Employment of Lobbyist
The Montana Library Association shall employ a lobbyist to represent the Association before the Montana Legislature and to advise the Government Affairs Committee on the development and implementation of the Association’s legislative agenda. With input from the Government Affairs Committee Chair, the Executive Committee is responsible for selecting the lobbyist and securing the approval of the Board of Directors to enter into an agreement with the lobbyist. The Association shall enter into a written agreement with the lobbyist, which shall set forth the terms under which the lobbyist is retained and the amount which the Association will pay for the services of the lobbyist. The lobbyist is responsible to the Board of Directors and reports to them through the President.
Registration and Reports
At the beginning of each legislative session, it is the responsibility of the Executive Committee to direct the Executive Director in consultation with the lobbyist, to file an Authorization Statement (Form L-2). with the Commissioner of Political Practices. The form must be signed by the President. This form authorizes the lobbyist to represent the Association. It is the responsibility of the Executive Committee to ensure that the Association’s lobbyist meets all requirements for lobbyist registration. The Executive Committee is also responsible for directing the Executive Director, in consultation with the lobbyist, to file periodic lobbying disclosure reports with the Commissioner of Political Practices.
Development and Implementation of Legislative Agenda
- The Government Affairs Committee is responsible for gathering information from the membership (through such means as surveys, focus groups, etc.) regarding potential legislative issues of concern to all types of libraries in Montana.
- The Government Affairs Committee discusses input from the membership and is responsible for formulating proposed legislative goals for presentation to the Board of Directors for approval. The lobbyist participates in this discussion, as well as the State Librarian and the President (both of whom are ex officio members of the Government Affairs Committee).
- Well in advance of the legislative session, the Government Affairs Committee Chair should meet with the Board of Directors to explain and discuss legislative goals proposed by the committee. The lobbyist should also participate in this discussion.
- The Board of Directors has the authority and the responsibility to either approve the legislative goals or to request the Government Affairs Committee to revise them, based on the results of discussion with the Board.
- Once the legislative goals have been approved by the Board of Directors, the Government Affairs Committee, with assistance from lobbyist, is responsible for:
- formulating lobbying strategy;
- developing a fact sheet for each goal;
- informing Association members and other library advocates of the Association’s legislative agenda and related information;
- gearing up and fine tuning the network of those who will be contacting legislators on behalf of the Association’s legislative agenda;
- encouraging and facilitating member/advocate communication with legislators prior to and during the legislative session.
- During the legislative session, the lobbyist, the Government Affairs Committee Chair, and the State Librarian should consult regularly and often concerning the status of the Association’s legislative issues and the effectiveness of its legislative strategy. The lobbyist and the Government Affairs Committee should report regularly to the President on status of legislative issues. If changes in strategy are required or if new issues develop upon which the Association should take a position, the President and the State Librarian should be involved in the discussion of these issues.
- At the conclusion of the legislative session, the Government Affairs Committee Chair is responsible for requesting a written report from the lobbyist outlining the bills worked by the lobbyist on behalf of the Association and their final status. The Government Affairs Committee Chair should include this report in the committee’s annual report to the President.