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[Music] hello everyone welcome to our advocacy webinar focused on the main legislative process we hope it will give you a broad overview of the activity schedules and processes at the State House in Augusta as well as how our and your advocacy efforts leverage an align with those processes I'm just a reminder this is part of a webinar series produced by the democracy partnership which represents a collaboration of two organizations the Maine citizens for Clean Elections and the League of Women Voters of Maine our agenda for today will include presentations by two panelists who you'll hear a little bit about in just a moment as well as a Q&A at the end of this so stay tuned for that your panelists today are John Brautigan and Bob how John is an attorney and consultant with over 25 years of experience in campaign finance and election law public policy advocacy and legal representation from 2004 to 2008 he served in the Maine Legislature and prior to his tenure in the legislature mr. Brautigan served as assistant attorney general he previously served as legal counsel successfully defending the constitutionality of the ninety-six reforms to Maine campaign finance laws including the Maine clean Election Act mr. Brautigan holds a law degree from Stanford Law School Bob how has been principal at how Kyle & Company since 1986 and has represented Maine citizens for Clean Elections for over 12 years bob served as a member of the Maine House of Representatives from 1976 to 1980 and earned a master's degree in public administration at Harvard's Jay s JFK School of Government and my name is Dina live knime communications director at Maine citizens for Clean Elections and League of Women Voters of Maine you probably receive some emails from me now I'll let John and Bob begin their presentation Thank You Deena and it's a pleasure to be here this is job Radha gam and I'm gonna take the first few slides and Bob and I are gonna alternate back and forth to try to keep it interesting for you we're very glad that you're with us today and we'll try to move this right along and get done within an hour or so so why is your involvement critical at the League of Women Voters and main citizens for Clean Elections the democracy partnership we understand that even in the best of times the people are the stewards of our own democracy and we have a responsibility and an opportunity to get involved in all kinds of ways especially now a lot of people believe that our democracy is ailing and needs your involvement to help make sure that we continue to improve our democracy it and enact the policies that the people care about so we have an agenda of reforms that are about democracy and therefore it is really appropriate and critical that those reforms be brought about through a democratic process involving lots of people communicating their views to their elected officials and that's what we're going to talk about today and I think it's rewarding I think you can make a big difference in a state like Maine by taking your your Democratic involvement from simply voting or maybe an occasional letter to the editor to a higher level of involvement by actually getting involved in the legislative process understanding the process of trying to make a difference up in Augusta so next slide the structure of the legislature is you know we'll start out talking about just the basics of the structure the legislature and the sessions that the legislature convenes in right now we're about to begin what's called the long session the odd-numbered years have a legislative session that runs from January to June and it is a full session with a very busy calendar with the consideration of all kinds of different pieces of legislation including the state budget so anything can come up during the long session the short session it's the even-numbered year the election year it's starts in January and usually runs until April and it's technically reserved for emergency legislation and bills that have been carried over from the previous year so it is not as much not as quite as intensive but it still seems to stretch on for quite a while and the legislature is usually in session on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the start of this of the long session and then by June the sett legislature will actually be in session every day of the week and a critical part of the legislative structure is the committee structure which we'll talk about in a minute this slide shows the basics the one hundred and twenty ninth Maine legislature consists of a House and Senate there are 89 Democrats in the house 57 Republicans and five who are not enrolled in either party for a total of 151 and in the Senate there are 21 Democrats at 14 Republicans so Democrats are in the majority in both chambers of the legislature and that's important for reasons that Bob will explain in a moment thank you John that's a great introduction it looks like we now have 64 of you out there I think it's wonderful that's this much interest in the legislative process and how folks can get involved one of the duties of legislators is to pick their own members of leadership and then also to select what are usually referred to as the constitutional officers the slide you're looking at on the left shows the two presiding officers the presiding officer in the Senate is referred to as the president of the Senate and the presiding officer in the House is the Speaker of the House we're actually missing one of the icons on the right and that would be the state treasurer the state Constitution specifies three what are usually referred to constitutional officers the Attorney General and as you probably know the incumbent Attorney General soon become the governor Janet Mills the Secretary of State whose responsibility is quite broad and includes motor vehicle registrations driver's licenses it includes the election laws it includes a lot of functions related to business entities their registration and so forth and the state treasurer