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Dorn Policy Group

government building in Washington, DC

How Do State, Federal Governments, and Lobbying Complement One Another

By | Intergovernmental Lobbying

Government is a revolving door with elected officials constantly developing new laws and regulations that impact businesses. It’s like that old saying goes: it’s all about who you know. 

How Does Lobbying Affect State and Federal Government

When it comes to lobbying, we act as the middleman between organizations and elected officials to influence policy decisions on a specific issue. As one of Arizona’s top lobbying firms, we work closely with all levels of government to ensure our client’s best interests are at heart. 

Influencing policy is a core part of a sound democratic system. Lobbying provides the voiceless with a microphone to amplify their message. Whether it be for or against tax reform, minimum wage increases, or regulations that impede business operations, we are your ally in all things public policy. 

Lobbying provides a way for businesses to connect with elected officials on issues that matter to them. Additionally, lobbyists help guide the conversation to ensure your interests are being heard by those that matter.

Lobbying Brings a Balance Between Public Interest and Legislation

With a diverse population comes a variety of opinions, both in government and in the community. Each side wants their voices heard, but with so much commotion it can be hard for policymakers to fully grasp the scope of the issue. 

It is the lobbyist’s job to articulate one’s case to a wide audience. This will ensure  balance through constructive discussions and exceptional representation of interests. 

Dorn Policy Group Is the Go-To for Lobbying Services

Lobbying encourages people to participate in government and voice their concerns. With nearly 60 years of combined government experience, Dorn Policy Group can advocate on your behalf at the Federal, State, County, Municipal, District, and Tribal levels. 

Contact us to learn more about how to become a partner with Dorn Policy Group.

men working at a desk taking notes

Fact Versus Opinion in Lobbying: What Holds More Clout?

By | General Lobbying

Lobbying is the art of influencing key policy makers in regard to specific issue areas that might affect one or more clients the firm represents. Lobbyists give a voice to businesses by presenting strong and credible information to the people that matter. 

So when it comes to lobbying, what tends to hold more clout, facts or opinions? 

Differences Between Facts and Opinions

To better understand which of the two holds more weight when presenting an argument in front of policy makers, it is important to understand the differences between the two.

Facts

  • Can be verified
  • Are based on research
  • Universally accepted
  • Not debatable
  • Has the power to influence

Opinions

  • Beliefs or judgements 
  • Based on personal views or experiences
  • Cannot be verified
  • Vary depending on the individual 
  • Debatable
  • Have the power to influence

Making the Best Argument as a Lobbyist

Any good lobbyist will know that the most successful lobbyists know how to make a compelling argument that will benefit their clients’ best interests. A key strategy is to  thoroughly explain how the issue will affect their constituents. It is important to get specific when presenting information, as this can be the difference between earning their support or opposition.

Additionally, you will want to anticipate any opposition or counterarguments, and be prepared to respond in a truthful and precise manner. The best policy is to always be honest and be able to back up your arguments with factual evidence.

Why Opinions Should Be Used Carefully

Opinions should be used carefully when presenting an argument, as unsupported opinions cannot only weaken your argument but also your credibility as a lobbyist. 

If your opinion cannot be backed up by reliable sources, then it is best to be left out of the conversation no matter how strongly you might believe it. Instead, try to find a connection between your opinion and factual data. Finding specific evidence that supports your opinion will go a long way in establishing your credibility.

Let Dorn Policy Group Assist Your Business

As one of Arizona’s premier lobbying firms, we know how important it is to be noticed by key policy makers. By partnering with Dorn Policy Group, you can rest assured knowing that you have skilled advocates looking out for your best interests. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you!

woman working on a laptop in an office drinking coffee

How State Budgets are Built and Executed

By | General Lobbying

Every year, or every other year, states face the task of creating budgets that adequately address the needs of their residents while also maintaining their short-term and long-term fiscal objectives. Each state’s budget reflects an estimate of the amount of revenue the state will collect. Depending on the state, this figure is determined by the governor, the governor and the legislature, the legislature, or an independent commission.

