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How Do We Get Our Boards to Participate in Buck-A-Door?

July 10, 2017

If you’re like me, when it comes to budget planning time there is usually one main direction from the Board, “Do not raise assessments but if you have to, keep it as minimal as possible.”  Also, like me, you know this is almost an impossible task when dealing with inflation, rising utilities rates, minimum wage increases, etc.  When we have these essential costs to cram into our already existing tight budgets, how then do we go about slipping in items that are considered by some boards to be incidental or ancillary?  These are the challenges those of us who are passionate about the legislation that impacts our community associations face at budget time.

For me, the answer was visibility and persistence.  Each month at the association board meeting, I have a GM report.  I use it to educate those owners in attendance about certain happenings within the community.   In addition, I would also use it to do a little promotion of CLAC and what types of legislation we were currently wrestling with both nationally but primarily in California.  I would highlight the things that I thought would register with owners and the Board, especially when proposed legislation could have a fiscal impact on our association.

One example of many is when AB 1720 was proposed which would have required associations to open their board meetings to the public.  This opening to the public would also include non-members of the association, attorneys and even the media. CLAC worked diligently to have it pulled or defeated due to the possible negative fiscal impact for likely needing the association’s legal counsel present at each meeting, as well as the potential for the disruption of board discussions and intimidation of volunteer board members.  I would discuss it when it was proposed, continually give updates at each Board meeting and happily announced when it was stopped by the grass roots efforts of CLAC.  Not surprisingly, others did not share my level of excitement, but it kept the importance of CLAC in the forefront even if it did not result in my board agreeing to a Buck-A- Door commitment.

After one of my recent Board meeting CLAC updates, my Board president, being frustrated by the delay in receiving our mail-in ballots for our CC&R restatement asked me, “You’re involved with this legislative group.  Why can’t we just vote online to avoid all the expense of these mail-in ballots and also get rid of these time delays with the mail as we have a lot of seasonal owners all over the country and Canada?”  I explained to him the history of online balloting for CIDs in California and that CLAC had even supported pending legislation to make this a reality but that it was unsuccessful.  Incredulously, he asked why, being an ex-CEO of a large corporation, he could not fathom a restriction on this type of voting.  After some back and forth and another explanation of what this CLAC thingy was all about and another explanation of the Buck-A-Door program, I had the support of our President and the Board to make a contribution.

So, after almost 2 years and many CLAC updates sandwiched in my GM reports, it happened to be an issue that I hadn’t discussed that tipped the scales for our Association to take the plunge.  I guess the moral of the story is that if you are persistent and keep all the positive benefits of CLAC at the forefront, you might just find the right issue for them to identify with and become involved.  Or, maybe if your Board just gets frustrated by some inefficiency of community governance and needs someone to champion their cause at the state legislative level they will become involved.  Either way, the residents within our CIDs are the winners.

Clint Atherton

Clint Atherton_1 (1)

Clint Atherton first began working with common interest developments while employed by an Orange County real estate developer in 2001.  He later moved on to become an onsite community manager in Huntington Beach and served on the CAI Orange County Chapter’s Program Committee and Legislative Support Committee.  In addition, he was named by the Orange County Chapter as Large Scale Manager of the Year in 2012.  Mr. Atherton is currently the onsite manager of Outdoor Resort Palm Springs and serves on the CAI Coachella Valley Chapter’s Legislative Support Committee as well as being the chapter’s liaison to CLAC.

You are welcome to reprint this article in your chapter publication and/or newsletter at your discretion.  We do ask, however, that if you plan to make changes to it, including the title or subtitle, you contact prchair@caiclac.com so that we may obtain approval from the author and CLAC’s PR Committee, in accordance with CLAC’s Reprint Policy.

The Future of Fair Housing in Community Associations

June 29, 2017

The DFEH Housing Regulations Are Happening Now

 

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) Fair Employment and Housing Council (Council) has been engaged in a historic rulemaking process to draft and promulgate Housing Regulations for the first time. To date, the Council has been working on Housing Regulations on various types of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and disabilities, including assistance animals. Further Regulations will be drafted and proceed through the formal rulemaking process over the next few years on additional areas concerning housing.