is the third constitutional officer the state auditor is also a position selected by the legislature but it's not found in the Constitution the state treasurer is responsible for the primarily primary duty is to oversee the state's investments in issuance of bonds the auditor make sure the state's books are in order and also has some responsibilities with respect with respect to auditing state and excuse me County and local government all right I think we can go to the next one about one third of the legislature turns over with every new election and that's been the case even before term limits the increase the term term limits has increased that number somewhat what term limits mostly did was to see to it that there wasn't a significant number of people who served for many many years although that hasn't worked out and quite as the drafters of it intended because you have people like former Speaker of the House John Martin who has actually managed to come back either in the house or the Senate for many years since term limits were introduced the new legislators will be sworn in this week and they will also select those officers that we looked at on the next the previous slide governor elect Janet Mills have been inaugurated on the 2nd of January and the legislators will have a deadline by which they need to file bills at this point the rules would have that as the fourth Friday in December but the new members of leadership will meet Thursday of this week and could change that rule because that's set by what's called a joint rule of the legislature all right next one the legislature does the bulk of its work in committees which have various jurisdictions that are described reasonably well by the titles of those committees these are what are called joint standing committees they're joint because unlike in some states the committee's include members of both bodies the House and the Senate 10 from the house 3 from the Senate and their standing because there are permanent committees sometimes we will see what are called select committees which are usually set up for a shorter duration to deal with a particular issue a problem and there's been one recently on the opioid crisis that was another one set up to deal with medical and recreational marijuana laws so now we'll talk about the process itself the process by which an idea becomes a law we have a citizen legislature in Maine and and in that process the legislators are not experts they deal with a lot of technical issues they deal with a lot of emotional issues and the citizen legislature depends on the input from citizens in the process of various ways which we will we will talk about but it is too important a process to leave it to the professional lobbyists to influence the process the legislators need to hear from their their constituents and and that's that's what we're going to talk a little bit more modern in a moment so here's a pop quiz where does legislation come from the possible answers legislators the governor or state agencies members of the public there could even be other possible answers there and the answer is of course all of the above although only a legislator can actually draft and sponsor a bill actually put it in the legislative hopper start the process the ideas for the legislation can be from the public agencies really anywhere someone can communicate an idea to a receptive legislature and get the process going one legislator is a sponsor there's one co-sponsor and there are up to nine other well there's one lead co-sponsor sorry and there's up to nine other co-sponsors on each bill oh my turn alright we're going to talk a little bit about as the slide says how the sausage is made we start with the bill being submitted perb the process John just described someone submitting a bill has to include a title and enough of a description so that one of the professional nonpartisan offices of the legislature the staff there can draft it and that's office is called the office of the revisor of statutes I as a lobbyist happen to prefer to submit the bills fully drafted so I have more control over how they're written and that they do what I or my client wants them to do but even in that case the officer office of the reviser of statutes will have the final word on format and not content but how the content is presented once the office of reviser of statutes has done their work they will send a note to the sponsor of the bill to say your bill is ready to sign and assuming the sponsor still wants to go ahead with it the sponsor will sign it and get some co-sponsors up to nine and number it goes back to the revisor and they give it a number and it's printed and at that point for the first time the bill becomes public until that point the only person who can release information about the bill is the sponsor although we do get a list of titles earlier on once the bill is printed it is referred to a committee it has to be referred in both the House and the Senate and occasionally you will see some initial disagreement but eventually a bill will be sent to a committee that committee will schedule it for public hearing which in Maine is required of every bill except in the most extraordinary of circumstances and that's not true in every state nor is it true in Congress following the public hearing which is for the purpose described in in the name of the event it is to hear from the public and legislators get to ask members of the public questions and there's a particular format for how hearings are conducted following the hearing there will be at least one SEC work session it is typically not but sometimes is on the same day as the public hearing sometimes there will be multiple work sessions and at whatever turns out to be the final work session the committee will take a vote I thought we had a slide and we may later on about what the options are for a committee so I'll hold off on that now because that's really getting into the weeds once a bill leaves committee it goes back to the house of origin that means the body in which