The Budget Calendar

For most states, the fiscal year runs from July 1 to the subsequent June 30. The exceptions are New York (whose fiscal year starts April 1), Texas (September 1), and Alabama, the District of Columbia, and Michigan (October 1).

The public budget discussion typically starts when the governor issues his or her budget proposal by a date specified in the state’s laws or constitution, which generally takes place in January or February.

The budget cannot take effect until the legislature approves it and the governor signs it. This is supposed to take place before the start of the fiscal year. If states miss the deadline they must pass temporary spending bills to keep the government running until the budget is enacted and/or temporarily shut down.

State Budget Timeline

The budget cycle varies by state, though most follow a similar pattern. First, the state budget office (in the executive branch) sends instructions to state agencies to follow in preparing their budget requests. These instructions provide a template for presenting financial and descriptive information. They also set limits on certain types of requests and expectations depending on the fiscal environment.

Next, agencies submit these requests to the budget office who then develop the executive budget proposal based on the governor’s priorities. The governor’s budget deadline ranges across states from November to March and is submitted to the legislature. The legislature will then hold committee hearings and deliberate various sections of the budget. Once an agreement is reached, the legislature passes the budget which then goes to the governor for approval. From here, the governor must sign it in order for it to become law or veto it to revise the budget before signing.

Approaching the Budget

Different states use different methodologies to make budget decisions. Most states develop budgets on an incremental basis where they start with a baseline of current spending or service levels and focus more attention on justifications for relevant spending increases or decreases.

Additional ways states approach budgeting is through program budgeting or performance budgeting. Program budgeting brings more focus to programs or activities as the primary budget units, and incorporates information on program missions, goals, and effectiveness. Many states also use performance budgeting to allocate resources based on measurable results.

In addition, nearly all states have a rainy day fund or budget stabilization fund. These funds are only able to be expended if certain conditions are met. Most states also have separate reserve funds specifically for natural or manmade disasters.

Monitoring and Executing the Budget

State budgeting is a continuous process and must be monitored frequently. Throughout this cycle, expenditures and revenues are monitored to ensure funding needs are met. Budgets are also monitored to make sure state resources are sufficient to fulfill spending obligations. Thirty-two states issue interim expenditure monitoring reports on a monthly basis.

States also use their ability to shift funds around as an execution tool. For example, the state budget office may transfer appropriations between departments, between programs within a department, and between spending categories within a program.

Grow Your Network With Dorn Policy Group

Dorn Policy Group specializes in business growth and government relations with our vast network in the Arizona business and political community. We help our clients achieve their growth objectives by connecting them to decision-makers and business leaders. Contact us today to learn more.

woman and man working in a lobbying office together

How a Large Network Benefits You and Your Community

By | General Lobbying

In today’s business environment the people you know and the connections you have are of equal if not more value than what you know. A business network is a vital aspect for every business owner, especially small businesses and start-up companies. 

Getting in front of influential people in your community can open many doors for you and your business. These relationships have a big impact on the success of your business as the knowledge gained during networking is invaluable. There are plenty of ways to network, especially now with the accessibility of virtual events. Whether they’re business seminars, networking groups, or professional associations there are many benefits to gain.

Benefits of Networking

Knowledge

One of the biggest benefits of having a large network is the amount of valuable information and knowledge you will be getting from industry professionals and business leaders. Staying on top of industry trends, business developments, or legislation can keep you aware of things that might be affecting your business. 

Advice

This is especially important for start-up businesses that are trying to get established or begin expanding business efforts. Getting in contact with other successful business people can provide you with advice on what choices to make to further your business. Whether you’re trying to expand your products, service areas, or are having trouble finding reputable vendors or creating partnerships, there’s a high chance these businesses have gone through a similar scenario and can share their thoughts.