These Regulations will have a major impact on all community associations/common interest developments (CA/CIDs) on many fair housing issues, and will provide the statutory framework for the DFEH’s interpretations and investigations concerning complaints filed by residents against CA/CIDs for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

The DFEH is seeking input and comments on the proposed Regulation, and information generally regarding the CA/CID industry perspective on fair housing matters. We encourage you to look at the proposed Regulations on the DFEH Website at www.dfeh.ca.gov/fehcouncil/#rulemaking and to provide your formal input to the Council by email via FEHCouncil@dfeh.ca.gov or via Brian Sperber at brian.sperber@dfeh.ca.gov.

CLAC is also actively participating in the rulemaking process by reviewing and providing comments on the proposed Regulations and attendance at the DFEH Council Meetings. But this is a great opportunity for everyone to share your experiences and concerns with the DFEH Council. They value all information and appreciate learning about CA/CID perspectives.

You can also attend the DFEH Council Meetings and provide public comments at the Meetings which are held in various locations around the State quarterly. The next Meeting will be held on July 17, 2017 at 10 a.m. at the California Public Utilities Commission, 505 Van Ness Avenue, Auditorium, San Francisco. You may view the agenda for this Meeting and past Meetings on the DFEH Website at www. DFEH.ca.gov.

JANET L.S. POWERS, ESQ.

Janet L.S. Powers is a senior shareholder and Director of Fiore Racobs & Powers and is a senior supervising attorney in Fiore Racobs & Powers’ Irvine office. Ms. Powers is a member of the prestigious College of Community Association Lawyers of CAI (CCAL). She is the former President of the Orange County Chapter of CAI. She has been actively participating in the process of the DFEH Regulations, and has spoken on several panels concerning the Regulations, and implementation once adopted.   

 

You are welcome to reprint this article in your chapter publication and/or newsletter at your discretion.  We do ask, however, that if you plan to make changes to it, including the title or subtitle, you contact prchair@caiclac.com so that we may obtain approval from the author and CLAC’s PR Committee, in accordance with CLAC’s Reprint Policy.

Another Perspective: Affecting Legislation at CLAC’s 2017 Legislative Day at the Capitol

May 31, 2017

My experience as a first-time attendee – what I learned and how I was able to participate in affecting legislation.

Once a year, homeowners and individuals who represent many facets of the HOA industry travel to Sacramento for Legislative Day at the Capitol.  The goal is to meet with legislators and their staff to discuss the significant impact selected bills being considered by members of the Senate and Assembly will have on all homeowners living in Common Interest Developments in California.  This year’s day at the Capitol provided a very valuable experience to see first-hand how we can affect legislation.  I am actively involved in several CAI chapters including Inland Empire, San Diego and Coachella Valley.  The reason I was in Sacramento is because I serve as Chair of the Coachella Valley Chapter’s CLAC Legislative Support Committee (LSC).

While I had a cursory knowledge of current legislation, I was surprised by what I didn’t know.   Prior to Legislative Day itself, attendees participated in an entire day of education and preparation sessions which armed us with the ability to speak intelligently about the bills when meeting with legislators the next day at the Capitol building.

Day 1 – Education

As Chair of CAI-CV’s CLAC LSC, I had a fair amount of knowledge of the bills introduced this year that would affect homeowners associations.  I knew a little bit about a bill becoming a law and I also had general understanding of the impact case law has in the courts.  Our sessions began with “How a Bill Become a Law.”  This session walked us through how the bills pass from the Assembly to the Senate and back.  This session laid the groundwork so we could understand how exactly our lobbying efforts fit into the entire process.  Another notable session was learning about specific case law and how this influences future CID court cases and legislation.  We wrapped up the full-day of sessions with Louie Brown introducing the bills CLAC has been watching and why.  This was a preliminary discussion prior to the instruction we would receive the next day before visiting legislative offices.  The education I received brought clarity about the bills and allowed me to view the overall legislative process. It was a great day and I was prepared and full of anticipation about our trip to the Capitol.