its primary sponsor sits so if it's a House member it's it's a house paper if it's a Senate primary sponsor it's a Senate paper and that's it goes to the body where the primary sponsor sits it is giving first reading and then second reading at which time a bill could be amended on the floor it is debated then and then if if it's not defeat at that point it'll be sent down to the other body the other chamber goes through a similar this and if it's finally passed in identical form in both houses it goes to the governor for signature now this is a very simple how this is the most simple process a bill can go through it sometimes gets much more complicated than this going back and forth in different versions until either the two houses that agree on something or if they in the end cannot agree on exactly the same version the bill dies I also didn't say anything at that point about the governor's options but he can he can sign a bill he can veto it where it gets sent back to see whether the legislature will override it or he can let it become law without a signature and I can will soon be able to say she John talked a bit about the the sessions of the legislature but if you go back far enough in main history the legislature met only once every two years in the house and buggy days when it the roads are too muddy in the spring to get to Augusta easily but then this state business began to get more complicated and we began to have what we called emergency special sessions in the that would be in the even-numbered years but it got to the point where these second sessions were happening every of the year and they regularized them and the dates of those sessions are as you see their veto day is a day in which the governor the legislature takes up any vetoes that the governor has sent back to them and so that typically that date is usually ten or more days after the legislature has ended its normal session the special session is when either the legislature calls itself back into session or the governor does for some purpose such as ratifying a contract with state workers or a supplemental budget that cannot wait until the next January or it could be any number of other matters that would warrant a special session let me just pause here and say that this process is something that can be quite complicated and at the end of four years in the legislature I still was not all that clear on certain parts of it so don't worry if you're not getting all of this down we will give you our contact information at the end of the webinar and you can reach out to us then we will try to provide you with answers or additional materials later on to help you navigate this once you once you decide that you will engage with the legislature in the in the months ahead so next slide you want to talk about the citizen lobbyists or keep going well we will we can talk about I'll talk briefly about the citizen lobbyists each person who would like to go to legislate to the legislature and weigh-in would be considered a citizen lobbyists and you can you don't need any permission you don't need to register if you're a volunteer the Statehouse is open to you the public hearings are open to you the proceedings are all public proceedings and they are open to you as a citizen obvious and it would be helpful to have some familiarity with what you're getting involved in to be more effective but you don't need to register or get too formal about it in any particular way now professional lobbyists and do have to register and they do have to report what they are paid and they do have to report the bills that they're working on and so forth but if you're not getting paid if you're just volunteering that does not apply to me so next slide please so these are the principal committees that the democracy partnership apart follow and have been following for many many years the veterans and legal affairs committee is the committee with jurisdiction over the clean election Act campaign finance other campaign transparency laws disclosure laws election related laws and a host of other matters that are not quite as related to to our mission like John Jonathan a jump and I like to refer to that committee as dealing with booze ballots nd bingo I deal with liquor laws the election laws and gambling gaming yeah yeah well you sometimes you will wait for public hearing on a clean election matter and you'll have some interesting public hearings ahead of you you may learn a few things while while we're up there waiting for your turn the appropriations and financial affairs committee is regarded to be the most important committee in the legislature in some ways it controls the budget and state spending and almost every agency and every issue has some connection with the budget and the AFA committee we refer to weigh in on the budgets of the Ethics Commission the Secretary of State's office the clean election fund and such things as ranked choice voting does the Secretary of State require more funding for ranked choice voting many many areas where we find ourselves in front of the Appropriations Committee to weigh in on the important and the important judgments and values that are represented by how we allocate our our tax tax funds to these different programs and we're always there to speak out on behalf of the democracy programs and and you may be interested in doing that as well one day and state and local government there are a number of proceedings relating to the ethics of government and the legislature and also the municipal administration of Elections and other other matters that come before state local governments so we do have presence there as well now some of the tools to follow there there are a just say there are both formal and informal ways to follow the legislative process it's good to know about both the formal process is that each each chamber of the legislature has what's referred to as a calendar and the calendar for the legislative body the house for example can be seen online at the links that are there on the on the screen the calendar