Connections 

Who you know will have a major impact on the success of your business. Getting in touch with industry leaders and influential people within your community can create many opportunities for you. Once you put yourself out there, your contacts pool will grow immensely because once you build a connection with a business leader, you will also get connected to all of their contacts. These connections are mutually beneficial, as they can support you and you can give your expertise on matters that affect them.

Better Opportunities

Once you have developed a valuable relationship with fellow business leaders, you will create a sense of trust. This trust will present you with business opportunities that otherwise you would not have received. These opportunities can come in the form of partnerships, expansion, acquisition, leads, sales, and many others.

Elevated Profile

By being actively involved in your community and growing your network, you will elevate your profile among other business leaders. Having a strong network will increase your credibility and pull people in your direction who want to connect, collaborate, or get your expertise. Having a reputable network will not only look good in the sense that you are associated with influential business leaders but also frame you as a knowledgeable, reliable professional.

Grow Your Network With Dorn Policy Group

Dorn Policy Group specializes in business growth and government relations with our vast network in the Arizona business and political community, we help our clients achieve their growth objectives by connecting them to decision-makers and business leaders. Contact us today to learn more.

Government building outside

How Government Relations Firms Aid Businesses

By | General Lobbying

There are many ways in which businesses of all sizes can benefit from a government relations firm. From helping to expand your potential client base to making sure you are knowledgeable about industry specific policy; government relations firms can help expand your company reach. Additionally, government relations firms can help advise and manage potential legislation that might affect your business, leaving you to focus on the day-to-day operation. As a result, government relations firms are a tremendous asset to businesses.

What is a Government Relations Firm?

A government relations firm is similar to a lobbying firm in the sense that they can connect you to public officials and provide you and your business with strategic guidance. This guidance can keep you apprised of city and state policies that may affect your business while also educating lawmakers about your industry and business specific issues.

The Benefits of Hiring a Government Relations Firm

There are plenty of benefits for businesses looking to hire a government relations firm. These firms can help in business development by connecting you with potential clients and customers in your area as part of a strategic marketing approach. Government relations firms have strong ties within the local communities and can put you in front of the right people to expand your business. 

Government policy can be a tricky subject. With an array of policies and regulations being introduced every year, government relations firms can guide you through the process and make sure your business is knowledgeable and compliant with all operational guidelines. 

Additionally, partnering up with a government relations firm can increase your visibility and reputation in the community. By developing a relationship with elected officials, you can create a professional network with not only them, but also other leading organizations in your area who might have a similar interest. 

Finally, these firms can keep your business up to date on any potential threats or opportunities in your market. This helps to ensure your business is set up for success.

Let Dorn Policy Group Assist Your Business

As one of Arizona’s premier lobbying firms, we know how important it is to be noticed by key elected officials. By partnering with Dorn Policy Group, you can rest assured knowing that you have skilled advocates looking out for your best interests. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you! 

People working at computer with papers and pen

What is the Difference Between Direct Lobbying and Grassroots Lobbying?

By | General Lobbying

In today’s exceptionally competitive society, there is a high demand for government relations professionals. Their advocacy can provide much-needed support for businesses, both big and small, on policies that may impact their operations. This is achieved through strategic lobbying efforts designed to promote specific interests in the best possible manner. However, people do not often realize there are two different types of lobbying: direct lobbying and grassroots lobbying. But what are the differences between these approaches to advocacy, and how can they benefit your organization? 

As a top Arizona lobbying firm, we utilize both direct and grassroots lobbying strategies to obtain the results our clients require. Read our article below and learn which type of lobbying works best for your business! 

What is Direct Lobbying?

This form of lobbying involves organizations directly relaying their position on issues to lawmakers and other government officials. Additionally, it involves an attempt to influence policies by further engaging with policymakers. The lobbyist will typically be somebody who is a part of the company affected by the policy, or an independent lobbying firm advocating on behalf of the company. Direct Lobbying is what most people picture when they think of lobbying. 

