State Relations

 Lunch and Learn: Working with Boards and Commissions
Hosted by the State Relations Task Force
November 28, 2017

Hundreds of state and local boards and commissions across the country play important roles ranging from the advisory, to policymaking, to supervisory, presenting opportunities for state GR professionals and engaged citizens alike. There are approximately 170 boards and commissions in DC, 300 in Maryland, and 530 in Virginia.  Speakers representing the governments of these three jurisdictions, discussed the general structure of boards and commissions and the processes for interested individuals to apply and get appointed to serve on one of these bodies. Attendees asked many follow-up questions and, in exit surveys, ranked the presentation as very interesting and relevant.
The speakers encouraged WRG members to get involved! They can start by checking out the various options here:

Lunch with NGA and Governors' DC Directors
Hosted by the State Relations Task Force
November 27, 2018

The National Governors Association (NGA) joined WGR's State Relations Task Force to host a lunch-hour Meet and Greet with representatives from governors' DC offices.

A governor’s representative in Washington, D.C. often serves as the governor’s voice in advocating for a state’s interests, and as the eyes and ears in monitoring federal actions that may help or hinder those interests. With a number of critical state-federal issues currently in the spotlight – from healthcare to the tax code – these staffers play a key role both on Capitol Hill and in their respective states.

Governors' staff from Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, and Utah engaged with WGR members during this networking event as well as several members of NGA's policy and government relations staff, including longtime WGR member and event co-host, Anna Davis, NGA's Director of Government Relations.

State Relations Task Force Monthly Meeting
Hosted by the State Relations Task Force
June 27, 2017

The State Relations Task Force was honored to welcome Maryland State Delegate Angela Angel (@MDAdvocateAngel, #AdvocateAngel) as their special guest to the June 27 Monthly Meeting at Deloitte (@DeloitteUS). Lunch was generously provided by the National Foundation for Women Legislators (@ElectedWomen).

Delegate Angel shared her very moving personal story and unique path to elected office, her top legislative priorities, and the implications of current federal policy initiatives on Maryland’s constituents. As a lawyer and self-proclaimed ‘policy wonk,’ Delegate Angel writes her own legislation and ensures that it contains the policy focus required to adequately address the needs of her state and district.

The Delegate shared that she consults with lobbyists when she’s crafting and/or reviewing legislation, stating “you are policy experts and informers, and I rely on you for that.” And she urged Government Relations professionals to know and understand the impact of their policies on the state and residents in which they’re lobbying. When asked about navigating the State Legislature as a newcomer, she noted that actual power and perceived power are different, and figuring out where the actual power lies is key.

Work-life balance is always a challenge for busy professionals. When asked how she strikes this balance as an elected official, a county employee, and a mother of five … she laughed (as did we all!) … and said, “I don’t strive for balance, I strive for harmony. All things are not equal [for women] so balance is not possible.” Amen to that!

Evolution of State Relations – Half-Day Seminar & Reception with State Legislators
Hosted by the State Relations Task Force
June 28, 2017

The WGR State Relations Task Force held the 4th Annual Evolution of State Relations, a half day seminar focused on best practices in state government relations. For the first time this year, the task force hosted a joint post event reception with legislators from the Council for State Governments’ Medicaid Policy Academy. In addition to government relations professionals, over 30 state legislators and their staff were in attendance. The first panel of the event focused on how to build a state relations program with a limited budget and featured speakers from the Alzheimer’s Association, Mission Readiness, First Data, and CAHQ. The second panel outlined lobbying compliance laws across the country and creating a culture of compliance. Compliance experts from Multistate Associates and the Pew Charitable Trusts were featured on the panel. The State Relations Task Force would like to thank our sponsors: Alzheimer’s Association, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and Biogen.  

 The Policy in Your Pint
Hosted by the State Relations Task Force

September 26, 2016
Invited by the State Relations Task Force, WGR members came out to a DC Beer Week event “Policy in Your Pint”. The panel featured Katie Marisic, federal affairs manager for the Brewers Association, DC Councilman David Grosso, Julie Verratti, co-owner of Denizens Brewing, and several other local beer policy and advocacy experts. Panelists discussed the contributions of craft brewers to their communities and economies, the federal and state policy challenges that craft brewers and other small businesses face, and the grassroots, grass-tops and lobbying efforts that both brewery owners and craft beer consumers can engage in.  The discussion also highlighted recent policy changes in DC, Maryland and Virginia, giving the event a distinctly local (and happy!) flavor.


