January and February mark the start of state legislative sessions throughout the country and with a few exceptions, most legislatures began meeting as planned – with some notable changes. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are differences among states regarding in-person versus remote participation due to COVID-19.
With advocacy a key membership benefit in most associations, the challenge is informing and engaging association members in the effort to communicate with state and federal representatives. It is not only important to ensure that members understand what the association is doing to advocate on their behalf, but it is also critical to recruit members to help with these efforts. Online news centers and association publications have been used successfully by these associations to publicize and support their advocacy programs:
- The National Association of Federal Credit Unions offers members a “insiders perspective” on the legislative, political and regulatory issues that may affect members in 2021 with this article. In addition to describing the issues, the article also provides links to advocacy staff and resources members can use for more information.
- The Colorado Mining Association provides detailed information about timing of the legislative session in their state – it is delayed until mid-February – and the efforts to meet with legislators virtually and in person. A comprehensive list of issues affecting members is included with up-to-date information on each.
- The Fall/Winter issue of the Oregon Health Care Association magazine includes an article that summarizes advocacy efforts in late 2020 and looks ahead to priorities for 2021.
While many of these articles provide a comprehensive look at accomplishments and priorities for advocacy programs, there is also a need to focus on specific issues that are timely and critical to members:
- An important issue to members of the North Carolina League of Municipalities is the need to upgrade rural water and sewer system infrastructure. A recent article in the association’s magazine brings members up to date on association efforts to keep the issue in front of legislators and the governor and provides an update on funding potential moving forward.