To achieve the best results, direct lobbying involves:

  • Verbal and written communications
  • Electronic and social media communications
  • Attending a meeting with policymakers
  • Speaking on the phone with lawmakers

There are several critical tasks that lobbyists must complete in order to achieve their objectives. First, they must build a professional relationship and explain the issue at hand. Second, they must prove their expertise by providing quality data and further build credibility in favor of their issue. Lastly, they provide additional assistance to policymakers, oftentimes helping draft new legislation to ensure there are no loopholes. 

What is Grassroots Lobbying?

Similar to direct lobbying, grassroots strategies attempt to influence laws passed by policymakers. However, this strategy differs from direct lobbying because it rallies the public around a specific policy issue. Instead of engaging with policymakers, they engage with the community to contact lawmakers and government officials to influence policies. This technique is especially prominent in non-profit organizations.

Moreover, to be considered grassroots lobbying, organizations cannot express their opinion on issues, and urge their members to contact policymakers. This is considered direct lobbying. Grassroots lobbying strategies adopt strong communication techniques to ensure their message resonates with the public. This may involve publishing open letters, creating an online petition, organizing a demonstration, or utilizing social media to bring awareness. 

Another key difference is that grassroots lobbying must abide by spending restrictions enacted by the Public Charity Lobbying Law. The law was designed to protect non-profits from losing their non-profit status by allowing them to spend 5% of their revenue on lobbying. Organizations must elect to use the Public Charity Law to increase their lobbying spending from 5% to 20% for the first $500,000 of revenue. While 20% can be spent on grassroots lobbying at a time, 100% can go towards direct lobbying efforts.

Direct Lobbying and Grassroots Lobbying with Dorn Policy Group, Inc.

Founded over 20 years ago, Dorn Policy Group, Inc. was founded on the belief that integrity, tenacity, and client results should be the cornerstones of quality government relations. We go into every lobbying strategy with this mindset to ensure we obtain the results our clients require. That is why we utilize direct lobbying and grassroots lobbying strategies to paint our client’s needs in the best possible light. Contact Dorn Policy Group, Inc. today and learn how our team of government relations specialists can help your business stay on top of issues that matter to you.

 

3 Benefits Public-Private Partnerships Have on Government Relations

By | General Lobbying | No Comments

There has been a shift in government interest relating to public-private partnerships (P3s). A P3 involves the collaboration between government agencies and private-sector companies to finance, build, and operate different projects. This typically involves critical elements of local communities, such as public transportation networks, parks, and convention centers. Many people are unaware of what public-private partnerships are, and how they can benefit local infrastructure. 

As one of the top government affairs firms in Arizona, we work hand-in-hand with government agencies and private-sector businesses. Many essential elements of Arizona’s robust communities have benefited from these public-private partnerships. 

Public-Private Partnerships Benefit from Risk Transfer

One of the most significant advantages P3s have is the transferring of financial risk from taxpayers to investors. Common risks include overrun project costs, change orders, delays, and anything else that may increase the cost of a project. In a traditional scenario, the project risks are on the financial shoulders of the taxpayer. 

The private sector is typically more amenable and motivated to assume these financial risks since it affects their bottom line. They are contractually obligated to deliver the project on-time and on-budget or face financial repercussions. Companies will have great incentives to deliver on their end of the project, while government agencies benefit from their services.

Bundling is a Huge Benefit for Local Government Projects

In a Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain (DBFOM) contract, the private sector partner is responsible for all aspects of the project. Combining these functions together into one contract is referred to as bundling. In traditional procurements, companies will bid on each individual function in order to provide their services for government projects. 

Through public-private partnerships, government agencies appreciate that the private sector is the primary company working on their projects. There is a shared interest in ensuring the project is completed in an effective and timely manner. Additionally, the private sector will be responsible for overseeing the project to meet high standards of design and construction. Poor quality of work can lead to an increase in maintenance costs and create challenges down the line. Government entities can avoid this by working with private-public partnerships to ensure a high-quality product. 

