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Valley lobbyist: Dead legislative bills still influence public

PHOENIX — Arizona lawmakers estimate only 50 percent of bills introduced to the state legislature will receive hearing and of that 50 percent, only half will pass and become law.

According to a Valley lobbyist, the bills that die in the legislature still play an extremely vital role in the political process.

“Getting your word out even in a defeat can be a good thing because then you pick up people who are interested in the issue,” Russell Smoldon, B3 Strategies chief executive officer, said. “The really big ticket items are difficult to get through the process in a short period of time.”

With over 30 years of public policy experience, Smoldon said most legislative bills will not pass the first time they are introduced to lawmakers.

“It may just mean that you need to re-brand (the bill) or you need to make tweaks to it in order to get it through the process,” Smoldon said.

In order to pass a bill, Smoldon said lobbyists must use a lot of political psychology.

“There is a theory in politics that any press is good press so going down in flames can be a good thing,” he said. “If you figure out how to reconstruct and re-message what it is you want, it can result in something good happening the following year.”