Day 2 – Legislative Day at the Capitol

The big day arrived and began with a bill briefing from outstanding keynote speakers.  It was in this session that we were educated even further on the details of the bills CLAC was supporting and opposing.  Not only did we receive direction from Louis Brown but we heard from various CLAC Executive Board Members.  We received handouts with the pros and cons for each of the bills, written in laymen’s terms.  We were given a very clear understanding of what to expect once at the Capitol and how to handle the discussions with the legislators and their staff.  In addition to the bill briefing, we also heard from industry leaders on the state of our industry.  This was valuable information that we could share in our meetings across the street to the Capitol.  We also enjoyed hearing from Assemblyman Phillip Chen, who authored AB 731, one of the bills CLAC was supporting and received an inspirational story about his life and his journey into becoming a public servant.  As we organized to walk to the Capitol, we were arranged into 14 subgroups based upon where we live in California.  This was done so we would be talking with our own representatives.  Each group had a team leader experienced in meeting with legislators and we were armed with our talking points, hand-outs and summary letter from the CLAC executive team to leave with the legislator and his/her staff.  We found the legislators and their aides to be very receptive of our visits.

I left Sacramento feeling as if I personally had assisted in a great team effort to influence legislation.  I learned that the laws enacted by our legislators have an incredible financial impact on homeowners.  To know that we could play a role in educating legislators and impacting their decisions was incredibly rewarding.  I cannot say enough about the tireless effort on the part of CLAC, both through its staff, advocate and executive team to prepare all of the attendees for this experience.  Without a doubt, I will be attending next year and will be sure to let every board member, homeowner, and CID professional know why they should also participate in this highly-impactful effort.

Sue Anderson, Adams Stirling PLC

Sue Anderson is the Regional Director of Business Development at the law firm Adams Stirling PLC. Adams Stirling is dedicated solely to the community association industry. You can reach Sue at (310) 945-0280 or sue@AdamsStirling.com.

Advocating at CLAC’s Legislative Day at the Capitol

May 12, 2017

There I was at the California capitol building in Sacramento advocating on behalf of CAI and representing homeowners associations to Assembly Member’s staff!

The capitol building is both a museum and hub of energetic legislative activity for California, one of the largest economies in the world.

It is surrounded by a park with an urban forest of trees from around the planet and includes a beautiful rose garden worthy of a visit.

After a day of preparation and introduction to the CAI California Legislative Action Committee advocate and delegates we were ready to enter the halls of the impressive home of the Senate and Assembly. Talking points for each bill sponsored or opposed had been detailed, and documentation of the CAI positions were in hand to make available to the staff after each meeting.

We were divided into thirteen groups consisting of attorneys, delegates and community association volunteer leaders to execute a series of thirty-four meetings with Senate and Assembly staff.

While standing in line to enter the capitol building our enthusiasm grew as we anticipated the opportunity to have an impact on the legislation. There were hundreds of constituents in line all on the same mission for their special cause.

We entered to find the halls of the capitol were buzzing like a beehive. People hurried to engagements and meetings, discourse in progress all along the way. There were large groups of constituents spread throughout the corridors all hurriedly making appointments in support of their cause.

My group met with staff from two Assembly Members. We made all the points in support of or opposed to the CAI priority bills. I took the opportunity to introduce myself as a homeowner, elected Board of Director member, and HOA President. I relayed my actual experience with regards to funding and executing exterior restoration projects and conducting elections as it applied to opposition of SB 721 (decks and balconies: Inspections) and support for AB 1426 (Uncontested Elections).

I am proud to have participated in the legislative process on behalf of CAI and look forward to continuing my legislative support action.

Patrick Morrisey
Patrick Morrisey with the San Diego Chapter was selected among many deserving applicants to receive the Duncan McPherson Scholarship. Mr. Morrisey has served as the board President of Yacht Club Condominiums HOA for eight years and also serves on the San Diego Legislative Support Committee.

A Step-by-Step Approach to Amending and Restating Governing Documents

April 20, 2017

It seems as though the laws change as frequently as the tides. Some years see more legal changes than others – changes that greatly affect the way boards manage the association’s affairs. The laws governing community associations have experienced so much change within the past three to four years alone that it may make your community’s governing documents unreliable, especially as they relate to homeowner rights and the functions of the board, officers, and management. It only makes sense to have governing documents that are updated and reflect modern law. Moreover, relying on outdated, antiquated governing documents may expose associations, board members and even management to liability.

