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 »