Lobbyist Program Overview
Lobbyists in the YMCA Michigan Youth in Government program have the opportunity to influence and advocate on topics of interest to them in a variety of ways. The main role of a lobbyist is to advocate for or against specific legislation through testimony in committees and one-on-one efforts with legislators, members of the cabinet and the Governor. Delegates track bill dockets in order to be present in committee during the debate of the bills they are advocating for or against.
YMCA MYIG lobbyists will do this work as part of a pre-assigned lobbying firm that is made up of other delegates with similar interests. A secondary responsibility for YMCA MYIG lobbyists will be the creation of a ballot petition. This will involve crafting a ballot initiative, circulating the petition for signatures and advocating for the passage of the petition by the entire conference. Successful petitions will be voted on during the final General Assembly of the conference. Additionally YMCA MYIG lobbyists may also participate in the Legislative Oversight program.
Lobbyist Ballot Initiative
Lobbyist firms will be able to earn additional points in the competition by creating a ballot initiative. Each firm will be tasked with creating at least one petition during the conference. There are three types of petitions to select from:
A) An initiative that will either create new or amend existing legislation (MI law OR bills considered by the current conference)
B) An initiative that will amend the State Constitution
C) An initiative that will offer a referendum on legislation (must be a bill passed during the conference)
Each firm will develop their initiative and then must get a certain number of signatures on their petition. The number of signatures gathered on an initiative or referendum petition should be significantly greater than the minimum number required, as invalid signatures could be eliminated through a verification process. Verification will involve a random sample of signatures being tested for accuracy. Additionally other firms will also have the opportunity to challenge signatures collected by opposing firms.
Once the petition is placed on the General Assembly ballot, the firm’s role will now shift to campaign for their initiative. This could include working with press to develop a PSA, produce and distribute written materials and general lobbying efforts for their own or against the initiatives of other firms. Points will be awarded based on creation of the petition, collection and verification of signatures and success getting the initiative on the ballot. However, points will not be awarded based on the outcome of the vote at the final General Assembly.