Step #1: Evaluate the Existing Governing Documents

The first step in amending or restating governing documents, whether the CC&Rs or Bylaws, is to review and evaluate the documents to determine whether any provisions are inconsistent with laws. To the extent there is any conflict or inconsistency between the law and the CC&Rs, the law will prevail. To the extent there is any conflict or inconsistency between the CC&Rs and Bylaws, the CC&Rs will prevail. This became California law on January 1, 2014 when Civil Code Section 4205 was adopted to establish a hierarchy amongst governing documents. Reliance on a provision of the CC&Rs or Bylaws that is inconsistent with the law exposes the association to liability.

Governing documents should also be evaluated for clarity and to ensure same meet the needs of the community. The most effective governing documents are those written in simple English. Let’s face it, what good are the governing documents if no one can understand them? One useful tool for clarifying maintenance responsibilities, a typical source of confusion, frustration and even dispute between associations and its members, is a maintenance responsibility matrix or checklist. The purpose of a responsibility matrix or checklist is to clearly set forth components within the community and allocate which party, the association or a homeowner, is responsible for maintaining same. Clear governing documents may help reduce future, unbudgeted expenses (i.e., attorney’s fees for legal opinions and even lawsuits).

Effective January 1, 2017, Civil Code Section 4775 now provides that associations are responsible for maintaining, repairing, and replacing the common areas and repairing and replacing the exclusive use common areas while the owners of each unit are responsible for maintaining, repairing, and replacing their units and merely maintaining the exclusive use common areas, unless the community’s CC&Rs provide otherwise. This recent change in the law may affect your community’s obligations pertaining to exclusive use common areas.

Reviewing your community’s governing documents with legal counsel is strongly recommended to ensure that the new Civil Code language does not change how your association assigns and budgets for maintenance duties. As many community’s governing documents do not clearly establish responsibilities for the repair and replacement of exclusive use common areas, associations may now be responsible for them, which could significantly impact your community’s budget.

Step #2: Understand Approval Requirements

In order to amend or restate CC&Rs, they must be approved by the percentage of members required by the CC&Rs and “any other person whose approval is required” by the CC&Rs. (Civil Code §4270.) In addition to a formal vote of the owners by secret ballot, many CC&Rs may also require approval of lenders, the city or county, or some other governmental entity. Generally, the method of obtaining lender or government approval is set forth in the governing documents. Otherwise, lender voting protocols are simpler than member voting: secret ballot procedures are typically not required, and lenders who do not respond within thirty days can typically be deemed to consent, provided the lender has been notified by certified mail (return receipt requested). (Fourth La Costa Condominium Owners Ass’n v. Seith, 159 Cal. App. 4th 563 (2008).) Most lenders simply do not concern themselves with the content of CC&Rs, so long as the CC&Rs do not affect their lien priority (which is provided by California law anyway).

Step #3: Be Proactive: Educate Members and Combat Voter Apathy

From the first distribution of documents to the owners for their review, until the ultimate meeting to tabulate the votes, the board may consider encouraging owners to vote in favor of an amendment or restatement by including reminders in newsletters, flyers, mailings or other forms of association media. That said, be aware that the law treats amendment votes like any other election, and issues like “campaign statements,” equal access to association media for opposing positions, and similar rights apply. (Wittenberg v. Beachwalk Homeowners Ass’n, 217 Cal.App.4th 654 (2013).) So, if the Board encourages a “yes” vote, rather than simply submitting the documents without particular encouragement, the board must be prepared to extend owners equal access to mailings and the like, even if they decide to campaign against the proposed documents.

If the board, from past experience, anticipates that voter apathy will be a problem, some boards find it beneficial to offer incentives during the voting campaign to encourage owners to submit ballots. For example, many boards have offered raffle tickets to those who return ballots, and after the meeting to tabulate the votes conduct a drawing for door prizes, such as gift cards. Tickets and prizes can be donated by local business establishments. (Of course, the raffle cannot be tied to “yes” votes – only to submitting ballots.) Another tool, if the board expects that quorum will be very hard to meet, is to include a “quorum only” option on the secret ballot, which can help obtain ballots from undecided voters. This will not help to pass the documents immediately, because it naturally dilutes the “yes” votes, but this at least allows you to count the votes to determine whether the project is generally approved by members or if additional revision or meetings are needed.