for the day details all of the legislative business in sequence that is going to be coming up that day now that calendar is always correct when it's published which is usually the day before or sometimes the morning of the session but it is continuously supplemented throughout the day and there may be as many as 20 supplemental calendars that are you have to stay up on top of to know what additional businesses come in before the body during that particular day and in addition to that the presiding officers will often jump around within the calendar to take things in an order that that's different from what the way they are listed in the calendar so it really does require paying attention and following the process either in the legislative gallery or online through online video an audio connection at the Statehouse those provide now that calendar is not to be confused with the earlier calendar which is the session calendar which lays out the days on which the sessions session days are occurring committee meetings other events that are in the Statehouse that relate to the legislature the other link down there the bill tracking tool is very interesting and very helpful device that you should explore when you get time you can search for bills that are coming up in the legislature you can search for the bills that are being proposed by your legislator you can search for bills with a certain word in their title you can search for bills in a previous session of legislature and then you can find all kinds of information the bill text any amendments to the bill a fiscal note showing the cost of the bill testimony and the public hearing it's the number of public hearings that it has been given and four bills that have already gone through the process you can see the roll call votes if there are any in the House and the Senate and how your legislator voted on the bill so that's a very helpful tool and it does require some familiarity but if you take your time and get used to that you'll find there's a tremendous amount of information there now on the right side word of mouth the informal ways to follow legislation there's really no substitute for having relationships and other sources of information that might give you a heads up on legislative developments before they appear in a calendar or before they can be viewed on one of these other tools just by word of mouth speaking to your legislator speaking with other lobbyists and volunteers might be up there just being present in the Statehouse and asking questions I'm keeping your ears open you can often find out really important information that you that will help you in the process of following your bill of interest well we'll talk a bit more about the process of a public hearing and the the law requires that the public be given a notice of these hearings so that you know folks aren't taken by surprise as I said earlier every bill with a very rare exception gets a public hearing I can remember a bill when I was in the house which did not get a hearing it was introduced by the governor in the last day of session and it was to name a bridge in Skowhegan after Margaret chase Smith and nobody felt that needed a hearing and it was an accident typically a committee will schedule multiple bills for a hearing they will publish a list of them but one should not assume that they will necessarily be heard in the order in which they're listed the first folks to speak at a public hearing once that presiding the chair of the committee and by the way there are two chairs two for each committee house in a Senate chair because of the joint committees the sponsors and any co-sponsors will testify first followed by other legislators who might want to speak on a bill typically they don't if their name isn't on the bill but it does happen and they're not subject to any time limits then sometimes people who are there from an agency oh it might be the Department of professional and financial regulations speaking on a bill to licensed massage therapists we want to say something so they'll be given an opportunity then it's opened up to the general public typically those who are there to speak in favor of a bill get to speak first followed by those who are opposed to a bill and then there is a category called neither for nor against and that's at least in theory for people who want to provide comment or information who really haven't got a position on a bill that category is sometimes misused a little bit and you can tell when somebody gives testimony in some cases they really do have an opinion but they somehow some reason wanted to hide that if the legislative committee expects a lot of people on a particular issue it might be on a lobster bill or a gun bill or something else they will implement a time limit typically three minutes and some in some of these situations the committee will also require people to sign up ahead of time and they usually open that sign-in sheet perhaps an hour before the hearing begins and they will call people in the order in which they signed up okay you see here a picture of a committee room this one happens to be the Committee on Appropriations and financial affairs and the curved dais there is actually where the 13 members of the committee sit often referred to as a horseshoe in most committees you don't see these other desks in the center but this committee has that space because they will sometimes hear sections of a budget in conjunction with members of another committee if for example they're hearing the budget on the Department of Public Safety they will invite members of the committee on Public Safety to come in and join them as I said earlier there's a Senate chair and a house chair by by protocol or tradition at least the Senate chair typically chairs a committee and will hand the gavel to the House chair usually if the Senate chair has to leave for some reason there are 11 other members of the committee and they they those 11 seats are parceled out based on the size of the majority and the minority in each body at least that's