Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

How to Win Friends and Get Your Bill Signed into Law; Experts Have 40 Days to Influence Governor's Pen

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

How to Win Friends and Get Your Bill Signed into Law; Experts Have 40 Days to Influence Governor's Pen

Article excerpt

Byline: Walter C. Jones

ATLANTA | When the General Assembly adjourned after having passed hundreds of bills, that's not the end of the process for people wanting to see their proposals become law. Here's some advice from experts on how to get the governor to sign them - or veto them.

"I've worked with some developing nations, and our access to government is beyond compare," said Polly McKinney, a lobbyist for the Voices for Georgia's Children advocacy. "The fact that you can just pick up the phone and call the governor is not something people anywhere else can do."

Well, there's no guarantee you'll get the governor on the phone, but his staff does take messages. And McKinney says that can be a good way to demonstrate the amount of popular support for a given bill.

"The most important thing is to be polite and respectful. Honestly, I think everyone in state government tries to do what they think is right," she said, echoing advice given by other veteran lobbyists.

Threats, protest rallies and claims of political influence are usually not effective and often backfire, insiders say.

Governors have 40 days to sign or veto legislation after the General Assembly goes home, or the bill becomes law anyway.

Gov. Nathan Deal usually signs almost every bill that the legislature passes because he and his staff have worked with lawmakers, advocates and lobbyists during the session to address his concerns, legislators say. And they praise him for being willing to meet to hear their reasons for or against bills.

And a good way for individuals to get an appointment with Deal is to ask their representatives or senators to request it, and it helps if they are speaking for a group or association and not just themselves, advises Brian Robinson, Deal's deputy chief of staff for communications.

Robinson and his team regularly post to Facebook and Twitter about the governor's doings, but they don't monitor social media as a way to gauge public opinion. However, they're not blind to it.

"Just a few years ago, the cannabis oil bill would have generated much controversy, but public opinion showed strong support building for this change as Georgians learned more about why it was needed and how it would work," Robinson said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.