Public-Private Partnerships Enhance Capital Opportunities

Unlike traditional procurements, P3s are financed by equity and debt. Infrastructure projects are funded through government revenue and may limit the agency’s ability to raise enough capital for the project. Introducing equity not only increases the project’s potential size but also considers equity funds to deploy into the project. Equity funds include:

  • Institutional funds
  • Insurance funds
  • Pension funds
  • Private equity funds

Dorn Policy Group Can Assist in Developing Potential Partnerships

As one of the premier Arizona lobbying firms, Dorn Policy Group is proud to introduce government entities to hard-working companies. With over five decades of combined government relations experience, we know how to put our client’s best interests forward. Contact us today and learn how our knowledgeable staff can help you. 

Arizona Looks to Reduce Crime With House Bill 2262

By | Transportation

Our team has been working with a number of organizations and lawmakers on issues that impact our local communities. One proposal that we have been working closely on is House Bill 2262. This bill would bring a retro look to modern license plates, and provide new design options for motorists. Additionally, the new technology will enhance license plate visibility and reduce Arizona’s crime.

Background to House Bill 2262

According to the National Sheriffs’ Association, motor vehicles are involved in 70% of serious crimes in the U.S. It is not uncommon for suspects to use their car in criminal activity, and sometimes the only way to identify criminals is by their license plate. However, license plates are not always legible and law enforcement officers have a much more difficult time finding the suspect. While many use automated license plate readers, the technology can have trouble detecting older license plates. 

What the Bill Hopes to Accomplish

Dorn Policy Group, Inc. and other stakeholders are advocating for HB 2262 to protect and benefit law enforcement efficiency. The importance of license plate legibility cannot be overstated. It provides law enforcement and good samaritans with the ability to quickly read a license plate after a crime is committed, which often impacts how quickly Arizona crimes are solved. That is why we would like to introduce new legacy license plates for vehicles from 1973 to 1996

The designs would resemble plates that were previously used in the State:

  • Copper background with green lettering per the appearance of plates issued from 1973 to 1980.
  • Maroon background with white lettering per the appearance of plates issued from 1980 to 1996.

House Bill 2262 would bring a retro look to modern license plates and allow consumers to choose one or more designs. These plates would not only attract and retain collector car hobbyists, but provide stronger visibility for other drivers and law enforcement. We expect these new plates would be an excellent solution to increasing public safety and reducing crime.

Dorn Policy Group, Inc. Will Continue to Fight For House Bill 2262

We believe House Bill 2262 will have a significant impact on Arizona communities statewide. As one of the top Arizona lobbyists, we strive to develop a strategy to ensure policies like these are seen by lawmakers. We believe in the work we do and with our assistance, your voice will be heard by those who matter. Contact us today to learn more about House Bill 2262, or if you would like assistance in reaching local lawmakers.

Case Study: School of Cardiac and Vascular Ultrasound Program

By | Healthcare

Here at Dorn Policy Group, Inc., we are hard at work for our clients during the 2021 Legislative Session. We are highlighting one of our clients, the School of Cardiac and Vascular Ultrasound Program, at the Arizona Heart Foundation. The Arizona Heart Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to the on-going fight against cardiovascular disease. Their main vision and goal is to provide complimentary ultrasound screenings to underserved and/or at-risk adult populations throughout rural Arizona counties. But how do they plan to accomplish this? That is where Dorn Policy Group, Inc. steps in.

The Project

Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer in the United States? Every year 1,000,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. The School of Cardiac and Vascular Ultrasound Program is trying to identify those residents who are at risk. Dorn Policy Group, Inc. is helping them capture funding to provide complimentary screenings for those in rural Arizona who may not have immediate access to health care services. 

