Many situations have occurred over the years where actual contact by a CPA to a state legislator could have created additional favor towards a particular bill or legislative initiative. Conversely, that contact could also have provided for creating additional backing for the defeat of legislation that the FICPA opposed.
The FICPA began its Key Person Contact Program several years ago to identify CPAs with contacts in the Florida Legislature. The program has been extremely successful. The FICPA has over 300 KPCs on file.
The purpose of the Key Person Contact Program is simple. The FICPA would like to use current and future KPCs as an information network, both transmitting information to legislators and reporting information about proposed or pending state legislation to the FICPA.
As you know, KPCs are CPAs who, at the local level, have developed relationships with Florida legislators and who can, on a moment's notice, communicate our position(s) to those legislators during the hectic days of the legislative session. The absolute backbone of any successful legislative endeavor is the ability to reach legislators and communicate effectively and concisely in order to convince a majority of the benefits of a given concept.
Further, frequent personal contact from CPA constituents in a legislator's district maintains a professional camaraderie with that legislator. The ability to have numerous lines of communication with state legislative bodies and to keep them open assures the FICPA of a strong voice for critical issues concerning the accounting profession.
Key Person Contact Registration Form
Sample Correspondence for use by KPC's...
The Honorable Legislator’s First & Last Name
The Florida House of Representatives/Florida Senate
Room _______ House/Senate Office Building
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Re: HB/SB ______ - Subject
Dear Representative/Senator Legislator’s Last Name:
On Day of week, Month date, year, bill number, sponsored by Representative/Senator Legislators name, will be heard in Committee Name committee meeting at time a.m. in Location/Room number. If possible, give a history of where the bill has been, (i.e., "the bill passed the House Appropriations Committee on April 1, 1999"). I would appreciate your review and urge your support/opposition of House Bill _____.
Give a description of what the bill does and any history as to why you are interested in this bill.
List your intentions and your arguments for or against the legislation with reasons why it is good or bad for you…… The intent of this change to -- cite the laws the bill would change F.S. would enable individuals and businesses …
Enclosed you will find a copy of the bill (also include any pertinent information in support/opposition of the bill). I would be happy to personally discuss the bill with you at your convenience. Please contact me at your phone number if you have any questions.
Sample invitation for use by KPC's...
The Honorable _______________
Florida House of Representatives
_______________, FL ________
Dear Representative Last Name:
On behalf of the Your Organization, I would like to invite you to join us for breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails, a meeting of etc… on Date. The meeting will begin at time a.m./p.m. at the location.
The Your Organization consists of describe members/attendees who represent a diverse group of business and professional clients. We were established give a history and purpose of your organization or meeting. We would like to give you the opportunity to discuss issues of importance to your constituents and the business community.
If you can accept our invitation, please RSVP to me by date. If you have any questions regarding the meeting, please feel free to contact me at your phone number.
The Key Person Contact (KPC) is a very important ingredient in the successful development of the legislative program of the FICPA. Here are a few important things to keep in mind.
- Know your legislator. Keep up to speed on their district and capitol addresses and phone numbers, legislative staff, etc.
- The main duty of a Key Person Contact is to maintain regular contact with specific legislators whom he/she knows on a personal basis. These relationships will facilitate better communication between the FICPA and state legislators.
- Activities of note by a KPC should be reported to the FICPA Governmental Affairs Department using the response forms or written/e-mail correspondence. Any ideas for, or comments on legislative activities are greatly appreciated.
- Let the legislator(s) know that you are available to assist them in any way on accounting issues of interest to them.
- Attempt to keep current on state legislative issues. Having knowledge of proposed or pending legislative issues concerning the accounting profession will aid in keeping the legislator(s) abreast of the FICPA's position.
- Be prepared to respond to our Call to Action program. You may receive an urgent facsimile, phone call or letter requesting that you contact your legislator immediately and request their assistance. This program has been a key part of our success in recent years with legislative issues. Your legislators want to hear from you!
- Any change in your status (including address) or regarding legislators for whom you are listed as a contact, should also be reported as soon as possible to the Governmental Affairs department at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (850) 224-2727, ext. 202.
Successful Communication Techniques For KPCs...
- Find out who is responsible for keeping the legislator's schedule and making appointments. When you obtain the person's name, record it for future reference.
- If for whatever reason, you are unable to meet with the legislator, meet with the legislator's staff person. The staff person will have valuable insights, and you can expect that the staff person will mention the issue to the legislator.
- Make sure to present yourself not only as a constituent, but also as a member of the FICPA.
- Make sure to do your homework on the issue, including the major points of the issue (pros and cons), the position of the legislator (if available), the position of the FICPA and any possible or pending legislation (with bill numbers, if possible). Remember: A cooperative approach with possible solutions is the most effective method.
- One of the most important keys to a successful meeting is to listen. Subtle suggestions from the legislator's comments could bring large clues on how to present arguments sufficient to sway the legislator from his/her position.
- Remember to send a letter of appreciation for the opportunity to meet with a legislator. This letter is, in most situations, a perfect time to either put in writing the commitments made or to resubmit and reinforce arguments for your position, if no commitment was made.
- Make sure to contact the FICPA Governmental Affairs Department at (850) 224-2727, ext. 203, or via e-mail to email@example.com with any questions prior to your meeting and to relay any information you obtained.
Do you have questions about:
- Current Florida laws
- New Florida laws
- Agency Rules (Board of Accountancy, Department of Revenue, Auditor General's Office, etc.)
- Other state legislative or regulatory issues
Get answers to your questions from the FICPA Governmental Affairs team. Send your legislative or regulatory questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.