Negotiating Policy and Legislation

Since California’s legislative session is only getting closer and closer, I have another podcast for you today with Erinn Ryberg – Leg. Director for Assembly Member Cristina Garcia. Today, Erinn and I are discussing negotiating legislation and the policy changes within a given piece of legislation.

Similar to our conversation last week about staffing a committee, we’ll be talking about the dos and don’ts of this process.

As Erinn will tell you, one of the first things she learned when started working in the Building is that if you have a good bill, then that means it will have support and opposition because the bill will actually do something. Because of this, the bill will require some negotiating and compromise. This means that you should start with the biggest, broadest bill possible because as your bill moves through both houses of the Legislature, you will inevitably have to remove or change some parts of the bill. And of course, with all these changes, it is a tightrope walk between keeping your coalition of supporters happy while not ticking off the opposition too much.

In being able to negotiate these changes, there are some things to keep in mind. The most important thing is make sure that your stakeholders are people that you trust, that are good at their jobs, and have some influence with their bosses. When I asked Erinn how critical it is to have good stakeholders on your side, she replied, “It will make or break the bill.”

You can’t negotiate if you’re working with people that aren’t willing to budge or that don’t have the authority to give more than what is on the sheet of paper you walk into a meeting with.

You will have to listen to the rest of our conversation to glean more insights from Erinn.

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