true in the house in the Senate it's it's always a static number there is a second member from the Senate of the majority party and a single member of the Senate from the minority party each committee has a clerk who sort of takes care of the administrative business such as making sure the public notices are posted recording roll call votes and committee and things of that sort then there is an analyst and that person often may have legal training or training in public policy or history and they provide an analysis of the legislation independent of what legislators hear from the public and they will typically open the first work session with a review of the public hearing reminding members of the committee who what and as sort of a refresher before they begin the work session there is one rule that you don't approach members of the legislature at their desks during a hearing but it is possible to get a message to members by typically one would hand the clerk a note okay I think I said earlier the public hearing is usually weak the notice is usually weak before the public hearing oh I'm sorry we're talking work sessions now yeah typically the work session follows the public hearing by about a week sometimes it may be faster toward the end of the session when they're trying to get business out sometimes it may actually be a few weeks if they're waiting for some other information they come in from a state agency the public isn't guaranteed a right to speak at a work session but may be invited to speak and sometimes that can be arranged if somebody wants to be sure the committee has some additional information it's usually possible to arrange for remember the committee to invite that person to speak amendments may be offered by members of the committee and then it comes time to vote and there are several options and these acronyms stand for ought to pass or not to pass or ought to pass as amended and there's no requirement that I remember the committee vote the same way thus minority reports so we might have some members of committee who like the bill as drafted and they may vote not to pass you may have others who would like it if there was some changes made and so they offer an amendment and they if they vote for that amended version that's a not to pass as amended report now usually you don't see more than two reports but I've seen as many as five once you get out beyond to reports the chances of anything ultimately becoming a law are diminished significantly and that's because members who are not on this committee rely on their colleagues on the committee of jurisdiction for some guidance in how to proceed and if they look at a committee report that's come out split three or four ways they say well if these folks can't decide what ought to happen I can't either I'm gonna vote no once the committee members have cast their vote a piece of paper referred to as a jacket is signed by all of them and off it goes to the house of origin as as we said earlier okay okay so once the bill leaves the committee if it has no votes in the committee if it was a unanimous vote against the bill then the bill is essentially dead nothing it goes to the to the chamber of origin but then it is just simply disposed of and nothing further happens with it if it has at least one vote in favor of the bill then it continues on the pathway of legislation and it goes as as we noted to the chamber from which it originated meaning the chamber where the sponsor has a seat they the bill will then appear on the calendar within a few days of leaving the committee if there is an amendment in the committee that there may be some time required for the amendment to be finalized and put into the proper legislative form and then made available to members of the of the chamber but again at the end of the session all of these processes are accelerated all of the timelines and deadlines are flexible and can be waived in order to get legislation through more expeditiously they call that suspending the rules it takes a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules and that happens all the time in order to ensure the smooth flow of legislation through the chambers the bill I you can how will we know when the bill comes up for a vote that is a combination of following the Chamber's calendar that I referred to before and also using your informal communication methods to ask legislators to advise you and to try to notify you when the bill is scheduled to actually be debated one one important thing to note here is that during the legislative session each morning the presiding officer meets with his or her committee chairs add key staff and key legislators and plans out the day this is called the chairs meeting and it's informal but it's important and at that meeting the legislators will decide which pieces of legislation that are on the calendar will be debated during that legislative day some will not be ready for debate they will either be political reasons why they want to delay it or there may be a person missing or there may be information missing for whatever reason there will be bills that will stay on the calendar for day after day after day and do not get actually debated but during the chairs meeting they will decide a handful of bills that will actually be debated during the day and that word goes out to all the legislators so they could prepare obviously to cast their vote and if they're going to be speaking on the floor they will prepare their their floor comments and there's a note here on parliamentary procedures there are lengthy books about the procedures that govern this process there are professional staff in both chambers who know the parliamentary procedures and who advised the presiding officer but the presiding officer ultimately is the person who rules on any parliamentary questions that come up and that that ruling is subject to override by the chamber with a two-thirds vote so lobbying tips well the most important thing I'm going to tell you today in my opinion is that when you go to lobby remember