Over the years, the work of NATA in the legislature has had a significant impact on the rights of our clients. Despite the importance of NATA’s legislative efforts, what we are working on each year and how our tasks are accomplished are often not well understood.
Each year the legislature considers proposed legislation from a countless number of special interests. Many of these special interests seek immunities, caps on damages, limitations on liability for negligent conduct, or limitations on the workers’ compensation benefits available to our clients. NATA stands alone in opposition to those who would use the legislative process to change the tort system. The task is not an easy one.
Our legislative efforts are directed by a Legislative Committee. A big thank you to Dan Thayer who chaired the Legislative Committee this year. An even bigger thanks to all the members who have testified and even more importantly had their clients testify in response to proposed legislation. There is nothing more compelling than to have a client give a legislative committee a real-life example of how proposed legislation will affect them. The Legislative Committee meets every Friday afternoon when the legislature is in session. This group of committed volunteers meets to track the progress of the legislation introduced at NATA’s request, as well as to review and track the progress of bills introduced at the request of others that will impact the rights of our clients.
The Legislative Committee is also where members’ ideas turn into proposed legislation. Before the legislative session begins, the Legislative Committee meets and reviews suggestions from members to determine which bills should be advanced on NATA’s behalf. Those suggestions are then crafted into proposed legislation. NATA welcomes members’ suggestions for legislation. If you have a suggestion you would like the committee to consider, please complete the NATA Legislative Proposal Submission Form available on the website.
NATA’s legislative efforts are professionally guided by our lobbyists. Our lobbyists are more than just advocates for our positions before the legislature. They offer valuable insight into elections, expenditures of PAC resources and strategies for moving bills through the unicameral. Over the years, NATA has identified and successfully opposed countless bills which would have limited liability and provided outright immunity for a wide variety of activities. NATA has also been successful in negotiating several bills through the legislature and into law.
The importance of NATA’s legislative efforts has only grown with the advent of term limits. Every legislative election becomes critical as term limits reshuffle the men and women who fill the roles of our state’s law makers.
NATA’s legislative efforts require two things. First is the time and commitment of members willing to serve. The legislative committee is always looking for dedicated members to serve on the committee. The only requirement for this committee is the willingness to serve and a commitment to the cause. The second ingredient to our legislative effort is money. Contributions to NATA PAC are critical to our continued success in the legislature. We all benefit from the legislative activities of NATA. If you are not yet contributing to the PAC, please consider a contribution.
Thank you to John Carroll and all of the speakers at the “Medicine for Lawyers” seminar in February. The seminar was very informative and may be among the best seminars NATA has put on in recent years. Please plan to attend NATA’s upcoming “Damages” seminar on April 27, 2018 at the Cornhusker Marriott in Lincoln.
The legislative efforts of NATA provide many opportunities for those who are interested in becoming more involved in the association. I challenge all members to do more and get involved. Our organization is only as strong as our members.