By Caden Ziegler
The primary function of both the Lobbyists and the Governor’s Cabinet is to push an agenda on the House or Senate. Both sections attempt to persuade Senators or people from the House to vote a certain way on certain bills.
As a Governor’s Cabinet member from Oklahoma, Grace Hunziker, says: “We are just working with the Governor to kind of oversee all of the bills… and just make sure we get the right bills on his desk for him to sign.” Unlike the Governor’s Cabinet, the Lobbyists do not push the Governor’s agenda. According to Samik Sha Deme, “[they] kinda have [their] own agenda, and [they] form coalitions within the lobbyists so that [they] can work together.”
The two sections attempt to sway the vote on bills by “[talking] to delegates in the chambers and see what they are thinking about, and see what the general atmosphere is around [a] bill.” They Gov. Cab. or Lobbyist would then try to talk the Senator into voting the way they want.
Lobbyists can have a reciprocal relationship with Senators, Sha Deme says, “If a certain person wants you to vote for their bill, then you can work with them and try to get their bill passed if you want them to do something for you.” If a Senator doesn’t like a bill, then they will tell a lobbyist to make sure it doesn’t get passed, and in return, the Senator will vote a certain way for a bill of the lobbyists choice.
Another way that both sections can sway the vote on a bill is by taking Senators out to talk during the voting process. This issue was addressed by the Speaker of the House at the Governor’s Breakfast yesterday morning, he said it was unfair and now forbidden.
A Governor’s Cabinet member said that they “have been super careful to not [pull people out during the voting process]”, and discussed “in the meetings that it’s not okay.” Another lobbyists stated something similar, saying that they are trying to take people out at more appropriate times, but there are times “where [lobbyists] pull [senators] out and they happen to be voting at that time.” However, the claim to “try and send [the Senators] back as fast as [they] can.”
Lobbyist advisor Curry spoke in a meeting with the entire group of lobbyists saying, “I know yesterday the Speaker of the House said don’t pull people out for the sake of them missing votes.” However, after addressing the issue, Curry states that “it’s [the Senator’s] decision to walk out, right? … So if [a lobbyist says] ‘hey you wanna come talk to me?’ that’s not pulling [the Senator] out so that they’ll miss a vote, that’s just [the lobbyists] pulling them out to talk to them. If they miss a vote, that’s on them.” After advising his lobbyists to disregard the Speaker of the Houses presented issue, he concludes the meeting with this: “If the Speaker of the House pushes back on that, you can push back, you can let us know.”