In most places across the country, spring has sprung (it’s hit or miss here in Minnesota), and that means many state legislatures have hit their session stride.
Coming off the heels of the unusual midterm elections in November 2022, we’ve seen likewise unusual legislative sessions and political environments this spring. Minnesota and Michigan legislatures have been moving with record-breaking speed, introducing a lot of new legislation. It’s been a wild week in Wisconsin with a new supermajority in the Senate and a shift in the state Supreme Court. The Illinois legislature continues to plug away while being overshadowed by the Chicago mayoral race.
Many legislative deadlines have come and gone, some are still a week or two away, and some states are ignoring deadlines all together this year. Regardless of what state you are in or are watching, it’s likely decision time. Will your legislative issue be resolved this legislative session or should you start preparing for the next session?
As we at K2 get early April calls from people wanting advocacy help, our advice is to dive into a short-term strategy and also build out a long-term plan to achieve success. Here’s what that means:
- Because of the unusual legislative and political environment, keep an eye on your legislation or issue to the bitter end. You never know what is going to be in those big omnibus bills or what will find its way to the floor in the wee hours of the night at the end of the session.
- Start planning now for the next session. We see this year after year. If you wait until January to start organizing your advocacy efforts, you are TOO LATE. It takes time to build or reestablish relationships with grassroots advocates who can be helpful with legislators. By the time legislatures are in session, newspaper editorial boards are already backlogged and you can’t get the op-ed attention you may want, and political reporters are already too busy to talk about your issue. What’s more, stakeholders and voices that could be meaningful champions on behalf of your efforts may already be distracted by too many other issues in the midst of the session. Putting in the work early is critical to build up influential voices who can advocate for your work.
- But that being said, if you are fighting or pushing legislation as we near the end of legislative sessions across the country, employing communications and public affairs strategies can bolster your work and be the key needed for victory.
So long story short, K2 specializes in public affairs work across the Midwest. Call us today: it isn’t too late to organize now but it also isn’t too early.