The legislative session is now over, and I am back from Carson City. Overall, I enjoyed the lobbying experience very much and feel like I got a college degree’s worth of knowledge crammed into 120 days. One of the most important things I learned is that relationships matter when it comes lobbying and getting our name out there. Also, how I carry myself in and out of the legislative building does make a difference in how legislators perceive me and the group I represent. I used the verbal skills I learned over my career as a police officer to help me make friendships with legislators and lobbyists, some of whom have very different political leanings and affiliations than I do. Sure, I did not agree with many of them most of the time, but I always strived to be the most reasonable person in the conversation, which I felt boded well for me.
I am taking what I have learned and using the information to update our endorsement process. I feel like our past endorsement process did too much to feed the egos of the politicians running for re-election, and I intend to change that. I want them to provide examples of how they can help us once they are elected, such as sponsoring bills, being available to me once the legislative session starts and providing help with deferring fiscal notes, to name a few. I have already begun to meet with future candidates who are eager for police support during the next election cycle, and our endorsement should come with strings attached because law and order will always be an election issue.
We will continue to walk a fine line with endorsing certain Republicans, because even in this last session that just ended, one of our endorsed Republican Assemblywomen was asking questions about how to make our PERS system a defined contribution instead of a defined benefit like it is now. We also must deal with the fact that Republicans may continue to be in the minority in both the Senate and the Assembly. Democrats are going to push very hard in the next election cycle to gain a supermajority in the Senate so they can override the governor’s veto authority, which can render him ineffective for us. This is another reason why having good relationships with Democrats is important, because it allows me to have input on potentially troublesome bills. Even though Governor Lombardo vetoed the car stop bill that did not allow officers to make certain types of stops, I was able to speak with Senator Harris and get her to agree to change certain language in the bill.
Overall, I believe I had a positive experience during the legislative session that I will continue to build upon for the next session, which starts in a mere 18 months. If you ever have any questions about bills or the legislative process, or just questions in general, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or text me at (702) 468-0766.