It is fairly common for a major legislative effort to get stalled. Sometimes it happens in committee, other times it happens before the bill is even introduced. It is always frustrating, especially when your CO poured extensive time and resources into building relationships and assuring alignment among stakeholders.
When this happens, your CO must sit down and answer some tough questions. Here is what to consider if your advocacy efforts hit a bump in the road:
- Is it better to retreat and regroup? If there isn’t a compelling reason to settle for a compromised version, then it’s quite possible PAs and their patients would be better served if you regrouped and came back stronger the following session. In doing so, it would give you time to work on adding more stakeholder support. It would also afford you the opportunity to educate the opposition. After putting in so much work and getting this far, packing it in can be a hard pill to swallow, but doing so might be the only way to ultimately achieve your goals.
- Is a compromised version of your bill the best you can do? Have an honest discussion about what is achievable. What is the likelihood that the originally intended legislation will pass in the near future? It may be better to accept whatever improvements you can, while continuing to cultivate the relationships you formed during this process. Then, the next time your CO decides to seek legislative improvements, you will have completed much of the leg work. Take comfort that a compromise can still mean progress.
- Is the amended version of your bill significantly different from the original? In your initial disappointment, you may have read the new language to completely alter what you drafted. However, the new version may achieve similar goals via a different path. If this is the case, let go of personal attachments to authored language and evaluate if the proposed path is acceptable.
As always, AAPA’s COOA team is available to help your board or government affairs committee with these discussions and assessments. If your CO runs into opposition, please contact your COOA representative.