The Employee Activism Revolution

Here’s what you need to know…

As the recent public debate over Georgia’s new voting law makes clear, American CEOs and corporations have been increasingly willing to make their voices heard on hot button social and political issues. While corporate activism is not a new phenomenon, the forces driving that activism have shifted to inside many firms, with employees demanding their bosses speak out and take actions, even if it hurts the bottom line.

With corporate giants such as Delta and Coca Cola issuing public statements disavowing Georgia’s new voting laws and Major League Baseball relocating this year’s All-Star Game from Atlanta, it is worth considering how we got here and what it means for public affairs professionals advising companies and industries. Especially in this hyperpolarized political environment, it is important for CEOs and companies to remember that while they may believe they are signaling the right thing, they very well may be widening the divide instead of closing it. Here’s what you need to know to navigate these debates effectively.

We’ve been in a new age of activism for a while. Companies are just catching up.

We’ve previously written about how activism “has become increasingly professionalized, digitized, and globalized.” While these efforts are not new — see the Keystone XL pipeline opponents who ringed The White House perimeter in 2011 — they increased significantly during the Trump years, with heightened expectations that companies and their leaders would weigh in on issues of the day. Companies today are meeting these expectations more than in the past. As the workforce continues to grow younger, companies must align their actions with a set of shared values and clear purpose if they hope to attract top talent. According to one survey, over three quarters of millennials strongly consider “a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work.” This rise in employee scrutiny is pushing employers to take stances on political issues they once avoided, creating new political and reputational risks even as they are intended to do societal good. Employee expectations have joined media and advocacy group pressures in thrusting companies into the political spotlight on issues ranging from social justice to the environment and, most recently, voting rights in Georgia. Not surprisingly, public affairs professionals are feeling the pressure, seeing an increase in senior executives’ interest in political and policy issues farther afield from core business needs than ever before.

CEOs are the most trusted leaders in public life. That comes with expectations.

Private businesses have become the most trusted institutions in the United States as Americans have become increasingly divided by politics. That means businesses and their CEOs can play a pivotal role in bridging this partisan divide and rebuilding the public’s trust in societal institutions. A recent study by Edelman found that 54 percent of Americans trust business more than politicians and the media. 86 percent of the respondents expect CEOs to speak out on societal challenges and 68 percent of respondents believe “CEOs should step in when government does not fix societal problems.” In fact, a Morning Consult survey found that despite growing concerns over censorship in the digital public square, Americans even trust big tech companies, such as Amazon and Google, to “do what is right” more than they trust government officials, the news media, and police officers and teachers.

However, CEOs must be aware of the risk associated with their activism. In 2018, we warned that “taking a stand inherently attracts and alienates customers depending on their view of that stance, meaning that companies need to fully understand their customers and audience before starting any corporate advocacy.” The NBA learned this reality first hand last year as it saw its television ratings plummet amidst a league wide social justice movement that weaved politics with the sport. Commissioner Adam Silver said this year “there will be somewhat of a return to normalcy,” in hopes of re-attracting fans who very well may agree with the messaging but want to keep politics out of sports. More recently, in response to Delta’s statements regarding Georgia’s new voting bill, Republicans in the Georgia House of Representatives voted to strip the airline of a tax break worth tens of millions of dollars, while Congressional Republicans have called to revoke Major League Baseball’s antitrust protections over MLB’s actions on the same issue. Whether either of these actions come to fruition, it signals to companies that weighing in on issues that divide Americans might come with a cost to the company.

Employees are engaging in their own advocacy — in and out of the office.

A recent survey found that nearly 40% of employees consider themselves “social activists” who are willing to speak out against their employers on controversial political and societal issues, even if these issues are totally unrelated from their employer’s business or industry. In January, we got a glimpse of how this willingness may evolve. Employees at Google successfully formed a minority union aimed at giving “structure and longevity to activism at Google.” This union intends to be more focused on wielding political influence than traditional union work regarding conditions of employment. The union formalizes employee pressures that have been mounting for some time. In 2018, for example, thousands of Google employees banded together in opposition to a drone-related contract the tech giant had with the Pentagon. Under this pressure, Google allowed the contract to expire the following year. Similarly, in early 2019, hundreds of Microsoft employees signed an open letter protesting the company’s $500 million contract to supply the U.S. military with augmented reality headsets.

Internal employee activism is not unique to the tech industry. In 2019, hundreds of Wayfair employees staged a walkout in opposition to the company’s decision to sell furniture to a migrant detention center and later that year, Nike employees walked out of the company’s headquarters demanding the company offer more support to female employees and athletes. When Georgia was considering a “heartbeat” abortion law, then CEO of Disney, Bob Iger, said that the company would have to reconsider future filming in the state, saying, “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes.” Iger’s sentiment is increasingly shared by corporate executives, with Judith Samuelson, director of the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program, predicting more “companies will begin to embrace employees as an early warning system on risk and reputation.”

CEOs need to weigh all sides before taking a stance

While showcasing purpose can strengthen a brand, companies must tread cautiously. Every action has a reaction, and in today’s highly polarized, highly attuned political environment, engaging without fully understanding the facts and the landscape can cause as much or more of a backlash than not speaking out. To stay ahead of this, public affairs professionals and their organizations must first be prepared for today’s fast moving environment by knowing their vulnerabilities and understanding the context of the issue before weighing in. While this trend of corporate activism does not appear to be slowing down, companies must be mindful that the best way forward is to remain consistent with their values and close to their stakeholders in order to avoid a full-blown public affairs crisis.

