Staffing a Committee

With the Legislature set to return to session in just a few short weeks, I sat down with Erinn Ryberg – the Legislative Director for Assembly member Cristina Garcia, to talk about some of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to staffing committee.

When it comes to the do’s and don’ts, the first do is common sense – read the bill. There is a plethora of information and analysis out there on all the bills and it can be easy to take what those different analyses say to be the truth. You definitely want to listen to what others are saying, but also read the bill yourself and make sure that the people you are talking to are reading the bill the same way that you are reading the bill.

The other major do is to take meetings with everybody – the people supporting a bill and the folks opposing it. You do not want to have a reputation for only meeting with certain groups or certain organizations.

On the other side of the equation, the don’ts – the biggest don’t is “don’t commit you boss to a vote unless you’re authorized to do so.” You never know what’s going to happen in the four days before a committee hearing and no matter how much you or your boss like a bill, something may change between your conversation and the hearing that can change that position. You’ll have to listen to our conversation for some tips on how you can deftly avoid answering questions about how your boss might vote on a bill.

I hope you enjoy our conversation. Let us know in the comments if there is anything else you want to hear me discuss with Erinn, or any of our other CAP·impact contributors. Or you can let us know on Twitter, @CAPimpactCA or @jon_wainwright. Thanks for listening.