Page 20 - Soundwave Magazine
P. 20

 LEGISLATIVE UPDATE:
ON CAPITOL HILL
   ON CAPITOL HILL
Franchisees Should Build Relation- ships with Local Lawmakers
The most effective way to influence new laws is to meet and get to know lawmakers before they consider proposals that may negatively affect your business. Meeting with local elected officials early and developing respectful, friendly relationships is tantamount to success. They may not always support your position, but at least they will be more likely to give you their most valuable commodities: their time and their willingness to listen to your concerns.
UFOLINY dedicates considerable resources and manpower toward working with our members to monitor legislation at all levels of government. At the federal and state level, we communicate with stakeholders on all issues. Pending legislation can be tracked throughout the legislative process from central databases we monitor daily. We share information that could affect our franchise members and the tools to easily engage in the process.
Perhaps nowhere, however, is our collective effort more important than at the local level. Unlike federal and state actions, proposed local tobacco ordinances are not published in a central database. At the state and federal level, bill introductions are published long before the legislative process begins. Often multiple committee or subcommittee hearings are held in two legislative bodies, each providing another opportunity for retailers to engage. The process is slower than at the local level and opportunities to engage are more frequent.
This is precisely why it is so important for your association and individual members to preemptively engage local elected officials and build meaningful relationships with lawmakers before they need them. Elected officials are not experts on the numerous issues they are required to confront. They generally, like all of us, know a lot about a few different things. On all other issues, they rely upon trusted resources to educate or direct them. The goal as a local business is for you to be identified as an informed, reasonable expert on the issues that affect your business.
Legislators inclined to support your positions benefit from you educating them and providing tools to help them advocate for your side. Other legislators may be neutral or predisposed against your business interests because of misleading media reports and or biased information they receive from their trusted resources. You probably will not change their outlook overnight. But if they recognize your position as reasonable, friendly and respectful, we collectively, and you individually can create relationships that can make a significant difference.
Get to know your local elected officials. Let them know of your responsible business practices. Give them a store tour and let them know about the jobs you provide, how you educate employees about compliance and what technology tools you use to comply with the law. The goal is not necessarily to change their minds the first time you meet, but rather to become an expert resource to them — someone they like personally — and someone who can inform their decision-making.
How Citizens United Reshaped Elections
December 12, 2019. January 21, 2020 will mark a decade since the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a controversial decision that reversed century-old campaign finance restrictions and enabled corporations and other outside groups to spend unlimited funds on elections.
While wealthy donors, corporations, and special interest groups have long had an outsized influence in U.S. elections, that sway has dramatically expanded since the Citizens United decision, with negative repercussions for American democracy and the fight against political corruption.
A conservative nonprofit group called Citizens United challenged campaign finance rules after the Federal Election Commission (FEC) stopped it from promoting and airing a film criticizing presidential candidate
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