that the legislators work for you you may feel uncomfortable there you may feel that you don't know the procedures you may feel that you don't know your way around the building you may feel ill --'tis speaking in public but setting all of that aside the legislature is there for you the legislators work for the taxpayers and the citizens and voters of the state and it's their job to receive input from people like yourself who are concerned about an issue so my advice is not to be intimidated to be confident and yet you know respectful of others who are in the process but you have a right to be there and you're a right to be heard so the particular tips on this on this slide are to ask for support if you feel like your bill is in the zone where it might or might not pass just simply asking other legislators if they would support your bill and if they wouldn't support it is there an amendment that would make it more palpable for them and of course working with the democracy partnership to help talk about the bills that are coming down and the priority bills that you might want to focus on you might want to testify about you might want to speak to individual legislators about and just in your own words make your case to those legislators who you approached about a bill no one no one up there is an expert except for some of the professional lobbyists so no one can expect you to be an expert and you you're there to provide whatever opinion and whatever views and whatever information that you have from your experience as a as a residence of that legislative district or as a person living in Maine and that is legitimate and that is all you need you need to bring up there if you do if you're asked a question or if somebody you know expects you to have certain information it's always perfectly fair and acceptable to say I'll try to find that information I don't have it I will try to get back to you with it but it's really not your obligation to do the research for anybody else up there monitoring the committee hearing schedules and the work session schedules of course is important and and actually testifying when you are have a priority bill that you would like to really make make the case for at a public hearing and when you're testifying it's important to anticipate what others who might not support the ill might say about it and to try to neutralize them by addressing those objections in your own testimony you're advised to bring 20 printed copies of your testimony testimony you know the the public hearings can go on and on so try to find something to make your testimony stand out keep it clear factual concise try to look the legislators in the eye while you're up there try to speak from the heart and I try to really communicate your point as succinctly as you can and and within if within a few minutes they really don't like it when people go on for more than a few minutes especially when there is a lengthy public hearing and several public hearings stretching into the evening the patience of the legislators can you know understandably we reach a limit on days like that follow up with notes so on say thank you on even appreciation for people who ask difficult questions if they do is always appropriate and then at the end of the public hearing the committee members will usually announce when the work session is and if possible it's a good idea to try to be there for that even though you will just be an observer you won't be able to actually testify again at the work session there are two toll-free numbers one might want to use for leaving brief messages for legislators and typically you would say this is Bob Powell calling from Brunswick please let senator Carson know that I think he should support LD 17:02 and that's about all you'll have the opportunity to leave but if you leave your number and our email address you are very apt to hear back from them I think in some ways these are more effective than emails because we've gotten to the point with email that legislators are so flooded with them even less effective than personal email is is a copy and paste type of message that legislators may receive from 10 to 15 people but we can tell when when an organization is making an effort to generate voicemails because the pages in the House and the Senate will will trot into the chamber and leave these pink slips of paper on the desks and sometimes when you see a lot of those you know some organization is really getting the members to call so oh okay thank you Bob and John this this slide gives a little bit more information about the best point of contact at the democracy partnership in case you have any questions about testifying advocacy or specific ways to get involved through our organization and you can email Sarah at the email or give her a call at the number provided on the screen and she can easily connect you as well to John or Bob if they're more likely to have the information that you need I'd like to begin our Q&A now you'll see in your webinar screen a section where you can type in your questions so please type in as many questions as you'd like I'll read them and Bob and John will answer them right now we've got about 10 or 15 minutes for questions so please start typing and we'll take it from there Christopher asked if these slides will be made available yes Christopher these slides there are both be a recording of this entire presentation that you'll receive by e-mail tomorrow and we can also provide these slides in PDF form if you'd like so shoot me a note by just replying to the email you receive tomorrow and I'll make sure you get a copy of the PDF presentation we have a question Bob perhaps you can answer this if committee votes if a committee votes disapproval of a bill does it still go to a floor vote floor vote in the house of origin it does yes every bill every report from the committee does go to the floor as John said earlier if nobody on the committee supports the bill it will it will die but it does show up on on the calendar and that report has to be accepted so some