Written by Joseph Guild

Lobbying Your Government

 

The Nevada Legislature will meet for its 2021 session beginning February 1.  As a citizen, according to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you have the right to petition your government for a redress of your grievances.  Thus, you can lobby your representatives to try to influence the outcome of a bill. 

How does one lobby with no prior experience?  First, to be clear, as stated above you have a right to contact your representatives, and you should exercise that right whenever you deem it necessary.  Elected officials, in our experience, actually look forward to hearing from the voters they represent.  Professional lobbyists perform a necessary educational and advocacy function but hearing from actual voters is extremely helpful to the people serving on our councils, commissions and in our legislature. 

When you contact your representative, be prepared and concise. Reference actual proposed legislation or have a well-articulated idea to propose to the representative.  Know the subject well enough to express how the idea might be supported or opposed because you will be asked what the other side thinks about the proposal.  Line up allies before contacting the representative.  This will help bolster their willingness to support you. 

Be willing to have a compromise position to propose because you do not always get exactly what you want upon the initial presentation of a new idea. 

Finally, enjoy the experience of engaging with your government.  In our system, YOU have the right to be listened to by your elected officials. 

If you or your business needs help negotiating the intricacies of Nevada state and local governments, Black & Wadhams has a full-service Government Affairs department comprised of Jim Wadhams, Jesse Wadhams, and Joe Guild.  Combined, we have over 100 years of government affairs experience.  Our firm is prepared and ready to help. 

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