Public Sector Pools, Lobbying and Legislative Action: Stories of Engagement

June 18, 2021 Dorothy Gjerdrum, Michelle Carter
Public Sector Pools, Lobbying and Legislative Action: Stories of Engagement

Four case studies about the variety of ways that pools engage in legislative activity

When cities, counties, special districts and K-12 schools lost insurance coverage in the 1980s, they grouped together to create public sector pools for the joint purchase of insurance and related risk management services. That required legislative changes, state by state, to enable pooling and establish the organizational and governance structures necessary for collective purchasing.

The authorization to form a pool (by any name—joint insurance funds (JIFs), cooperatives, insurance trusts, etc.) comes from state law. In many states, that legislation was initiated by an association—the league of cities or the association of counties; school boards; or special district groups like transit, utilities or emergency services. In addition to providing the host structure for the pools, these associations often represent their constituencies on a broad range of issues at the state legislature.

For pools that are connected to associations, the opportunity to track and influence legislation is built into the services of the parent organization. But how does it work for pools that function independently? Or in states where pools compete with each other? How and when is it appropriate for public entity pools to engage in the legislative process

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