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California Lawyers Association

Sections Legislative and Governmental Activity Guidelines


1. Individual Sections may (a) take positions on legislation, regulations, or rules; (b) propose legislation, regulations, or rules (also known as Affirmative Legislation Proposals); (c) file amicus briefs; or (d) work with the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, and other stakeholders (collectively “Governmental Activity”), if germane to the designated practice area of the Section or the legal profession under one of the following germaneness standards:

  1. The matter requires the special knowledge, training, experience, or technical expertise of the Section;
  2. The position advocated would promote clarity or consistency in the law within Section’s area of practice, knowledge, training or expertise;
  3. The matter is substantially related to the practice of law, the legal profession or the administration of justice within the Section’s area of practice, knowledge, training or expertise.

Section Legislative and Governmental Activity Structure.

Each Section should design an internal legislative and governmental activity system that is appropriate to the size of the Section and volume of Governmental Activity performed by that Section. This internal legislative and governmental activity system may include individual committees within the Section to develop and promote that Section’s Governmental Activity and should seek input from each Section’s standing committees.

The Section’s internal legislative and governmental activity system should interface with the Association’s Governmental Affairs Coordinator (“GAC”) and, if appropriate, with the Association’s lobbyist, to work on Governmental Activity.

The Association shall, in accordance with the Association and Sections legislative and governmental activity, employ a GAC and may employ a lobbyist, to assist in the development, coordination, lobbying and promotion of the Sections and the Association.

Development of Governmental Activity

The Sections may engage in Governmental Activity. No Association approval is required for any Section’s Governmental Activity, unless required under the GAC conflict resolution process.

Approval of Governmental Activity

Each Section shall develop policies and procedures for the approval of their Governmental Activity. The GAC will help facilitate the development of Governmental Activity within the Sections, between Sections, with past positions taken and with policy positions of the Association. The GAC shall ensure a requested position is not in conflict with a current or prior position that Section, of another Section or the Association, unless sufficient justification is given for changing position.

Once approved by the Section, the GAC will assist in placing the Governmental Activity appropriately. However, in the rare situation when there is an impasse on a proposed legislative matter, that dispute may be submitted to the Association for a resolution in accordance with the Association’s policy on Governmental Activity.

Continuing Responsibilities on Legislative and Governmental Activity Matters

Once the Section’s Governmental Activity has been submitted for adoption, the Section’s ExCom should monitor its progress. This includes, but is not limited to, answering any questions or requests for suggested modifications by Members, staff or stakeholders. Section members may also be requested to formally testify on specific Governmental Activity and that should be coordinated with the GAC and/or the Association’s lobbyist.

Association-wide Governmental Activity Approval

It is anticipated that most Governmental Activity will be proposed as sectional-based matters, and no Association approval is required for any Section’s Governmental Activity, unless required under the GAC conflict resolution process.

However, if a particular Section is seeking full Associational endorsement of a proposed Governmental Activity, a streamlined approval process will be available for full Association approval.

CLA – Legislation – 2. Section Leg. Guidelines – Adopted January 16, 2018.

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