Perhaps the most useful tool is a “town hall meeting” of the members, where members have the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns regarding the proposed amendments to the governing documents. Best practice is to schedule a town hall meeting at least thirty days after the members have been provided with the text of the amendments to ensure they have ample opportunity to review and formulate questions prior to the meeting. The board should also consider having legal counsel attend the meeting to explain the amendment process, the purpose of the amendment and to answer any questions.

Our experience has shown that the more educated members are about an amendment or restatement, and its purpose, the more likely they are to support it. The board members, as the elected representatives for the community, are in the best position to know what approach may resonate best with the membership.

Step #4: Don’t Give Up!

Recall that elections to amend governing documents must be held by secret ballot in accordance with the procedures set forth in Civil Code Sections 5100 et seq. The board may, in its discretion, extend the deadline to return secret ballots and reschedule the meeting to open secret ballots, count and tabulate the votes, provided the secret ballot reserves this right. The secret ballot itself should include language reserving the board’s right to extend the deadline, such as: “Any secret ballot not received on or before these deadlines cannot be counted, however, the board reserves the right to extend the deadline for return of secret ballots.” If quorum is not met, and the board determines to extend the deadline, timely notice should be provided to the membership.

The board should listen to the member’s concerns and evaluate the likelihood of a successful vote if the member’s requested (feasible) changes are made. If the vote fails, the board may decide to make viable changes based on member comments or concerns and attempt a second vote.

Should the vote(s) fail, pursuant to California Civil Code Section 4275, the Association may petition the superior court of the county in which the common interest development is located for an order reducing the percentage of the affirmative votes necessary for such an amendment, provided, among other things, more than fifty percent (50%) of the members voted in favor of the proposed amendment or restatement and the existing CC&Rs require approval by a supermajority of members. Before the Court may grant the petition, the association must also demonstrate, among other things:

(1) Balloting was conducted in accordance with the governing documents and applicable law; and

(2) A reasonably diligent effort was made to permit all eligible members to vote. The petition must include copies of any notice and solicitation materials utilized in the solicitation of member approvals.

At the end of the day, governing documents that clearly and effectively set forth the rights, duties and responsibilities of the association and its members, address the community’s unique and specific needs, and are consistent with the law will surely serve as a necessary vehicle to lead the association down the road to success. Comprehensive and clear governing documents are critical to the successful operation of a community association. Take the first step down the road to success today!
Brittany A. Ketchum

Brittany A. Ketchum is an associate attorney with Beaumont Gitlin Tashjian, where she counsels the firm’s clients on all areas of community association law. Ms. Ketchum works closely with managers and board members to evaluate risk to the association at all steps with the objective of avoiding and reducing liability, including internal conflict and liability claims.

Governor Declares an End to the Drought, For Most

April 12, 2017

Today Governor Brown signed an executive order declaring that effective immediately the “Drought State of Emergency” is terminated in all of California counties, except Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Tuolumne. The executive order also had the effect of rescinding a previous emergency proclamation and four executive orders regarding the drought. And, the newest executive order affirmed one previous executive order regarding the drought. So what does it all mean?

Some of the additions to the Civil Code over the last few years were contingent on a declaration of a state of emergency due to drought. For example, the law that provided that an association could not fine an owner for reducing or eliminating the watering of vegetation or lawn was written to be effective only during a declaration of a state of emergency due to drought. Likewise, the law that stated that the governing documents could not require pressure washing of the exterior of a home was also dependent on a declaration of a state of emergency due to drought. These laws are no longer in effect (except in counties excluded from the Governor’s executive order).
Keep in mind that the law provides that when water-efficient landscaping measures have been installed in response to a declaration of a state of emergency, the owner shall not be required to reverse or remove the water-efficient landscaping measures upon the conclusion of the state of emergency.

Certain activities are still prohibited. These include:

  • Hosing of hardscape, including driveways and sidewalks.
  • Washing vehicles with a hose that is not equipped with a shut-off nozzle.
  • Using non-circulated water in a fountain, or similar decorative water feature.
  • Causing water run-off from watering lawns within 48 hours of measurable precipitation.
  • Irrigating ornamental turf on public street medians.

View the executive order here.