Even after Texas thawed, policy discourse remains frozen

Here’s what you need to know…

Last month, as extreme cold swept across the southern United States, more than four million Texans were left with rolling, often extended, power outages. As the state and federal governments continue to assess what led to the grid’s failures, interests on both sides of the debate, the mainstream media, and commentators have dug into their partisan positions and are already pointing blame at the other side.

While there is much to discuss regarding the policy implications of the blackouts and how energy providers can prevent extreme weather-related blackouts from happening again, the response by political figures and the media have made it difficult to discern what went wrong and where attention should be placed.

Last year, we asked, “what if seemingly well-intentioned reporters at reputable organizations run stories misreporting events, stating opinions as facts, or otherwise misrepresenting developments?” Now, even as Texas thaws, our discourse remains frozen and that question should be front of mind for public affairs professionals confronting the new reality of issue debate in this era of polarized and fragmented media. Here’s what you need to know to navigate it successfully…

News Events Have Become Opportunities To Score Points.

News events today can become vehicles for advancing pre-determined agendas by a wide range of stakeholders in debates in which you may not have even realized you were participating. Whether it be activist or advocacy groups, elected officials, think tanks, competitors (either in your industry or a competing one), or another group of stakeholders, when news breaks or a crisis hits, everyone takes to their corner and digs into their side’s arguments to lay blame for what happened.

In Texas, individuals and groups on the right blamed wind power and Texas’ move toward renewables for the blackouts, while those on the left blamed the state’s deregulatory efforts that kept its energy grid separate from the rest of the nation’s. Like many such debates, however, there is enough blame to go around and the reasons behind the blackouts are far more nuanced than wind turbines or deregulation. Yet those messages are often drowned out as the media fuels the fight. For public affairs professionals, knowing who the stakeholders are and what agenda they are driving is key to staying ahead of the conversation and preventing potential reputation and political harm when critical news breaks.

The Lines Between Press, Pundits, And Advocates Have Become Blurred.

Many experts, pundits, and press are also advocates, even if they don’t admit it, while others in the press seem to be “just here for the comments.” Instead of pursuing the truth of what caused the blackouts in Texas, news organizations and networks were quoting experts with preconceived views who offered reasoning that conformed to the media’s desired explanation as to what went wrong, depending on where the media entity lands on the ideological spectrum.

Even generally mainstream press has fallen into this practice. The Associated Press, for example, quoted Mark Jacobson, describing him as a professor at Stanford University, as he claimed the bulk of the blackouts were caused by “natural gas and coal and nuclear” energy. Nowhere did the article mention he is co-founder of the liberal actor Mark Ruffalo-backed Solutions Project, which advocates for 100% clean energy, and that his research on energy issues has been questioned by other notable academics. Meanwhile, in an article questioning whether the Texas blackouts could become a nationwide reality, Fox Business quoted Steve Milloy saying that the events in Texas “debunked the notion that wind is reliable.” While the article identified him as a former Trump EPA transition team member, it did not mention his affiliation with The Heartland Institute, a right-of-center think tank well known to question the science around climate change.

Instead of engaging experts to describe the complex reality as it unfolded, the media focused much of the conversation around enabling these conflicting takes. This narrative and agenda driven media environment is the new reality public affairs professionals who are trying to protect their organizations’ or clients’ political and reputational interests are going to have to navigate moving forward. Understanding the real motivations driving public commentary is crucial to anticipating and responding to it effectively.

The Media Needs A Villain, Even When It’s Not That Simple.

When things do not go as expected, media will demand someone to blame, because news in many cases today has become expose without truth seeking. Instead of substantively digging into the root of what is occurring and explaining it with appropriate knowledge and understanding, the press goes on the hunt for a scapegoat that fits a convenient narrative. Once the media sets a narrative, it can be difficult to correct the record.

The events in Texas provide a case in point. Instead of moderating a sober conversation that relied on facts, the media coverage over the Texas crisis was spent debating what energy source was to blame, while also questioning why state officials and energy providers were so unprepared for the storm. However, what was seldom mentioned were the costs associated with preparing for a once in a century storm and how the consumer would respond to increased energy costs they would incur for risks with a very low probability of happening in their lifetime. In today’s media environment, it is a strategic imperative to be proactive in telling your story and advancing the facts before blame is laid and a media narrative sets in, which is increasingly difficult to do as the media continues to fragment into opposing media bubbles.

Public Affairs Pros Must Stay Ahead Of Competing Agendas.

The public affairs environment today is fraught with tensions corporate public affairs professionals must navigate. In this new age of digital media, political leaders, news outlets, and experts  with pre-determined agendas can take to social media and go “viral” in a matter of moments, despite the validity of their claims. That means it is more crucial than ever for public affairs professionals to be prepared to respond. Understanding the risks, stakeholders, and agendas involved is key to protecting your company’s or industry’s business and policy objectives.

Is there a sure bet in this policy debate?

Here’s what you need to know…

For many Americans, this weekend’s big game is all about the commercials. This year, depending on which state you reside in, you may have noticed more of these ads before the weekend even arrived touting online sports betting apps. That’s not surprising, given the American Gaming Association estimates 23.2 million people will wager approximately $4.3 billion on this year’s Super Bowl matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with 7.6 million people placing bets using an online sportsbook—a 63% increase over last year.

