government regulations and laws and the solution the client is seeking. Until you truly understand the other groups’ point of view, you can’t enter the negotiation space. It takes patience and it takes a strategic perspective to identify what the critical issues are. Once you have identified those gaps, you can begin to negotiate to reach a mutually beneficial resolution. 

Contacting Your Local Representatives Isn’t Enough

Just asking someone to change something doesn’t make it happen. Emailing, calling, or texting your representative may get you some of their time, if you’re lucky. Government representatives employ aides and interns to help deal with the huge amount of correspondence they receive. 

However, even if you get their attention,  it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to take up your cause. Initiating change takes a strategic plan and a lobbyist can help you create and carry out that plan. 

Lobbying Process: Passing a Bill

Lobbyists are part of the process from beginning to end: from crafting the proposed solution to meeting with key stakeholders to gathering input to implementing the new solution.

Seek Input 

Once your organization has determined the solution that you are seeking, then discussions with the key stakeholders can begin. We need to address concerns and identify what roadblocks are holding people back.

Draft Bill

After meeting with a policy maker that wants to bring the issue forward, we must work with them to draft the bill. This will involve conversations between people in the legislative body and your organization to ensure that the bill meets your needs.

Gather Support

Once the bill is created, we need to ensure that you have the support of the legislative body or it won’t pass. We will need to meet with representatives and educate them about the bill and its importance. We will need to address any concerns and make the necessary adjustments to the bill to address those concerns.

The Vote

After spending all of the time with your organization, the policy makers, and the legislators, you will need to ensure that people are on board to support the bill. We will be sharing information about the bill and gaining supporters.

Passing the Bill and Implementation

Finally, the bill will be brought for a vote. If the bill passes, it is cause for celebration. But then the real work begins. Merely passing the bill doesn’t magically make all the necessary changes; it merely means that there is government approval for the bill. You will need to go to the government offices associated with the changes and work with them to implement the changes. 

Examples: Utah Association of Physician Assistants

The Utah Academy of Physician Assistants has been hoping to make changes that would allow them to be more independent. Stan Lockhart was able to work with UAPA to determine the scope of the changes they wanted. Then he made contact with legislators to determine interest and investment in the cause. Senator Curtis Bramble sponsored the bill and Stan helped discuss the bill with other legislators. Part of the process was also working with the American Medical Association to gain their support. It took a lot of work and conversations but House Bill 27 and 28 became law on May 5, 2021.

The passing of House Bill 27 and House Bill 28 was a monumental accomplishment. However, it takes a lot of additional work to get it implemented. When this bill was signed it didn’t automatically give physician assistants the immediate ability to be independent. First, lawmakers and the organization have to meet with DOPL to discuss licensing and what the changes would look like. There needed to be meetings with healthcare providers in the state to ensure that the physician assistants’ employers were on board.  Physicians Assistants also need to be educated on how HB 27 and HB28 affect their jobs.

Examples: IM Flash Technologies

IM Flash Technologies wanted to build new facilities in Utah but they wanted a tax break. Stan Lockhart worked with them to identify what specific incentives they needed to expand in Utah. Stan Lockhart then approached the legislature about making a law to attract more businesses. By working together to determine something that would be beneficial for everyone the stakeholders agreed upon an economic development tax incentive rebate of 30% in exchange for IM Flash promising to remain in Utah for 10 years and increasing salaries so that the average is at least 200% of the median salary range for the county. 

What is a Lobbyist?

They are the guide who helps you navigate the complexities of government and gain support for your cause. They are your advocate with the government, business, and community. Through the work of a lobbyist, your voice can be heard.

A lobbyist is a consultant who facilitates the process of influencing change. At The Lockhart Group, we are Utah’s Lobbying Experts.