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Lobbying
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Introduction:

 

            Lobbying had always been misunderstood as public relations. But what we do not know is that lobbying had been a part of public relations, not as PR itself. In this module, we will determine what lobbying really is and how it is connected with PR. So, by the time you become, perhaps, a practitioner in the future, you will know how to use this as a tool for your proposals.

 

Objectives:

 

  1. To define what lobbying is.
  2. To differentiate lobbying and Public Relations.
  3. To relate lobbying to Public Relations as a tool.

 

 Lobbying, what does it mean?

 

            Lobbying is the practice of private advocacy with a goal of influencing a governing body, in order to ensure that individuals or organizations point of view is represented in the government. It is the process of educating lawmakers to help them understand a specific issue.

 

            A lobbyist is a person who is paid to influence a legislation as well as public opinion. A more tactful description might be said to someone who is engaged in public affairs. The person discusses issues with the member of the Legislature in the hope of influencing the legislative proceedings. The lobbyist may request votes either for or against pending legislation. The term derives from the way in which these agents formerly confronted legislators in the lobby or hallways directly outside the legislative chamber.

 

            Guaranteed by the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Article 1 of which specifies the right of the people to petition their government, lobbying has become an accepted fact of the American political life. It operates on the local and state, as well as on the national level. Lobbyist may represent such varied interest in agriculture, transportation, professions such as medicine and law, or such groups as women’s voters of conservationists. The U.S. Congress passed a Regulation of lobbying act in 1946 that requires registration of professional lobbyists, their employees, and their expenses. In 1995, passed the Lobbying Disclosure Act, which expanded the definition of lobbyist and tightened disclosure requirements. Under the act, lobbyist must file semiannual reports disclosing the specific issues they work on, any interests by foreign agencies or businesses on their lobbying activities, and estimates of their lobbying expenses The measure is one of many state and federal laws that regulate lobbying.

 

            A separate form of lobbying, called “outside” lobbying or grassroots lobbying seeks to affect the legislature or other bodies indirectly through changing public opinion. A modification of the same aimed to leaders and influential persons in the community, is known as grasstops.

 

Why is Lobbying necessary?

           

            Often and unfortunately, decision-makers do not have direct access to information on how a particular proposal might affect an issue, such as the education of our youth in their island schools or the school employee who work with these schools.

           

            Most major corporations and political interest groups hire professional lobbyist to promote their interests and intermediaries; others maintain in-house government or public relations departments. Think tanks aim to lobby through regular releases of detailed reports and supporting research to the media for dissemination.

 

            People lobby lawmakers on the issues that are particularly concern to them. World Vision lobby to advance justice for the worlds voiceless poor to help eliminate the causes of poverty, rather than just treat the symptoms.

 

            Effective lobbying presents all sides of an issue with short-range and ling-range projected consequences. Over time, lobbyists build and develop relationships of mutual trust with senate, and congressional members. Effective lobbying provides Congress up-to-date and accurate information, as well as historical background on specific issues.

 

            Lobbying is in many countries a regulated activity, with limits placed on how it is conducted, in any attempt to prevent political corruption.

 

Figure 1.1 Lobbying-instrumenting structures, processes and influence

 

            Structure                                  Processes                                Influence

 

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Sierra Patricia G. Milan 

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