action on the floor is required and another person asked do we have a Facebook group that people can join to get notified about the upcoming bills and the answer to that heidi is yes you can although what i'll do is email you i have your email address I'll email you direct links to both Facebook groups for the League of Women Voters of Maine and Maine citizens for clean elections you'll be able to follow us on both of those to get updates another another person John perhaps you can answer this asked who has to register as a lobbyist and who does not any person who is compensated for their work might might have to register for a lobbyist if they work a certain number of hours in a month so there is an hourly minimum definitely yes eight hours in a month I've actually paid time lobbying in the legislature in order to trigger the registration requirement and then that person needs the report for the remainder of the legislative session so if you work as a completely as a volunteer entirely or if you never reach eight hours of lobbying in a session on a month excuse me then you do not have to register with the Ethics Commission and that eight hours isn't just eight hours talking to legislators it would include certain preparatory work that's intended to influence the outcome of a bill another question we received is what does it take to override a veto two-thirds of the members of each body here we go someone asked will the House speaker and Senate president be elected on December 5th I believe the answer is yes yeah they will I mean it's pretty certain what the outcome is going to be but but it isn't formalized yet and um Bob how does a citizen's initiative get a legislative sponsor it doesn't have one the sponsors are actually the people who sign a petition and so instead of an LD number it's given an i I'm a what B yes initiated bill has no has no legislative sponsor on it it does raise a good point though that each bill that is proposed as a citizen initiative does before it goes out to the voters it does come to the legislature and go through the legislative process now it may be a full legislative process for the public hearing and votes in both chambers or may be a truncated process as has happened in recent years but under the Constitution it's the legislature is allowed a chance to weigh in on the bill before it goes out to the voters but it can't block it that's correct you know there are it's not unusual for the legislature not to conduct a public hearing on these in fact I think on the second Clean Elections referendum correct me if I'm mistaken I think the legislature moved quickly to indefinitely postponed until the voters without any further action at the Statehouse yes and about the last seven or eight years there's been a trend towards let the legislature just indefinitely postponing citizen initiatives so they don't get public hearings that that's happened sometimes but not not in each case John what's a placeholder bill and how is it used I believe you might be referring to a bill that's bill in title only when a legislator proposes a concept that they would like to have considered as a bill in the legislature but you know they've just been elected and they don't really have they haven't had the time to write out the full bill or have somebody else help them with it they may just put in a concept bill which may just be a few sentences laying out the idea that they have and that I think it's what it's being referred to as a placeholder bill which which gets a you know it gets a official place in the in the process so that there is a day called the cloture date which is the last date where legislators can't submit legislation so if you get a concept bill or placeholder bill in before the cloture date then you can then you have a vehicle to discuss your idea later on in the session if you don't do that it may be quite difficult to get your idea in front of the legislative committee because cloture passed and and you don't have an opportunity to to put a bill in except when permission except with permission of of the members of leadership Bob this is this is a good question it kind of teased us up to talk about our next webinar on grassroots communications but Carrie just wrote and said one of you said that it's clear when an organization has encouraged their members to contact legislators because lots of notes arrive during the discussion does that mean that this is or isn't effective please explain and what's the best route well I think the least effective is probably cut and paste emails excuse me you know if the legislature gets six or eight 10 20 emails that all read the same that's a couple things about that for one thing the sender has not had to put in a lot of thought into sending that message and so I don't think it gets nearly it hasn't merely has not nearly the credibility as one that's obviously individually crafted I also think somebody who takes the time to pick up the phone and either leave a message on one of those 800 lines or a call a legislate or at home which is perfectly acceptable and their their home phone numbers for the most part are listed if you can find the right page on the website that's that's more effective above all of those methods coming to the Statehouse is is perhaps the most effective and some people and and I'll encourage some client organizations to have their members get to know legislatures after the election before it's time to ask them for anything to try to meet them in the districts does that I'm hoping on the answering the question yeah they'll be able to write for more clarity if it didn't quite do it another question when wandering the halls of the Statehouse how do you identify legislators as opposed to lobbyists or other citizens well let me answer that I'll try to take that question the there are two two things I would say what is that most legislators where a lapel badge a badge or a pen of some kind identifying themselves and their district and they will be you know walking freely in and out of the chambers so that