Why the sudden uptick in (legal) sports betting? Since the 2018 Supreme Court decision overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which prohibited sports betting in every state other than Nevada, the sports betting industry has boomed into a market that grossed roughly $1.4 billion in gaming revenue in 2020. With so much revenue at stake, states and localities across the United States are being forced to at least consider the implications of legalizing sports betting and what kind of regulations make the most sense for those communities and their constituents. However, despite the sharp growth in legal sports betting across the country, public affairs professionals and lobbyists who are suiting up to help sportsbooks score face a formidable defense looking to prevent them from reaching the end zone. Here’s what you need to know about the debate that’s taking the field.

The Current Playing Field

In less than two years since the Supreme Court decision that allowed state legislatures to decide whether to permit legal sports betting, twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have made such betting legal. This past election day, voters in three other states – Maryland, South Dakota, and Louisiana – approved ballot measures to legalize sports betting, but residents of those states are still waiting on their state legislatures to set up regulatory measures before those bets can be placed.

While sports betting has become widely adopted across the nation, the regulatory landscape surrounding sports betting varies immensely. Public affairs professionals working with industry leaders must also be aware of the way in which state legislatures permit wagers to be placed. Most states allow a combination of private mobile app based and brick and mortar betting while others only allow betting to take place at designated “retail” locations. One state – Tennessee – authorizes bets to be placed solely on web apps. Another consideration is whether states will open sports betting to the free market or if they will use a limited or single-operator model, such as the one currently being proposed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Not Giving It The Old College Try

Of the twenty-two states that currently license sports betting, fourteen of them have restrictions on placing bets on in-state college athletic events. Now as the Massachusetts legislature continues to mull over whether it will become one of the next states to legalize the booming industry, a group of local colleges and universities are standing in opposition to the current version of the bill, which includes language permitting wagers to be placed on college athletic competitions. The group, led by Harvard University, fears “such legislation will create unnecessary and unacceptable risks to student athletes, their campus peers, and the integrity and culture of colleges and universities in the Commonwealth.” In addition to Massachusetts, several other states are expected to introduce legislation in the next year, while many others have failed to move the ball across the goal line in years past.

No Home Field Advantage

California, Texas, and Florida—home of more than a quarter of the teams playing in the four major professional sports leagues—have yet to legalize sports gambling, creating room for continued growth for an industry that has already boomed over the last two years. After facing immense pressure from the Tribal community in California, however, the states’ legislature withdrew consideration of a bill that would have legalized online and in person sports betting. Tribal leaders took exception to the online component and argued that the legislation would have broken an agreement between the tribes and the state.

Tribal opposition also stalled legislative efforts to legalize sports gambling in Minnesota, Arizona, Connecticut, and Florida. Despite the opposition, each of these states are continuing to push forward in hopes of reaching an agreement. The Arizona House of Representatives is considering an updated compact that will allow tribal casinos to offer both retail and mobile sports betting while also enabling professional sports teams in the state to offer sportsbooks at their stadiums.

Everybody’s Moving To Texas

In Texas, a fight is shaping up between competing out of state interests. While casino operators in neighboring Oklahoma and Louisiana have fought to keep gambling out of the Lone Star state, Bill Pascrell III, a lobbyist with Princeton Public Affairs Group, has said that “something is going to happen in Texas.” Indeed, Las Vegas Sands has seen its Texas lobbying team balloon recently as it continues its ambitious plans to expand into Texas, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office has reportedly reached out to regulators in states such as New Jersey that have successfully implemented sports gambling for advice. Meanwhile, the state legislature is considering a bill supported by the owners of three of the state’s biggest professional sports teams that would issue licenses to the state’s professional sports teams allowing them to sell betting access to sportsbook partners, similar to what is being considered in Arizona.

What comes next?

With an estimated $150 billion illegally wagered on sports in United States, market intelligence company H2 Gambling Capital projects that as legal sports wagering in the US continues to expand, the industry will be worth roughly $2.75 billion in 2023 and has the potential to grow to $81 billion in 2030.  However, just as the great coaches seek a competitive advantage through film study, practice, and innovation, public affairs professionals will need a competitive intelligence advantage to shape the debate over sports betting.

What are you missing?

2020 was a year full of uncertainties and the COVID-19 pandemic forced almost 70 percent of public affairs professionals to dramatically shift the way they do their jobs. That is according to a new survey of over 300 public affairs professionals representing every industry of the global economy conducted by FiscalNote and CQ Roll Call.

Despite all the uncertainties of this past year, the trends impacting public affairs professionals seem all too familiar. The survey found:

  • Teams are staying small, with nearly half of public affairs teams comprising three or fewer people, and nearly 70% comprising six or fewer;
  • Regulatory uncertainty is increasing, with more than 50% of respondents identifying regulatory activity as the biggest shift (besides COVID) impacting their industry;
  • And there is not enough time in the day to cover the expanding volume of issues you need to monitor and understand.

