Category

General Lobbying

arrow on the road pointing to the left

What is the I-17 Widening and Improvement Project?

By | General Lobbying, Uncategorized

If you have ever driven to northern Arizona, you know the only direct route from the Phoenix area is Interstate 17 (I-17). Recently, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) announced its intention to make improvements to the highway to increase capacity and safety. But, how exactly will ADOT achieve this goal?

Dorn Policy Group, Inc. is one of Arizona’s top government relations firms. We are advocacy professionals who strive to obtain the results our clients want. ADOT is one of many state agencies we have extensive experience with and are proud to work with on a number of projects. Read our blog post below and learn what the I-17 widening means for our state and future travel up north. 

What is Going Into the Improvement Project?

Back in 2019, Governor Doug Ducey announced his intention to improve the I-17 north of Phoenix. The investments in the project – which exceed $300 million – will widen the interstate to three lanes along a 15 mile stretch from Anthem to Black Canyon City. Additionally, the interstate will feature an 8-mile system of flex lanes between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point. 

Why Widen the I-17?

The improvements to the highway have been a high priority for elected officials and infrastructure professionals for many years. On an average weekday, about 25,000 cars travel the interstate; while on weekends that number can easily double. Moreover, if an accident happens on the highway it can significantly delay traffic. 

Doug Nintzel, a spokesman for ADOT, explains, “We’ve always faced this challenge of I-17 in that Black Canyon City region being such a mountainous, winding area and it’s prone to fender benders, to crashes, to even disabled vehicles.” He continues, “It’s going to make a world of difference as we look to things like busy holiday weekends when traffic may come to a standstill, the summer months and summer weekends, the ability to have this extra traffic capacity will make a big difference. Especially if you had an incident out there.” 

The Infrastructure of the I-17 Widening Project

The project will support northbound traffic by addressing key improvements, such as:

  • Adding lanes to achieve three general-purpose lanes in each direction from Anthem Way to north of Coldwater Canyon Road 
  • Adding two flex lanes parallel to the southbound lanes from north of  Coldwater Canyon Road to the Sunset Point Rest Area
  • Improving bridges, drainage, traffic, and roadways to accommodate the proposed widening
  • Relocating or protecting utilities in the corridor
  • Adding intelligent transportation system (ITS) technology to improve traffic flow and the operation of the flex lanes
  • Improving signage

Dorn Policy Group is a Proud Arizona Government Relations Firm

Dorn Policy Group was founded in 2000 on the belief that integrity, tenacity, and client results should be the cornerstones of government relations. We work with all levels and departments of government to ensure the demands of our community and clients are met. We partner with a wide range of industries, including those in transportation, education, energy, healthcare, and many more. Contact us today and learn how we can help you enhance your government relations.

government Referendums and Propositions

What are Referendums and Propositions?

By | General Lobbying

Do you want to see a piece of legislation on your next voter ballot? Referendums and propositions are two processes used to do just that. 

What exactly are referendums and propositions, and what are their roles in the democratic process?

What is a Referendum?

Referendum is a general term which refers to a measure that appears on a voter ballot. It allows citizens, through the petition process, to refer acts of the legislature to the ballot before they become law.
Additionally, it permits the Legislature itself to refer proposed legislation to the electorate for approval or rejection. 

There are two types of referenda; referendum measures and referendum bills.

Referendum measures are laws recently passed by lawmakers that are placed on the ballot because of petitions signed by citizens.

Referendum bills are proposed laws referred to the voters by lawmakers. 

What is a Proposition?

A proposition is typically a proposed piece of legislation that a portion of the state population wishes to see enacted. They are usually a result of an initiative, a method by voters to propose new laws or amend existing ones through the petition process.

Propositions can be controversial, as groups are often willing to legislate in areas that politicians would not touch for fear of the political consequences. 

Dorn Policy Group Knows Government Referendums and Propositions

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, Inc.

 

AZadvances researcher working at a lab desk

Client Spotlight: AZAdvances

By | General Lobbying, Healthcare

Here at Dorn Policy Group, Inc., we are proud of the work we do and the relationships we build. As an Arizona-based company, we strive to better our community, and one way we do just that is by partnering with organizations with that same mission in mind. AZAdvances is one of those organizations. They work with Arizona researchers and early-stage life science companies that are discovering, developing, and delivering treatments and cures for some of our greatest health challenges. We are honored to partner with this industry-leading organization and look forward to continuing our work toward a healthier Arizona.

