By the time you read this column, legislative sessions will have ended in 34 states: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming. In addition, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Oregon and Texas had no regular 2006 sessions.
But some still are in session
Inspectors in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania need to keep up their guard. We know licensing laws are filed in Michigan and Ohio and can move quickly at any time. And, anything can happen in the other states.
Get ready for next year
If your state is no longer in session, that’s no excuse to take the rest of the year off. Legislation is similar to most professional sports — there’s never really an offseason. You’re not in school any more, so you don’t get to take summer vacation. Three-quarters of the state legislative chambers permit pre-filing of bills. The purpose of pre-filing is to streamline the process so that on the first day of a session there will be a number of bills ready for introduction and assignment to committee.
Don’t be caught off guard. Find out when your state allows pre-filing to begin. You should be working now to get your ducks in a row. If you backed legislation that died, you need to re-establish your ties to sponsoring legislators. If you opposed legislation that could make a Lazarus-like return, the same applies.
All your chapter members should be communicating with their elected officials. The optimal time to make their acquaintance is not when you need a favor. You should be building your coalitions, networking with other players (Realtors®, builders, etc.) and evaluating your professional lobbyist’s performance. Proper preparation now will go a long way toward accomplishing goals for the rest of the 2007/08 sessions. Get to work!