It is this last trend that gets at the crux of the challenges facing public affairs professionals. The four biggest challenges facing respondents to the survey were, “Team size too small” (50%), “Volume of issues you need to monitor” (46%), “lack of budget” (45%), and “not enough time” (41%). So if you feel stretched thin and overwhelmed, at least you know you are not alone. In fact, FiscalNote noted in its report on the survey results, “Over 77 percent of respondents said that the number of public policy issues their organization is tracking has increased [in the past year], with almost 40 percent saying that the number has increased significantly. Contrast that with the earlier responses that teams are staying small, and you’re left with a staggering amount of information that organizations need to discover, monitor, and report on to internal and external stakeholders.”

It is no wonder, then, that the top stressor (59.4%) among the public affairs pros surveyed was “Fear of missing something related to legislation/regulation,” closely followed by “political environment” (58.3%) and “time constraints” (55%). Nearly eight out of ten public affairs professionals believe they sometimes or often miss key updates, and one out of ten is too overwhelmed to even know if they missed something. That means just one out of ten public affairs pros thinks they never miss a thing.

That fear is exactly why we launched Delve five years ago. Since then, effectively leveraging competitive intelligence for public affairs has quickly become a best practice.

Given the small size of many public affairs teams, they may not have the capacity to track and analyze crucial developments – especially when their time is best spent translating that analysis into action to advance the objectives and interests of their organization or clients.

That’s where Delve comes in – our team of rigorously trained analysts leverages innovative techniques and cutting edge technology to ensure we don’t miss a thing that matters to your interests, while distilling those insights into an actionable, easily digestible format. This approach is how our insights change your outcomes.

The Platform Revolution

Here’s what you need to know…

Driven by the emergence of new technology and online connectivity, the world is in the midst of the next economic revolution. As of 2018, 7 of the 10 most valuable companies in the world were a part of the platform economy. This rapid ascent has put private sector entities, primarily in the technology sector, in a position to make societal decisions that were once decided by communities themselves, often through elected representatives. This shift has significant implications for the business community as economic success  is no longer driven by access to and ability to leverage information, but control over the platform through which that information flows.

This new reality was made clear by the swift reaction by various platforms to the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. It began with Twitter’s announcement that President Trump would be permanently banned from its platform, and in the hours and days that followed, major tech companies seemingly acted in unison to de-platform and blacklist the President of the United States and many of his supporters. Beyond the obvious tech platforms, some in the media are calling for a more expansive de-platforming. A Forbes executive warned companies against hiring former Trump spokespeople, and CNN’s Senior Media Reporter, Oliver Darcy, suggested telecommunications service providers be pressured to deny access to media networks whose content does not meet his approval.

As public affairs professionals and industry leaders watch these developments unfold, it has brought into clearer view the political and reputational risks stemming from the emergence of the platform economy. Reaction to the recent de-platforming’s was swift. While many of Trump’s most staunch opponents celebrated the moves, world leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the unprecedented actions “problematic,” and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny slammed the moves as an “unacceptable act of censorship.” From being forced to adjudicate de-platforming demands to the threat of being de-platformed yourself, here’s what you need to know to navigate the challenges ahead.

What is the platform economy and why is it important?

Most of us utilize the platform economy daily for commerce and connection. Companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, and PayPal, all belong to this emerging economic system that utilizes online networks to facilitate digital interactions as a means to sell products, provide services, facilitate payments, and bring about an ever-widening array of connections between users.  These platforms represent a major shift in the way industries and companies conducted business – creating digital space for groups to conduct commerce and build communities of interest.

However, as these platforms continue to grow in size and influence, they have simultaneously assumed a larger role as the arbiters of what is right and wrong. Several years ago, we warned, “the tech industry is increasingly vulnerable to activist pressure and government intervention on a range of issues.” Among those issues, we highlighted the growing divide between the individuals calling for big tech to do more to remove offensive speech and others attacking these attempts as censorship. Since then, the divide has widened, and the pressure has grown even as technology platforms have taken over more areas of our lives and commerce.

The vast troves of user data collected by these tech giants, coupled with the algorithms they deploy allow them to act as the “gatekeepers to the economy” in which they can determine what products and services can be provided to whom. Participants in this new platform economy must also worry that their livelihoods can be taken away from them at any moment if big tech are the ones deciding what is right or wrong. We saw this play out recently with Parler, the “free speech alternative” to Twitter and Facebook, in which Amazon Web Services stopped hosting the app while Google and Apple removed it from their app stores. Regardless of the particulars in Parler’s case, it highlights the power of these platforms to decide who wins and who loses in the platform economy.

What’s at risk for platform companies?

Much of the recent debate has been about Section 230, which protects Internet service providers and tech platforms from being held liable from what their users say online. While Democrats and Republicans agree Section 230 needs reform and President Trump made repealing the rule a rallying cry for his campaign, doing so would likely make platforms more restrictive, as they would no longer be shielded from liability. Regardless of the outcome of this debate, platform companies will face increased public scrutiny and pressure to act on the commerce and conversations that happen on their platforms at the risk of alienating segments of their users. If this alienation leads to reduction in active users, the value of the platforms and their business models could be disrupted.

Platforms that have, even when begrudgingly, inserted themselves as the arbiter of what is and is not deemed acceptable participation in society are already beginning to recognize the peril such a role brings. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, even acknowledged that his decision to ban President Trump could have major ramifications, stating the ban “sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.” In 2017, the Supreme Court ruled in unanimous fashion against a North Carolina law that would have banned convicted sex offenders from using social media. In the ruling, Justice Kagan argued social media has “become a crucially important channel of political communication,” lending credence to the argument that these platforms could face regulation similar to  public utilities that are required to be open and accessible to all.

