What We Do
In the course of your practice, you no doubt remark from time to time that a particular law is not as clear as it could be or that it does not completely address your client’s needs. But, do you stop long enough to think about why the law is as it is? Do you ever find yourself thinking, “If only there were a statute that said . . . ?" Do you ever wonder if there is anything you can do to make the law work better for your clients? Well, your search for the answers to these questions begins at the North Carolina Bar Association’s Office of Governmental Affairs as it provides several services that can help you with your legislative questions and needs.
The North Carolina Bar Association’s Office of Governmental Affairs (OGA) performs two equally important functions of the Association: (1) ADVOCATE and (2) INFORMATION PROVIDER.
1. As an ADVOCATE, the Office of Governmental Affairs presents to any official body or entity, in the most effective manner possible, all positions adopted by the North Carolina Bar Association on legislative or administrative matters. To this end, the Director of Governmental Affairs has primary responsibility for organizing and directing the lobbying effort of the Association.
The OGA lobbies for the passage of all legislative and administrative proposals or positions adopted by the Association’s Board of Governors. These legislative or administrative proposals originate with Association sections and committees and, if adopted by the Board, become part of the Association’s Legislative Agenda. The procedural rules governing the adoption of positions by the Association are set out in the NCBA Legislative Policy and Procedures.
The Association also endorses legislation sponsored by others or opposes legislation which a section or committee, with the approval of the Board of Governors, believes is not in the best interest of the public, the bench or the bar. Legislation that has been introduced by others but receives the endorsement of the Association traditionally has been legislation designed to improve the administration of justice in North Carolina. The procedural rules for taking a position in favor of or in opposition to legislation proposed by others also appear in the NCBA Legislative Policy and Procedures.
2. As an INFORMATION PROVIDER, the OGA provides information to members and legislators about pending legislation that may be of interest to an Association section or committee or of concern to the public, the bench or the bar as a whole. The OGA carefully reviews each bill introduced to the General Assembly. Then, along with the attorneys practicing in the areas of law the bills address, bills are identified that may be of interest to practicing attorneys. Bills of interest are then followed closely throughout the legislative session.
The OGA provides information to members about pending legislation through an in-house Bill Tracking Chart that is designed to keep Association sections and committees informed on a regular and timely basis about legislation that may be of interest to, or have some effect on, the practice of the members of those sections or committees. At the end of each legislative session, the OGA publishes the Legislative Bulletin, which summarizes all bills tracked and ratified by the General Assembly during the legislative session. This allows members to receive timely notice of significant changes in the laws of North Carolina.
To further provide information to Association members, the OGA publishes a newsletter, Governmental Affairs Update, periodically throughout the legislative session to inform members about the status of the Association’s Legislative Agenda and about other legislative developments that may be of interest.
The OGA also endeavors to be a source of accurate information and able assistance to legislators in all matters pertaining to legislation in which the courts or the legal profession have an interest. This includes making available to legislative committees different points of view on matters pending before those committees, even if the Association has not taken a position on the issue.