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Tahoe County waiting for legislation

Jenifer Ragland

A lobbyist for the Tahoe Citizens Committee asked her clients on Thursday to be patient with the slow and arduous legislative process and advised them to do all they can to show legislators their support for Tahoe County.

Morgan Baumgartner, attorney with Lionel Sawyer & Collins – the TCCs lobbying firm – said personal letters, postcards, e-mail and phone calls from individual Lake Tahoe residents will be effective in swaying lawmakers.

“We are getting a very positive reception from legislators, they do realize the problems you all have up here, and the issues that need to be addressed,” she told about 50 TCC members present.

She said the process in the 1997 session is moving slower than usual because of some technical problems in the department responsible for drafting bills. Out of more than 1,500 requests, only about 600 have been drafted, she said, which is why the Tahoe County bill will probably not be introduced this week, as was originally expected.

TCC members asked questions about Gov. Bob Miller’s attitude toward the Tahoe County effort, how difficult it will be to fight Douglas County’s lobbyist Joe Guild, and which house the bill will go to first.

Baumgartner said while the governor has not taken an official position on the issue he is very open minded, that the bill could start in either house, and that Guild, a talented lobbyist, will be “a force to be reckoned with.”

Baumgartner also stressed the importance of making sure the movement is a “grassroots” one, thus discouraging sending form letters to legislators.

Letters should be brief, polite, addressing the legislator by name, and be written on personal stationery, she said.

However, she said the most important aspect of the movement will be packing the

Other TCC news discussed at the meeting included:

— Membership of the committee is now 1,013 – 642 on the South Shore and 371 on the North Shore.

— The balance for current TCC funding is $29,876, with expenditures primarily on lobbyists and staff.

— The group’s first major fund-raiser, titled “Tahoe Citizens Committee Spring Fling,” will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, April 13 at Edgewood Golf Course. Nearly all of the 300 tickets have been sold, raising about $9,000 for the TCC’s effort. Money raised up to $100,000 will be matched by the Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance.


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