What’s at stake for those who rely on these platforms?

As we have seen, the emergence of the platform economy has major implications for businesses and private citizens. These platforms have provided an opportunity for businesses to expand and connect in ways never before seen and have given a voice to private citizens that may have previously been unheard. Yet, as these platforms have continued to grow in size and popularity, they can create reputational and political risk for business and individuals who rely on these platforms. Companies that have spent years, or even decades building their reputation can now be destroyed in one viral moment, and if the court of public opinion rules that your brand is not “woke” enough, then you run the risk of being canceled or de-platformed. As the debate surrounding the platform economy continues to unfold, it will be crucial for public affairs professionals to stay ahead of the knowledge curve to best prepare their clients for what comes next.

 

What to expect as the clock approaches midnight

Here’s what you need to know…

These last two months of the Trump Administration have been very different than what the country is accustomed to seeing during a presidential transition period, with serious and weighty issues at hand when it comes to the peaceful transition of power that is a cornerstone of our democracy. While industries and public affairs professionals continue to monitor the developments of this past week, they must also be aware of last-minute regulatory changes being finalized by federal agencies that will have implications long past President Trump’s departure on January 20th.

These so-called “midnight rules” are typical of outgoing administrations, and set the debate for key industry sectors going into the next presidential term, even if they end up being suspended, challenged, or rolled back in what we’ve previously referred to as “the next match of regulatory ping pong.” Across a wide range of sectors, here’s what public affairs professionals  need to know to prepare for these rules:

  • Environmental Issues: The Trump Administration has made a concerted effort over the last four years to roll-back Obama-era regulatory burdens on the energy industry that were aimed at addressing climate change. These efforts have continued during the Administration’s final days, with the Environmental Protection Agency this week finalizing a Scientific Transparency Rule that limits the type of research the agency can use by “giv[ing] greater consideration to studies where the underlying dose-response data are available in a manner sufficient for independent validation.” The EPA also recently codified changes to the Clean Air Act that takes the economic impact of proposed regulations into greater consideration and has declined to increase soot emission regulations, despite pressures from environmentalist organizations.
  • Energy Policy: In a move to capitalize on domestic production of natural gas, the Energy Department finalized a rule that clarifies the department does not need to conduct reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act before approving LNG export facilities. However, not all of the Administration’s last-minute rules are welcome news for the oil and gas industry. Following a court decisionputting the existing Nationwide Permit (NWP) 12 in jeopardy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is set to finalize a rule updating the Nationwide Permit program, splitting out oil and gas infrastructure from other utility infrastructure that previously used NWP 12 for Clean Water Act permitting. According to analysts at ClearView Energy Partners, the decision to split pipelines may make it easier for the Biden Administration to remove oil and natural gas pipelines from the NWP program altogether.
  • Healthcare: As we noted in our last TL;DR, the Trump Administration recently finalized the Most Favored Nations rule in an attempt to lower drug prices. However, a United States District Court has already issued a nationwide injunction on the order that was set to go into effect on January 1st. While the Administration faced a setback on this rule, it is still trying to lock in what it has already done to reform Medicare and the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). In an effort to cement its legacy of cutting regulatory red tape, the Department of Health and Human Services is currently considering a proposed sunset regulation that would set expirations on new and existing HHS regulations. This would require a review of the regulations ten years after they are put in place and ensure they remain properly constructed and have not proven overly burdensome to the economy.
  • Labor And Employment: Independent contractors were thrust into the national spotlight the past two years as California passed Assembly Bill 5 to reshape the gig economy and Californians passed Proposition 22 to exempt many workers from that reshaping. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule clarifying what constitutes a an employee versus an independent contractor, relaxing the Fair Labor Standards Act’s definition if favor of an “economic reality” test that examines two “core factors” to determine what meets the standard of an independent contractor.
  • Financial Services: In another significant ruling, the Department of Labor has made it more difficult for pension managers to consider anything other than financial factors when it comes to choosing investments, an effort aimed at discouraging environmental and social impact considerations that recently became popular among financial institutions in response to public interest in social impact. Meanwhile, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency has been aggressively trying to finalize the Fair Access to Financial Services rule that would block banks with more than $100 billion in assets from “red-lining” politically disfavored industries such as gun manufacturers and oil companies.

The incoming Biden Administration has already vowed to issue a memo on Inauguration day freezing or delaying any midnight regulations the Trump Administration has put forward. Incoming White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki specifically said the Administration will target Labor’s independent contractor rule, stating that “if it takes effect, the rule will make it easier to misclassify employees.” Beyond the power of the pen, President-elect Biden also will now have the ability to utilize the Congressional Review Act (CRA) thanks to his party’s victories in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff elections earlier this week. CRA allows Congress to review and reverse recent (de)regulation efforts, and could leave public affairs professionals and industry leaders scrambling to both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue trying to reduce the uncertainty around which rules will survive. As the current Administration winds down and the new one takes office, the research and monitoring teams at Delve stand by to ensure you have an information advantage.

