Monday, April 8, 2013

Successful "Legislative Day" for CCBA

Thirty-six representatives of the Conference of California Bar Associations met several hours meeting with 52 Member of the California Legislature and/or their staff three weeks ago as part of the CCBA's annual Legislative Day in Sacramento on March 18.

Andi Liebenbaum
The day began in a state Senate hearing room with a briefing on the legislative process and the status of the CCBA's 2013 Legislative Program by me and Andi Liebenbaum, Co-Chair of the CCBA's Resolutions Committee, Chair of the Sacramento County Bar Association's CCBA delegation, former legislative staffer, and currently fiscal analyst for the Judicial Council's Office of Governmental Affairs.

The orientation session was followed by an excellent briefing by Cory Jasperson, Director of Governmental Affairs for the Judicial Council, and Theresa Taylor-Carroll, Deputy Director, on the status of trial court funding in the Legislature.  Following up on Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakayue's "State of the Judiciary" address of the week before, Jasperson and Taylor-Carroll outlined the cuts that have been made in trial court funding over the past several years, the impact those cuts have had on the people of California, and the efforts underway to attempt to restore at least part of the reduced funding.  They also outlined the Judicial Branch Legislative Priorities for 2013, including 17 proposals designed to increase trial court operational efficiency and effect cost savings.
Cory Jasperson

From there, the CCBA representatives broke into teams representing various regions of the state and spent the next few hours meeting with lawmakers and staff.  Twenty Senators and Assemblymembers personally met with the CCBA delegates, with most - including both rookies and veterans - spending a half-hour or more.  The delegates explained (where necessary, due to the large number of first-year lawmakers) the history and purpose of the Conference, urged support for the CCBA's 2013 Legislative Program, and reinforced the need for additional funding for California's judiciary with their own "stories from the trenches."

Michèle Bissada
The visits provided a unique opportunity for attendees whose resolutions had been incorporated into legislation and made a part of the CCBA 2013 Legislative Program to both personally thank the lawmakers who had agreed to author their bills, and to do their own personal lobbying for those proposals.

The day concluded with a CCBA-sponsored reception at a restaurant close-by the Capitol, where Leg Day participants - and those who were not able to break away from their business to walk the halls during the day - had another opportunity to converse with lawmakers and staff, and to share experiences.

The consensus expressed by participants was that this was the best and most effective CCBA Legislative Day yet, thanks in large part to the organizational efforts of CCBA Legislative Committee Chair Michèle Bissada and committee members Karin Horspool and Eve Brackmann, who ensured that the attendees were well-prepared for their meetings under the dome.

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