The Beginning of a New Year Brings....
by Government Relations Committee: Rick Russell, Chair and SueLynn Morgan, Committee Member
The beginning of a new year brings newly elected politicians being sworn into their new offices, governors delivering “state of the state” addresses and state legislatures convening for a new session. In addition to these activities, state chief justices will deliver their “state of the judiciary” addresses. If you’ve ever had an interest in government relations or staying aware or involved in the making of laws and rules that affect our livelihoods, now is a great time to start learning about these processes.
If you perform an Internet search for the definition of “government relations,” you will find numerous websites that refer to it as “GR is an educational process mixed in with a liberal amount of advocacy,” and it occurs at the local, state, and federal levels. So what is involved in the educational process and what is “advocacy”?
“Advocacy” means to support a specific cause or interest, and that can pertain to an individual, a group, a corporation or an association. “Educating” basically means providing information about a certain topic in order for one to have a better understanding. When you mix those two terms together, educating those with decision-making authority, specifically legislators, about a specific topic that is of interest to you, you have the beginning of your own government relations process.
Examples of decision makers are as follows:
Federal – The President, President’s Cabinet, President’s Staff, U.S. Senators and Representatives, Departments, Commissions, Agencies
State – Governor, Governor’s Cabinet, Governor’s Staff, State Senators and Representatives, Departments, Commissions, Agencies
County – County Officials, Commissions, Departments
City – Mayor, City Manager, City Council, Commissions, Departments
Laws have an impact on all of us, and that is why it is important to advocate for your issue. It may be an issue that affects you personally or your family, or has a direct effect on your profession, now or in the future. Decision-makers don’t always know your topic or business as well as you do, and they are making decisions that affect you. So you must understand the importance on educating them on your issue of interest. It is also very important to remember that when an issue is controversial, your opponent may well be advocating for the opposite.
AAERT Government Relations Committee’s mission is to stay informed of issues around the country that could potentially or will have an effect on the digital recording industry – whether you are a court reporter, transcriptionist, firm owner, or vendor.
When made aware of proposed legislation or issues at a local, state or federal level, the Government Relations Committee will work, in concert with the AAERT President and Board, to advocate on behalf of the members and our industry. It’s important that we all get involved and be knowledgeable about what’s going on in our own backyard. An issue can start in one county and over time can affect the entire nation.
To view more information, please visit the Government Relations page on the AAERT website. You may also contact the committee by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s be GR aware for 2015!