Bridges, Broadband, and Batteries

Here’s what you need to know…

As the dust settles on the election results, it is clear that regardless of the outcomes in the Georgia Senate runoffs, President-elect Biden will face the most closely divided government in 20 years, with the thinnest margins separating the parties in Congress since President Bush took office in 2000. Similar to the forthcoming 117th Congress, in 2001, the 107th Congress had a 9-seat majority in the House and an evenly divided Senate (until Jim Jeffords switched parties in May of 2001).

At first, this division seems like a uniquely challenging circumstance that will ensure continued gridlock, but history suggests that may not be the case on every issue. Indeed, closely divided government has been the norm over the past four decades, which has seen only four instances of one-party controlled government. Through all of those presidencies – even the vitriolic past four years – major legislation became law when there was cross partisan agreement on a solution to an issue that had an existing coalition of support. We saw this sort of bipartisan compromise for major legislation in 2001with No Child Left Behind, in 2012 with the JOBS Act, and most recently with 2020’s Great American Outdoors Act.

This history suggests Biden will have an opportunity to pass major legislation in his first two years in office, but what issue fits the criteria for success? While Infrastructure Week has become a running joke in Washington, infrastructure investment could provide such an opportunity for major bipartisan legislation. Whether infrastructure spending proves to be Groundhog Day for obstruction or Ground Zero for compromise depends on what the definition of infrastructure is. Here’s what you need to know to leverage this opportunity:

Is there an on ramp for roads and bridges?

Earlier this fall, Congress once again punted on a long-term surface transportation spending bill. In September, after facing pressure by many leaders in the transportation industry, Congress passed a one-year funding extension for the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. The extension for this Obama era bill included over $13 billion for the Highway Trust Fund and provided some certainty to states and municipalities grappling with budget shortfalls stemming from the pandemic. Hopes of a long-term reauthorization bill – which is required every five years after the last bill is passed – faded when Republicans balked at the Democrats’ $494 billion highway bill that passed the House over the summer. The main source of contention was inclusion of measures to address climate and environmental concerns.

Little is likely to change in the forthcoming Congress, as the House will continue its climate push and the debate over how to pay for the bill remains unsettled. The gas tax revenue that traditionally funds highway projects under the law has dwindled as CAFE standards lead to more fuel efficient vehicles and more hybrids and electric vehicles hit the road. That means companies and industries hoping to see infrastructure investment pass Congress will need to get creative about where such investments might focus.

Can the digital divide bring Washington together?

In his campaign plan to “Build Back Better,” President-elect Biden noted, “As the COVID-19 crisis has revealed, Americans everywhere need universal, reliable, affordable, and high-speed internet to do their jobs, participate equally in remote school learning and stay connected.” Biden pledged, “This digital divide needs to be closed everywhere, from lower-income urban schools to rural America …” The pandemic has indeed exposed and exacerbated the digital divide for both online learning to remote working, with tens of millions of Americans in both rural areas and urban centers lacking the internet connectivity to log on and join their peers. This challenge provides a unique cross-partisan opportunity for lawmakers to build an urban/rural coalition to bring high speed internet access to underserved communities. In addition to President-elect Biden’s plan, Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) have introduced the Eliminate the Digital Divide Act.

Delivering high-speed broadband to underserved urban and rural communities would positively impact agriculture, healthcare and educational outcomes while opening up more opportunities for more workers to work remotely. Of course, reaching bipartisan agreement on the goal does not mean the debate is settled. From how to pay for broadband rollout, to whether a return of net neutrality rules discouraging private sector investment, to what equipment can or should be used in 5G networks – not to mention by whom and how those networks should be built – remain to be settled. 

The energy transition has to be built before it can happen.

President-elect Biden has made clear he will move aggressively to address climate change in his Administration. While much of those plans will face opposition from Republicans – and even some Democrats – on Capitol Hill, some of his plans may find bipartisan agreement. Biden’s vow to add 500,000 public charging stations for electric vehicles to highways and roads across the nation provides business opportunities for EV manufacturers, utilities, and charging equipment and service companies. These private sector entities are all hoping to lead the way in filling the “range anxiety” inducing void of charging stations across much of the country. However, regulators have to let them do it. Meanwhile, efforts to phase out internal combustion vehicles have begun cropping up. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed an executive order that prohibits the sale of new internal combustion vehicles in the Golden State after 2035, and regulators in New Jersey recently recommended the state adopt similar measures. However, such moves require enough places to “fill up” citizens’ EVs.

Beyond his plan to accelerate the nation’s transition to electric vehicles, Biden has emphasized his ambitious plan to invest heavily in renewable energy infrastructure for both economic stimulus and emissions reductions. Such plans could be hindered by Republican skepticism as well as progressive demands. Renewable infrastructure requires a range of approvals, like any other such project, and Biden will face progressive pressure to return environmental regulations that were reduced by the Trump Administration to ease infrastructure reviews and approvals. In addition, renewables such as wind and solar remain intermittent power sources requiring peak demand support from natural gas powered plants and other existing energy fuel sources until such time as battery storage technology can mature. As Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has signaled, while Republicans seek to protect domestic oil and natural gas production, they could support federal spending to boost research and development of wind and solar technologies, as well as investments in smart grid and electric vehicle infrastructure. However, such support is likely to require the Biden Administration to recognize some of these realities. 

Success doesn’t happen by accident.

