As any business owner knows, federal and state government regulation of business and intervention in a market economy can enable businesses to thrive, but also can make it so that some businesses are not able to survive. In an era of continuously increasing federal and state government regulation of business, that is why it is crucial for business owners and executives to work with someone who can assist them with advocating for and against federal and state legislation and regulations that affect their business. Whether you are involved in a limited liability company (“LLC”), C corporation, S corporation or other business, it is extremely beneficial to have someone to help shape the laws and regulations that affect your business and/or industry.

There are two principle means by which the federal and state government regulate businesses and industry. The first is by statute (e.g. bills or legislation passed by Congress or a state legislature, and signed into law by the executive branch). The second is the regulatory process, which is promulgated (generated) and enforced by a federal or state agency; regulations are based upon statutes. At the federal level, the respective forms of this are the United States Code (“USC”), and Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”). In Washington State, the respective forms are the Revised Code of Washington (“RCW”), and Washington Administrative Code (“WAC”).

Businesses have the ability to influence the laws and regulations that affect them, and that ability starts with advocacy for or against legislation in Congress or the Legislature. As participants in a democracy, business owners have the right to hire an advocate to represent their interests in Congress or the Legislature, or advocate for themselves and/or their respective interests.

The advocacy by both lobbyists and business owners/executives comes primarily in the form of testifying at legislative committee hearings on pending legislation, meeting individually and jointly with federal and/or state legislators and/or their staff, and advocating for or against legislation with the governor or their staff. The business owner can often be their own best advocate because elected officials generally like to hear from the parties that pending legislation affects.

After legislation passes and is signed into law, thereby editing or creating a new portion of the federal or state code, businesses next have a chance to shape the regulations that are created by the legislation that was passed; regulations are promulgated by the federal or state agency tasked with enforcement of the statute via the CFR or WAC. In short, the legislation sets the “ends” of the law, and the “regulations” determines the “means” by which the legislation/statute is enforced.

When an agency promulgates a new regulation, there is a period of time in which members of the public and business owners or representatives thereof, may comment and submit documents to the federal or state agency to attempt to shape the regulation in a manner that is beneficial or “friendly” to their business and/or interests.

Finding a quality lobbyist and/or advocate to advance your interests is crucial. Among things to take into consideration are the credentials of lobbyist, existing relationships that the lobbyist has with federal and state elected officials, state agencies, and the staff thereof, whether the lobbyist has previous experience in Congress or the Legislature, and/or the lobbyist’s expertise on your industry.

MDK Law’s practice focuses on business law. Within the course of that practice, we have routinely dealt with state agencies attempting to enforce a statute or regulation against a business in harmful manner; in addition, we have routinely dealt with the interpretation of statutes (which were previously legislation) between two parties to litigation.

Influencing and/or shaping legislation or regulations that affect your business could save your business thousands or even millions of dollars, whether it be in the form of attorney’s fees due to litigation, less “hoops to jump through” to comply with requirements imposed by a federal or state agency, or a government subsidy that benefits businesses in an emerging or struggling industry.

MDK Law has successfully litigated multiple cases involving state agencies, government relations and public policy, and routinely deals with state agencies on business licensing, labor issues, liquor and cannabis law, and tax issues. Moreover, attorneys at the firm have existing relationships with current and former legislative, statewide, and federal elected officials. Joel Murray, an attorney with MDK Law, has experience with lobbying for funding in Congress as well as in the Washington State Legislature. In addition, he ran a national political organization, chaired a 20,000 person legislative advocacy, organization, completed a fellowship in the United States Senate, and staffed multiple statewide ballot initiative and referendum campaigns.

Mark Kimball of MDK Law has represented political campaigns in litigation concerning ballot initiatives at the county and state levels, and obtained a Writ of Mandamus for a political campaign requiring the King County Council and Elections Division to restore the language of a ballot initiative and to place the measure on the ballot as originally written.