The Assembly may take legislative positions in the name of the MSBA on its own initiative or upon the recommendation of a section or committee. If there is inadequate time for Assembly action, the Council may take legislative positions in the name of the MSBA. While sections and committees are encouraged to seek MSBA endorsement of their legislative positions, they may also take positions in their own names.
Legislative proposals to be taken in the name of the MSBA are evaluated by the Legislative Committee. During the legislative session, section-only or committee-only proposals are evaluated by the MSBA President, with the advice of the Legislative Strategy Action Team (LSAT). LSAT is comprised of the four Assembly Officers and the Chair and Vice-Chair (if any) of the Legislative Committee, and is advised by the Executive Director of the MSBA and the MSBA lobbyists. The President may preempt section or committee legislative action at any time, although a section or committee may appeal the President’s decision to the Council, which may reverse or amend the President’s decision by a two-thirds vote.
Whether a section or committee seeks to take a position in the name of the MSBA or in its own name, a Legislative Proposal Form (PDF | Word) must be completed and submitted.
The MSBA will not advance legislation that changes the result of an individual case, or makes moot an issue in a case, that is pending on appeal to Minnesota’s appellate courts, unless the proponent demonstrates that exceptional circumstances exist justifying immediate action before appeals to Minnesota’s courts are exhausted.
The MSBA Council sets the MSBA’s lobbying priorities from among the positions adopted by the Assembly and the Council, as well as positions advanced in the name of sections and committees. In the absence of specific direction from the Council, the President sets the lobbying priorities, strategies, and messages. Only those positions selected as lobbying priorities by the Council or President will be lobbied by the MSBA.
Any section or committee seeking to hire its own lobbyist must obtain the approval of the Legislative Committee. In most situations, the Legislative Committee will require that the section or committee hire the same lobbyist as is retained by the MSBA, and the section or committee would be required to transfer funds to the MSBA to cover additional payments due to the lobbyist.
Sections and committees may provide volunteer lobbying for positions taken in their own names, but must at all times emphasize that the opinion is that of the section or committee only and not that of the MSBA as a whole. Before undertaking any legislative action, sections and committees must coordinate their activities with the MSBA lobbyists. "Legislative action" includes:
- Attempting to persuade elected officials or government agencies with respect to legislative matters.
- Letters supporting or opposing legislative matters.
- Legislative testimony supporting or opposing legislative matters.
- Statements, comments, or expressions of opinion concerning legislative matters.
- Joining coalitions related to legislative matters.
- Seeking bill authors for legislative proposals.
- Providing technical advice and drafting assistance to policymakers and stakeholders.