you're not you know there will be a steady stream of them you kind of get a sense of which ones are the legislators and which ones are just standing there as lobbyists the other thing you can do is to consult one of the resources there are there are different registers handbooks and in some cases small like almost like posters that are have photographs of the legislators and you can familiarize yourself with the legislators that way unfortunately those don't come out until well into the legislative session so the first few weeks of the session you're kind of left to you know look at their their lapel badge or just simply ask somebody there is one publication that I think usually comes out before that register and it's I call that the road map it falls out like a highway map and it's a it's a configuration of the layout of the floor of the house and the Senate with with pictures of the legislators and their names on no other biographical information but that's usually published earlier than that register and this is an interesting follow-up question to the question about calling legislators is there a public tally published about how many of those calls come through for and against a bill well there's not the short answers there's not some legislators will announce their own tallies but that is not something that it's tracked publicly what is tracked publicly is testimony at the public hearings at least to the extent that people submit a written statement and those written statements now are get posted on the website for each individual legislative document in PDF form so you can find out a day or two after the public hearing who submitted testimony and whether it was for against the bill um can can i beez be followed in the same way as l DS yeah I think that's right John assuming yes they can't if they go through the legislative process is that if you're referring to the legislative process yes in the in the actual legislature itself after they leave the legislature at the end of the session if they are going heading to the ballot box I mean in the following collection them you know there's no other way to follow that process here's an interesting question about clerks this person liked a little more information about them whether they're professional nonpartisan staffers whether they have a length of time that they serve and are the pages that run around on the floor and deliver messages are they are they regular staffers the same person or do they change very often well let's take the clerks the clerk's are hired by I guess technically by the presiding officers chairs of committees often have much to say about who serves as the clerk and they sometimes frankly a partisan patronage jobs to some extent although I think they do look to see that people have basic qualifications administrative skills but the analysts on the other hand it's a very different matter these people are strictly professional nonpartisan staff members and work out of a separate office called the office of policy and legal analysis and there's another one called the office of policy and office of fiscal and program review that's another strictly nonpartisan professional office and those people many of them make careers of those positions whereas the clerk's tend to come and go there are some committees who have clerks that come back year after year but those are mostly seasonal jobs when the legislature goes home the clerk position typically ends oh the pages there are also pages who are on the legislative staff I think they are signed I think they port to the either the clerk of the house of the Secretary of Senate but they're also a volunteer pages usually school kids that go up for the day as my kids did when I was a legislator and John's probably did too I think we have we have time for one more question Tom asks in recent legislative sessions some bills to seem to have had very short notices of public hearings why does that happen that is a good question there are rules that require a minimum number of days for public hearing I believe it was two weeks previously but the as they approach the end of the legislative session there was a tremendous amount of pressure to finish their work on time without delaying their adjournment and as a result everything gets compressed and sometimes bills do not get the full advance public notice notice of a public hearing which is regrettable and we do you know we do ask our legislators to provide as much notice as possible so that people can be prepared to be there and testify but sometimes they they truncate that time period well and that sometimes there's another reason why there's very short notice the governor can put a bill in any time such as the the bill to name the the bridge many years ago after Margaret chase Smith but Governor LePage has had a habit of submitting a lot of very substantive governor's bills sometimes in the in the waning days of the session and if they get a hearing at all it's usually with very short notice so this concludes our webinar thanks again Bob and John and to everyone who's listening you're going to receive an email in the next 24 hours that will ask you to answer about three or four questions about this webinar your feedback is really helpful in making sure that future webinars give you the information you're really interested in receiving as a reminder on December 17th we'll be producing our next webinar which is focused on grass Communications you'll be able to sign up on any of our social media channels or our websites starting today or tomorrow if you're interested in joining and we would love to hear from you at any of the modes of communication we've talked about today and answer your questions if they didn't get answered in this webinar this evening so thank you again thanks Bob and John any final thoughts I know thank you and good luck with the lobbying it's important work and we hope to see you at the Statehouse let us know if you're coming thanks everyone have a great night

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