Christopher J. Bonkowski

Christopher J. Bonkowski has significant experience in the areas of general civil litigation including property law, casualty litigation, business/commercial litigation, and products liability law. He now focuses his practice primarily in the areas of real estate, corporate law and the comprehensive representation of community associations throughout California.

Mr. Bonkowski has published several articles on various topics concerning common interest subdivisions.

Mr. Bonkowski is licensed to practice in the State of California as well as in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. He is a member of the Orange County Bar Association and successfully completed the LACBA Trial Advocacy Program.

Legislative Day at the Capitol: Sunday

March 24, 2017

CAI-CLAC has prepared a great first day for attendees of our legislative trip. We’re bringing you insider’s knowledge on how Sacramento works and how we lobby for the benefit of community associations. Also covered on Sunday is an overview of short-term rentals, and what boards, managers, and residents should know about this ongoing issue. Then we take a look at the Case Laws that have shaped our industry.

Finally, what are the hot bills of 2017-18? Our advocate, Louie A. Brown gives us the rundown on what we’re focused on this legislative session, and which bills will help or hurt our community associations.

11:00 a.m. – Noon – Welcome!/How a Bill Becomes a Law
Amy K. Tinnetti, Esq. with Hughs Gill Cochrane Tinetti, P.C. and Laurie Poole, Esq with Peters and Freedman, LLP

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch Roundtable
Boxed Lunches will be provided with roundtable-style introductions of Education Session attendees.

1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. – Short-Term Rentals – The Arguments for Them, Against Them and Unintended Consequences of Rental Restrictions
Natalie Stewart with FHA Review

  • Does a City or other governmental body have the authority to restrict an HOA’s right to rent on a transient basis?  Who supersedes who? 
  • Can the Coastal Commission dictate the rights of your owners? 
  • Is the Board obligated to meet FHA or VA criteria to help owners with financing options?
  • What restrictions can we use with the least amount of consequences to our owners?

2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. – AB’s & SB’s: What About CL’s? Case Laws That Have Shaped the Industry
Jeremy S. Wilson with Associa PCM

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Hot Bills
Louie Brown, CAI-CLAC Advocate

 

About our speakers:
Amy Tinetti joined Hughs Gill Cochrane Tinetti, P.C. in 2007. In 2017, Ms. Tinetti became a shareholder at which time the name of the firm changed to Hughes Gill Cochrane Tinetti, P.C.  She has been representing homeowners associations since 2004 in all aspects of their corporate operations, including governing document analysis, interpretation, revision and enforcement, elections, real property and title issues, planning and collection of large special assessments, analyzing and drafting agreements with vendors, and member disputes and litigation.

 

 

Laurie S. Poole, Esq. has been a community association law attorney with Peters & Freedman, L.L.P. since 1993. Laurie is a Fellow of CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL). Experienced in all aspects of community association representation, Laurie’s practice emphasizes interpretation and enforcement of governing documents, governing document amendments, restatements and petitions brought under California Civil Code Section 4275. She has published numerous articles concerning legal issues for community associations and currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for CAI-San Diego and is on CCAL’s Amicus Review Committee.

 

 

Natalie Stewart is the President of FHA Review by a|v|s, which is a division of Association Vendor Solutions. She has been completing FHA Approval packages since the initiation of the new approval procedure.  Natalie has actively participated in several CAI chapters as committee member and chair of several committees in the past.  She was also nominated as Speaker of the Year for the Orange County chapter in 2009.

 

 

Jeremy Wilson serves as Regional Vice President of Associa-PCM. His expertise focuses on the operational aspects of the community association and education of community leaders as well as managers. Development of preventative maintenance programs, conducting operational audits, and redefining staffing models are a few of his many areas of responsibilities within Associa-PCM. He currently serves as the President for the Community Association Institute’s (CAI) Greater Inland Empire Chapter board of directors, and is a member of CAI national.

 

 

Louie A. Brown Jr. is a partner with Kahn, Soares & Conway, LLP. He manages the firm’s Government Relations Team representing clients before the California State Legislature and various state administrative agencies. Louie specializes in providing clients with expert advice in maneuvering through California’s complex legislative and administrative process. He testifies regularly in the Capitol before many legislative committees on behalf of clients and has written numerous laws and played key roles in many of the Legislature’s major accomplishments and budget negotiations over the last decade.