Using Election Season to Shore Up Legislative Relationships
by Josh Sharp, Executive Vice President & COO, Illinois Press Association
One of the most important functions the IPA performs is legislative monitoring and lobbying on behalf of our members. While this is no doubt a year-round effort, things really kick into high gear when the Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield. Soon, 59 state senators and 118 state representatives will reconvene to introduce more than 3,000 pieces of legislation. Every bill and every amendment will be read to see if it would affect key issues important to the Illinois newspaper industry.
Given Springfield’s current political climate, we cannot overstate the importance of IPA members in the government relations process. It is critically important that each of our publishers maintain open communications and a working rapport with their elected officials, especially their state senators and representatives. You and your newspapers represent their voters back home; that is something legislators do not forget. The IPA’s efforts can only be successful if we know we can count on our publishers at the local level to establish and maintain these relationships.
Newspapers should be on the lookout for important memos about issues pending in Springfield and be prepared for the upcoming fight. After November’s election, hugely unpopular decisions are going to be made to fix Illinois’ budget woes. In 2019, we’re likely to see big votes on public notices, FOIA and newspaper-friendly business issues too, like the newsprint and ink tax exemption. In order to be successful defending our interests at the Capitol, we need all of our members to be successful engaging their elected officials at the local level.
We welcome your continued support and also thank you for what you do to keep the IPA’s lobbying efforts strong and effective.
Josh Sharp is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Illinois Press Association. He can email Josh here.