As we approach the next Congress, savvy public affairs professionals are preparing for the coalitions of strange bedfellows that may emerge to reach a bipartisan consensus on key legislation. Shaping the debate to advance your infrastructure initiatives means understanding the full range of stakeholders involved in policy discussions while mapping out the operating landscape to gauge potential emerging consensus. As always, Delve is here to provide the insights you need to see around the corner and anticipate any risks or opportunities.

The gig is not up…yet

Here’s what you need to know…

In the 2020 general election, voters considered 120 statewide ballot initiatives on matters ranging from legalizing heroin in Oregon to taxing oil companies in Alaska. But perhaps the biggest changes came in measures governing labor practices. From Florida’s passage of a $15/hour minimum wage to California voters’ overwhelmingly passing Proposition 22, which overturned legislation that strongly curtails the state’s booming “gig economy.” Business advocates warn that such overhauls are not only disastrous for jobs and the economy at-large but also could fundamentally disrupt the way people interact in the labor marketplace. Despite the win at the California ballot box a few weeks ago, these desired policy changes should have public affairs professionals on high alert, as any major overhaul of independent contracting parameters could affect a wide array of industries and interests.

Here’s what you need to know about the fight over the gig economy in California and what it could mean nationally.

California legislators set fire to the gig economy. On election day, voters extinguished some of the flames.

Easy as ABC?: Earlier this year, Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) signed California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) into law with the gig economy in mind. The bill codified the ABC Test, first outlined in the California Supreme Court’s ruling in the controversial 2018 court case Dynamex Operations West, Inc. vs. Superior Court. The court’s ruling provided a possible three-prong assessment to determine if a worker classified as a contractor should instead be designated an employee. Once AB5 cemented the ABC Test as law, gig economy workers in California could no longer be considered independent contractors unless their employers met exacting exceptions – though its implications reached well beyond those technology platforms. The final version of the bill did provide industry-specific carveouts successfully negotiated by certain opponents to the measures, including professionals in more than a dozen industries ranging from doctors to travel agents. However, notably excluded from these carve outs were app-based ridesharing and delivery services.

Your Ballot Measure Has Arrived: In response to AB5’s passage, DoorDash, Uber, and Lyft each committed $30 million to pass a ballot initiative that would exempt rideshare and delivery drivers, while others like Instacart activated their team members to help win public support. The coalition argued that it had already made good faith efforts to guarantee better benefits for contractors, like a minimum $21 per hour wage while on a trip, sick leave, and even endorsed a drivers’ labor union. However, lawmakers’ insistence on classifying these contractors as employees, these companies said, could limit the flexibility their drivers enjoyed and greatly curtail their ability to earn a living. Activist groups set up demonstrations to express their displeasure at the companies’ response, even attempting to stage protests at the homes of Uber executives. After months of passionate campaigning from both sides, rideshare and delivery companies were victorious, and Proposition 22, which created exemptions for their shared industry, passed with a more than 17-point margin.

20th Century labor laws won’t work in modern times. So, what’s next for the gig economy?

Proposition with Conditions: Proposition 22 provided narrow exemptions for workers at large rideshare or delivery companies, like Uber and DoorDash. They have already committed to employing a similar strategy if faced with similar state-based or national legislation. But, for millions of other contract workers in California who don’t meet current exemptions, AB5 remains a major obstacle to finding and keeping work. Some are using social media to strategize about ways to get around the law. Meanwhile, professional coalitions, like the International Franchise Association and a hotel owners association, are gearing up for well-funded battles against the law in court. These organizations view union efforts to dismantle the gig economy as part of a larger strategy to significantly reshape labor practices in the U.S. by passing long-hoped-for policy initiatives, like compulsory membership, card check, higher payroll taxes, and more employer-sponsored benefits.

Future Fights Ahead: Groups mounting challenges to AB5 understand that this policy debate will not only impact the millions of workers in the nation’s largest state, but that California can be a leading indicator of policy initiatives across the country. Prominent Democratic lawmakers, including President-elect Joe Biden, have already vocalized support for the law and indicated they would like to see it adopted nationwide. Biden has also endorsed the federal PRO Act, which would make it more difficult for workers to be classified as independent contractors. Estimates project that these changes could cost already struggling businesses up to an additional $12.1 billion annually. However, with the chances for a divided government seeming likely, the PRO Act is unlikely to pass in the Senate. Still, California Attorney General, Democrat Xavier Becerra, who is responsible for defending AB5, is widely regarded as a top tier pick in a Biden Administration. If he were picked to be U.S. Attorney General, Becerra could muster the might of the U.S. Department of Justice to beat back any attempts to prevent measures similar to AB5 from passing in other states while encouraging stronger federal enforcement on the use of contractors. A Biden Administration is also likely to reverse the direction of a Trump Administration proposed rule that would make it harder to win employment rights for independent contractors. However, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has already vowed to fight to  make the Prop 22 model a national standard and told investors that Uber will  “loudly advocate” for similar measures in states across the country.

How Public Affairs Professionals Can Prepare: While an industry may not at first seem to be caught in the crossfire, new rules on contractors could affect more than 13 million workers who create $1.6 trillion in annual economic output, amounting to about They come from every industry, from aestheticians to farmers to maintenance workers to medical professionals. It would also undermine the significant shift in how people and companies interact in the labor marketplace that has been under way thanks to the rise of online, mobile platforms that connect willing workers with companies and individuals willing to pay them for work on demand. Public affairs professionals must monitor not only the ongoing organizing of activists in key states, but also deliberations over how the incoming president may shape this debate. Competitive intelligence is the key to anticipating these challenges, rising to the occasion, and winning when it really counts.

