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Memo Regarding Section Lobbying

September 22, 1995
TO: Section Chairs
FROM: Barbara Armstrong, Assistant Director
RE: Clarification regarding responses/comments as a Section to legislation and public issues

At the request of John Hoffer, Chair, Tax Section, and Jim Stanley, Chair, Real Estate Section, the Board discussed the issue of Sections" commenting and/or responding to legislation and public issues.

The issue required clarification because Article X, Section 1 of the bylaws of the Association states, "No member of the Association may lobby or otherwise attempt to influence legislative or administrative action in the name of the Association, except with the consent of the Board of Governors."

However, as explained by Mr. Hoffer and Mr. Stanley, there are many times when it is appropriate for a particular section of the Alaska Bar Association to respond to proposed legislation, and that on many occasions, the sections have been solicited for their opinion by legislative or administrative offices. While individual section members have long exercised their right to respond as an "individual," there has also been the feeling that a response by a group of practitioners in a particular practice area would be both appropriate and beneficial in many instances. There is definitely more weight given to comments by a section as a whole than by individual attorneys.

The Board issued the following clarification:
Sections may respond as an entity to particular legislation or issues provided the following language is used:
At the (date) meeting of the (name) Section, (number) members were present. Of those present, (number) agreed on the following comments/recommendations:

These comments do not reflect the official position of the Alaska Bar Association.

Please call Deborah O'Regan, Executive Director, or Steve Van Goor, Bar Counsel, if you have any questions concerning this issue. We hope this clarification will assist the sections in providing guidance and information to various public agencies.

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