As the COVID-19 situation evolved, residents in rural and lower-income areas requested scans; however, they were unable to make the drive to Phoenix. Residents throughout Arizona were hesitant to visit their local emergency rooms or hospital setting in fear of contracting COVID-19, leaving them at risk for undetected cardiac and vascular disease. 

Rural Arizonans are at Risk

The Arizona Department of Health Services 2019 Burden Report states that in 2017, seven Arizona counties i.e., Mohave, La Paz, Apache, Gila, Cochise, Graham, and Yavapai, had higher cardiovascular disease death rates (per 100,000 population) than the average Arizona state rate.

The Coconino County 2017 Annual Report states that 30% of residents receive public health insurance, and 1 in 6 residents do not have health insurance at all. This number equates to 100,000 people. The burden of caring for this population rests solely on the State, costing Arizona a large sum of money every year in health claims.

Dorn Policy Group, Inc.’s Impact

Where do we come in? Our lobbying team facilitates the relationships between governmental health agencies and tribal leaders to identify at-risk populations. From there, we identify possible funding mechanisms for the School of Cardiac and Vascular Ultrasound Program to perform screenings to those populations that are at risk. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, 80% of cardiovascular disease is preventable. However, it is costing the State of Arizona $4 billion every year because it is the most expensive disease to care for. The screenings will help catch cardiovascular disease early, thus saving lives and money. 

We Can Partner with You Too

At Dorn Policy Group, Inc., our specialty is shaping policy for our clients that decision-makers understand and can support. For 20 years, we have partnered with our clients to ensure success in their business by lobbying at the Federal, State, County, Municipal, Tribal, and District level. We want to ensure a brighter future for the people in our community and in our government. Contact us today to learn more about shaping government policy.

Why Do Cities and Towns Hire Lobbyists

By | Intergovernmental Lobbying | No Comments

Oftentimes, people associate lobbying with big corporations, organizations, or businesses in Washington, D.C. However, there are other types, such as intergovernmental lobbying. 

Intergovernmental lobbying means that cities, counties, and states allocate both resources and funding in order to achieve their specified goals with regard to other levels of government. While this type of lobbying is not well-known, similar to lobbying for small businesses, intergovernmental lobbying can prove to be very beneficial. It has become increasingly popular with over $77 million being spent in 2015 alone, compared to the $150 million spent between 1998-2008. 

Reasons Why Cities and Towns Hire Lobbyists

There are plenty of reasons as to why cities, towns, counties, and states would want to hire lobbyists. Just like every business and organization has different needs, all levels of government also have issues that affect their industry. 


Some of these issues include:

  • Unemployment
  • Infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Public Safety
  • Immigration
  • Drug Abuse Prevention
  • Budget
  • Tribal Land Issues
  • Minimum Wage Rate
  • Transportation
  • Education

Whether it is a small town in Alaska avoiding unincorporation or San Antonio getting a new courthouse, there are plenty of benefits that come from local governments hiring lobbyists. 

Additionally, cities and towns hire lobbyists to push back against state laws that limit their jurisdiction. With so much legislation being introduced at the state level, local governments can have a hard time finding the time to be there and represent their interests. By hiring a lobbyist, these government entities can get a seat at the table and have their voices heard. With governmental procedures sometimes being slow and taking longer than desired, lobbyists can speed up the process by influencing key policymakers in the approval or disapproval of certain bills. 

In the end, it is about being represented in front of the people that matter and have your voice heard. Just like big corporations and organizations are represented in Washington, D.C., towns, cities, and states can be represented as well, which can bring real benefits and change to their communities. 

Dorn Policy Will Advocate For You

As a leading Arizona-based professional lobbying and public affairs firm, Dorn Policy Group works with all levels of government including Federal, State, County, Municipal, District, and Tribes. Working with both Republicans and Democrats, as well as Independents, we will provide you with the best strategic counsel to advance and reach your objectives. Contact us today to get started!