By the end of this month, 30 states will be out of session for the year, meaning legislative activity will have halted until 2008. By the end of June, eight more will be ad-journed. Until that time, stay on guard for any surprises, either in introduced legislation or in legislation introduced at the last minute. Check with ASHI’s Legislative Action Center for updates and be sure to stay in contact with your lobbyist, if you have one, as well as with your elected officials. Let them know who you are, what you do and how interested you are in any legislation that affects inspectors.
Lessons from the field
The following is a message sent to me by a respected chapter president. I have changed names and references that would identify the person or the state, but trust me, this is genuine. This is a state where licensing legislation has been expected for years.
“Regarding licensing, we were really behind the eight ball this whole session. We had not done a good job of contacting our representatives/senators. We relied on good faith in our contact with the senators who sponsored last year’s bill. We knew that there were parties actively promoting legislation, but we assumed that since the inspector who pushed the bill last year left the country and because the senator told us that she was no longer interested in the issue, that nothing was going to happen. So, we in our coalition went along in our naïve manner and got blasted. We were outright lied to, but that is apparently allowable in politics. The chapter members and the coalition members have done a fantastic job responding to our requests to send e-mails, letters to representatives, etc., but we have been a day late and a dollar short much of the time. Some of the newest members have been fantastic. They deserve most of the credit for keeping our coalition together and organized. The whole coalition idea was good, but we just should have had our act together even more proactively in contacting the legislators and starting the whole political dance.
“Anyway, it will all turn out okay one way or the other, but it has been a whole lot of work and frustration, and it has taken a whole lot of time. I know that we have been told that same thing over and over again at national and by other folks in other states. I guess it is almost our nature to procrastinate and let someone hit us between the eyes.”
How’s that for an incentive to keep your guard up?
• Use ASHI’s Legislative Action Center by going to www.capwhiz/ashi