Coalition Lobbying in the Oregon Legislature

by Eric Noll

Oregon lobbyists exhibit an important role in the state’s legislative process. Literature exists examining the effect of lobbying on the legislative process, the roles that lobbyists play with certain issues or pieces of legislation, financial relationships of lobbyists and legislators, and strategies of lobbyists, among other aspects. Understanding the role and mechanism of lobbying in the legislative process may help the public better understand the employment of lobbyists and the implications of their work on the daily lives of Oregonians. Within the context of literature and the necessity to understand the role of lobbying an intriguing aspect is how lobbyists work together, in coalition, to achieve common and compromised objectives. The rest of this piece will focus on coalitions through an overview of the role of lobbyists with an analysis of coalition formation among lobbyists and the specific roles lobbyists engage in while in coalition with other interest groups or legislators. The goal is to provide greater insight into the process of coalition formation and its subsequent aspects through literature review and observation of the 2015 Legislative Session.Read More »

The Ins, Outs, and Affects of Lobbying in the Oregon Legislature

by Lizzy Atwood Wills

Lobbying is sometimes known as the “third house”. There are the two chambers in a legislature—the Senate and the House—and then there’s the lobby. Within the three branches of U.S. government, lobbyists play an influential role, and while they probably wish they could affect the judicial branch, they have a huge impact on both the executive and legislative branches’ decision-making processes. Most often though, lobbyists affect the legislative process, and are most well known for their work in the legislature. As long as the United States has a democracy with a legislative process, lobbyists will advocate for their own (or their clients’) interests. What would a democracy be without lobbyists though? If an everyday citizen wasn’t able to march into her state legislator’s office and tell them how she feels, would our democracy really be about the people? Could the Oregon Legislature really claim to be a “citizen” legislature? The aim of this paper is to explain how and why the lobby plays such an influential role in our state legislature, and moreover, how the lobby motivates a democratic balance in politics. Through examples of current legislation, and the experiences of lobbyists currently working with the legislature, this paper will also explain the strategies and roles a lobbyist utilizes to both support and stop every piece of legislation (of which there is over 2,500 in 2015 alone) that makes its way through the Oregon Legislature.Read More »

Oregon Lobbyists as Advocates for Citizen Engagement

by Rayleen McMillan

Mention of lobbyists often provokes images of fast-talking dealmakers wearing expensive suits and singlehandedly bending legislation to the will of their clients. While components of this image might hold up in circumstances elsewhere, the general perception is wholly inaccurate within discussion of Oregon politics. Money most definitely plays a role in Oregon’s political landscape, as does strategic framing of issues. However, the accessibility of our legislature is uniquely high, and its inhabitants outwardly pride themselves on being citizens first and legislators second. In Oregon’s “Citizen Legislature”, there are many access points at which the public can work to influence policy– and while this measure is certainly taken up by individual Oregonians on a wide variety of issues, the most effective legislative advocacy is engaged by combining the efforts of professional lobbyists and the grassroots organization of the clients that employ them. Read More »