Dorn Policy Group, Inc. was founded on the belief that integrity, tenacity, and client results should be the cornerstones of quality government relations. Since then, we have become one of Arizona’s leading government relations firms and have assisted many well-known companies with their government affairs. Read our article below to learn more about our partnership with AZAdvances.

Who is AZAdvances?

Our client is on a mission to advance health innovations from discovery to development to delivery, by providing ongoing funding and support that moves Arizona discoveries into development. The lack of Arizona-based funding for research and early-stage life science companies can hinder health innovations that benefit all Arizonans. That is why they have partnered with Dorn Policy Group, Inc. – to create a sustainable funding source to address the needs of Arizona-based companies to develop and advance healthcare solutions.

What Does Dorn Policy Group Do for AZAdvances?

Advocacy is key for any company on a mission for change. That is where Dorn Policy Group, Inc. comes in. We provide strategic counsel and issue management, as well as advocate for policies on behalf of our client. Additionally, we alert them to key legislative deadlines to ensure they stay on top of current legislation that may require their attention.

Furthermore, we assist AZAdvances by:
● Monitoring government-related activity that can potentially affect their organization and industry
● Cultivating community relationships in both the public and private sectors to secure project funding
● Educating elected officials on policies and initiatives that promote a robust and competitive bioscience industry in Arizona and develop strong professional partnerships with other like-minded organizations
● Informing our client on existing laws and regulations, as well as proposed legislation that may hinder their operations. Additionally, we provide information to help make educated decisions and take strategic steps to further advance their mission

Dorn Policy Group Moves Companies Forward With Strong Government Relations

As one of the top Arizona lobbyists, we know how important it is to be noticed by key elected officials and community leaders. AZAdvances is an excellent example of a company on a mission to better our community by funding Arizona’s growing bioscience industry. We are proud to assist in their initiative and look forward to their future growth.
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 today.

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. 

How to Hire a Lobbyist

By | General Lobbying

Hiring a lobbyist can be a crucial step in trying to achieve a business objective or goal. By hiring a lobbyist, you can ensure that your voice will be heard and that you and your company will get a seat at the table. 

While it is true that lobbyists advocate on behalf of big corporations, small businesses and non-profit organizations can also greatly benefit from their services. A lobbyist’s expertise and influence can most certainly persuade key decision-makers in favor or against legislation that directly affects your interests. 

Therefore, before taking on the process of hiring a lobbyist, it is important to understand what makes a good lobbyist, as well as what services you will receive, to ensure their qualifications align with your end goals.

 

How to Find a Good Lobbyist

When beginning the search to find an effective lobbyist for your company or organization, the first step is to make sure they serve the industry you are in. You will want to hire a lobbyist who knows the ins and outs of your industry, and understands the policy and regulations behind it. Additionally, you will want to find out their areas of expertise, as this can also vary. 

Finally, look at their overall experience, whether it be with previous clients, projects, or even previous careers. Lobbyists who were once public officials or lawmakers have a big advantage, as they possess years of insider information along with strong connections and relationships with key policymakers.  

 

Who Can Hire a Lobbyist?

There are no restrictions when it comes to who can hire a lobbyist. Corporations, small businesses, and non-profit organizations can all benefit from the skills of a lobbyist. The end goal for each lobbyist is to advocate on your behalf for or against issues that directly impact you and your business. These lobbyists can help you navigate the legislative world while communicating your position on specific issues as clearly as possible. In general, lobbyists make the process of lobbying much smoother than if you were taking it on by yourself.

 

Questions to Ask a Lobbyist

As you narrow down your candidate choices, these are a couple of questions that will be helpful to ask when selecting a lobbying firm or a single lobbyist. Asking questions can help you decide if your end goal is compatible with their expertise, making the process much simpler and straightforward.

How many staff members do you have?

This will help you get a sense of how big or small the firm is, as some lobbyists work as a one-person team while others work in firms with over 50 lobbyists.

How many clients do you currently work with?

Just like knowing how many staff are available, it is important to know how many clients they currently have. This can help you get a better understanding as to how much time, effort, and resources they have available to achieve your objective. 

What is your background?

This question will give you a better idea about their past experience, whether it is in different industries, job fields, or otherwise. Knowing the background of lobbyists can help you decide if they are a good match. 

Dorn Policy Group Will Advocate For You

As a leading Arizona-based lobbying and public affairs firm, we provide our clients with strategic counsel to advance our client’s ultimate goals. Dorn Policy Group works with all levels of government including Federal, State, County, Municipal, District, and Tribes. Contact us today to learn more about how Dorn Policy Group can help you achieve your goals.