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Tacoma News Tribune: Lawmakers Think Local When Drafting Legislation

Breaking from convention, national groups focus their efforts on passing bills at the state and local levels before tackling the federal level. Tacoma News Tribune August 15, 2005 by Kenneth P. Vogel [...] Their strategy of targeting statehouses is something of a twist on the traditional approach taken by national policy groups, which have focused on the U.S. Congress and federal government. It's difficult to gauge the influence of coordinated efforts to pass laws in multiple states. But more organizations are getting into the act, with the Progressive Legislative Action Network, a liberal group, set to have its inaugural meeting Tuesday in Seattle. The state and local levels are where the action is, said network co-chairman Steve Doherty, a former Democratic leader in the Montana Senate. With Republicans controlling the federal government, Doherty said liberals should turn "to the places that are closest to the people and really have the biggest impact on peoples' lives. And that's state and local governments." "States are the laboratories where you can try things out," he added. "And if they work, you can apply them at the national level. And if they don't, you haven't hurt the whole country." [...]