Associated Industries of Missouri has represented businesses in Missouri’s capital since 1919, when they first started by writing worker’s compensation laws. They advocate for “favorable business climate for business, manufacturing and industry by empowering members through communications, education and advocacy before the legislature, [and] administrative agencies and the public.”
Ray McCarty has been the President and CEO of AIM for more than 13 years, and is proud to note that they are the state’s oldest trade association. He and his team are responsible for being the voice of business in the Missouri capitol during the legislative session, which goes from January to May each year.
The Problem: Keeping track of every legislator’s position on key business legislation
Being the voice of Missouri’s business community is a demanding endeavor during the legislative session. Ray and his team are busy.
“We do all-round lobbying. So, we start with ideas, we get them drafted, we find sponsors for those ideas, we testify in hearings, we go and see legislators on a regular basis with our position on various bills.”
There are hundreds of bills filed every year that have the potential to affect Missouri business, and AIM needs to be on top of all of them.
Prior to adopting FastDemocracy, McCarty would have to manually track each legislator’s stance on every bill that AIM had their eye on, a process that could take days of work during the legislative session. Being able to determine which bills were important to AIM and how each legislator voted on those bills helps Ray determine which legislators to target with their lobbying and outreach. But keeping track of 197 legislators — the membership of both the House and the Senate — and hundreds of bills is time-consuming.
“FastDemocracy was a part of me being able to analyze the votes of all those legislators, which is extremely helpful information when we're trying to decide who's really been with us and who hasn't.”
The Fix: FastDemocracy’s Vote Scorecard
FastDemocracy’s services help users not only track the progress of bills, but legislators as well. The Vote Scorecard lets any user look up a bill and see how each legislator has voted on it. By adding multiple bills to a scorecard, FastDemocracy helps users track how often a legislator votes for or against their position.
“FastDemocracy was a part of me being able to analyze the votes of all those legislators, which is extremely helpful information when we're trying to decide who's really been with us and who hasn't,” McCarty explained.
“As the user, I can go in and mark the bills that we want to put into a vote analysis and I can say whether or not we support the bill, and then it will give me the score of how the legislators voted on that without having me to take the time to do that,” McCarty said. “Honestly, that was the biggest time saver that will always make me use [FastDemocracy].” FastDemocracy has helped Associated Industries of Missouri stay up-to-date with bills and to perform efficient tracking so that they can better represent the business community in Missouri’s capitol.
Note: This screenshot was taken by the FastDemocracy team, and does not necessarily reflect any scorecard created by Associated Industries of Missouri.
“Honestly, that was the biggest time saver that will always make me use [FastDemocracy].”
Completing Long-term Goals
SBs 153 & 97, better known as the “Wayfair” bill, was legislation that closed the loophole of sales tax in the state of Missouri. Shoppers of brick-and-mortar stores and goods from e-commerce companies located in Missouri would have to pay sales tax on their purchases, but out of state e-commerce would not be taxed.
The Wayfair bill sought to close that loophole by charging sales tax for goods purchased out of state. For years, multiple Wayfair bills floated around both houses, but would eventually die due to an influx of unrelated amendments being added to the legislation that motivated politicians to vote “no.”
“I use your service to help me watch various bills, usually when I’m trying to find other similar legislation or other amendments that have been proposed on other bills,'' McCarty said. While Associated Industries of Missouri is often present when a lot of the bills are on the floor, FastDemocracy helps them to keep up to date on the many changes similar to the ones that had killed the Wayfair bill in the past. The Wayfair bill passed this year and was signed by the Governor Mike Parson.