WGR / NCSL Hospitality Suite with incoming NCSL President-Elect
Hosted by the State Relations Task Force
August 9, 2016
On Tuesday, August 9th, WGR members who were in Chicago for the National Conference of State Legislatures 2016 Annual Legislative Summit were invited to an exclusive hospitality suite reception hosted by South Dakota Senator Deb Peters, NCSL's 2016-2017 President-Elect. In addition, not only were the 30 WGR members who attended the reception able to meet and build their relationships with Senator Peters, but they were also introduced to South Dakota Senate Majority Leader Deb Soholt and Representative Karen Soli. WGR would like to sincerely thank Senator Peters for taking the time to host us during her incredibly busy week as one of NCSL's newly elected leaders. We are truly honored and are already looking forward to NCSL's meeting next year in Boston when Senator Peters will be elected as President!

The Evolution of State Relations
Hosted by the State Relations Task Force
June 10, 2016
 On Friday, June 10, the State Relations Task Force held its annual Evolution of State Relations seminar. This event, which focuses on best practices, featured Laura Rose of the National Conference of State Legislature (NCSL) and Diann Smith of McDermott, Will & Emery as the speakers for the first panel titled "Winning on the State Legislative Playing Field". The second panel, "Stop, Collaborate, and Listen! Tactics for Effective Coalition Building and Engagement", featured Maureen Riehl of Multistate Associates, Jordan Quinn of the Hartford Financial Services Group, and Lisa Maartz of the American Association of University Women. Attendees learned state legislative procedure, key considerations in drafting legislation, how to
determine coalition goals, and when to leave a coalition. 

Inaugural Governors Reception

Hosted by the State Relations Task Force
February 19, 2016

On Friday, February 19, 2016, WGR’s State Relations Task Force held its Inaugural Governors Reception during the first day of the National Governors Association’s Annual Winter Meeting.  With over 13 organizational sponsors, 150 private-sector attendees, governors’ staff and two governors, Alaska Governor Bill Walker and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, in attendance, WGR was thrilled to recognize and honor the female state leaders of this nation for the first time.  Governor Fallin graciously accepted her Award of Excellence as WGR’s first Governor Emeritus Member with the most thoughtful and empowering remarks. Thank you again to all who attended, especially the governors, and to the WGR members who helped make this event a huge success.

State of the States: What’s Ahead in 2016
Hosted by the State Relations Task Force
December 9, 2015

On December 9, the State Relations Task Force hosted executives from major state and local public policy organizations at the “State of the States: What’s Ahead in 2016” event. Members filled the room to glean public policy and political insights from Bill Pound of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Julia Hurst of the National Lieutenant Governors Association, Carolyn Coleman of the National League of Cities, David Quam of the National Governors Association. The panel, moderated by Tony Gnoffo of CQ Roll Call, fielded audience questions on topics from cyber security to education policy. Thank you to our sponsor, Quorum, for making this event possible!

Medicaid 101
Hosted by the State Relations & Health & Social Policies Task Forces
October 29, 2015

On Oct 29th, the WGR Health & Social Policies and State Relations Task Forces held a joint brown bag lunch event, Medicaid 101.  Robin Rudowitz, Associate Director, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Kaiser Family Foundation gave a dynamic overview of the Medicaid program.  WGR Members filled the room and asked great questions from the basics of the program to specific state-focused policy issues.  The hour-long event allowed attendees to engage and discuss the hot Medicaid topics of the day.

Financial Services State Round Up - What happened in the states in 2015?
Hosted by the Financial Services and State Relations Task Forces
October 13, 2015

On Tuesday, October 13, the Financial Services and State Relations Task Forces held a joint breakfast event for approximately 20 attendees. Participants heard from a panel of experts on important privacy issues in the states, which included Toni Bellissimo, Executive Director of the Card Coalition and former WGR Board Member; Kelly Whitley, SVP, State Government Relations, Mid-Atlantic Region, Bank of America; and Kim Ford, Vice President of Global Government & Public Affairs, First Data. The panel was moderated by Rich Ehisen, the Managing Editor of the State Net Capitol Journal. The panelists discussed trends in privacy and data breach notification in the states, including a history of breach laws, what legislators are focusing on now, and trends from the 2015 session including changes to definitions of personal identifiable information. Also, discussed was the outlook on federal data breach legislation. A special thank you to our host LexisNexis State Net and the breakfast sponsor, First Data!

The ABCs of State Organizations Networking Reception with Women In Government (WIG)
Hosted by State Relations Task Force
February 11, 2015

Members of the State Relations Task Force came together for the latest installment of the networking series "The ABCs of State Organizations" featuring Women in Government (WIG). This series offers task force members an opportunity to come together with other state government relations professionals and staff from one of the many organizations representing state and local officials to learn more about the group and opportunities to interact with them and their members. Dyan Alexander the Executive Director of WIG offered great insight to the work WIG does and what it’s like working with women state legislators from across the country that leave their partisanship at the door when coming together at WIG events. As new WGR members the WIG staff has already taken advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the issues facing their members by attending events put on by other WGR task forces and looks forward to continuing to do so.