Five Ways to Stay Ahead During the Transition

It may be some time until we know for sure who will be sworn in as president on January 20, 2021, but behind the scenes both candidates’ teams are preparing for the transition in earnest. Even when the election outcome is clear, “The Swamp” is never murkier than in the heat of a presidential transition. That poses a challenge for public affairs professionals helping their organizations anticipate the impact of the next administration.

In 2016, Delve launched “The Administration Project,” a unique policy and personnel analysis service that gave our clients the expert insights they needed to thrive in a new and often surprising administration. We learned a lot from this venture, and we’re passing that knowledge to you. Here’s what you need to know to successfully navigate the transition and big policy debates ahead:

Read beyond the headlines.

In the days and weeks ahead, ballot counting and ongoing litigation will dominate the headlines, but both Trump and Biden are already deep into planning their transitions. Even once the counting ends, what you read in Twitter punditry and bite-sized newsletter updates may signal a common theme, but they don’t often tell the full or real story. So, beware of following the media’s focus, framing, and editorializing. Often, political reporters begin with a narrative, write a story around it, and then seek sources who, no matter how “in the know” they really are, confirm the reporter’s assumptions. Add in editors seeking headlines that get people clicking and sharing, even if those headlines overstate or misconstrue the supposed news in the story, and it can be hard to discern what news matters to you. With younger and more inexperienced journalists now dictating a lot of public discourse thanks to a range of trends in the media industry, much of modern media coverage lacks the institutional knowledge to provide an accurate depiction of perennial events like a transition. So, while others may focus on the sensational headlines, public affairs professionals will need to pay attention to what’s practical to them – even if it is buried deep in the story or actually in a primary source rather than the news.

Filter out the noise.

The transition presents a classic Washington silly season, and any silly season is going to be, well, silly. Because we know this likelihood, it shouldn’t surprise us when the next few weeks and months are filled with tabloid-style political melodramas, complete with breathless quotes from anonymous sources, wild speculation from those who should know better, and supposed clashes that may only exist on Twitter. To better discern what’s real and what’s a distraction, stick close to reliable sources beyond the media while ensuring you understand the relevant institutions and their histories. What do presidential transition teams look for when determining key posts? With a near-certain GOP majority in the Senate, how will that shape what kinds of appointments the next president can make? What policy changes can an administration actually achieve within the parameters of their executive authority? By considering these questions, you will have an advantage in forecasting who might fill key administration spots or what policies really are on the docket. If you’re overwhelmed with trivial things that we’ll all forget in a few days’ time, you’ll miss the critical opportunity to get ahead. Commit to using your time for the things that matter.

But make sure you don’t miss a thing!

While it may seem counterintuitive to filtering out the noise, these two tips go hand-in-hand. With a better grip on what’s important, you’ll have more time and brainpower to dedicate to the things you really don’t want to miss. After all, fear of missing a critical development is a major concern for public affairs professionals. To overcome that fear, be sure to look beyond news clips and TV hits. See what different industry coalitions and activist groups are saying. Tap into the social media accounts of reliable, plugged-in sources of influence. Is there a pattern or trend? Are there places you should be looking often and others you can ignore? You should also develop a plan to organize your work and stick to what you know you’ll need to know. News that matters does not come fully formed until it is too late to act on it. Organizing the drips and drabs of news as they come out from disparate sources lets you connect the dots faster. This will help you avoid the race to catch up to breaking news that fades or reacting to things that really don’t matter. Following a wide variety of sources while filtering out the noise can be overwhelming, so you might consider leveraging a competitive intelligence partner to keep you ahead of the curve.

Understand motives and agendas.

Once you know what you should care about and how you’ll analyze information as you receive it, it’s important to factor in what motives and agendas could be at play throughout the transition. We know the media and their sources all have their own objectives, and they’re eager for a variety of audiences to be persuaded by their efforts. Common agenda-setting in press coverage may mean that a source’s quote is misrepresented or missing key context. There’s also a possibility that a quoted source, named or anonymous, isn’t actually an informed one, but instead, just someone eager to talk to a reporter. Don’t forget: anyone in Washington can feign expertise or connectivity to people in power. So, when you learn of a new name floated for a particular post, read beyond the headlines and ask yourself: is this a trial balloon for a legitimate candidate, or is this just a dutiful staffer anonymously stroking the ego of his or her boss? A trial balloon may indicate real interest on the side of either the administration or the prospective job candidate. Or, it might the administration testing the public or industries’ tolerance for another pick altogether. To avoid getting swept up in the craze, analyze whether or not a candidate is a good fit on paper, has the right personality for the administration, and if he or she could survive a Senate confirmation fight.

Map the influencers.

It’s not always the marquee names who shape public policy. Much of the media speculation and industry and activist groups’ attention may focus on Cabinet picks, but sub-cabinet and staff-level appointees are far more likely to make a meaningful impact on the rules and regulations that affect key industries, particularly those tapped for “beachhead” or “jump” teams parachuting into agencies to figure out what’s what and shepherd in the new administration’s agenda. To figure out who these people might be, watch the bundlers, buddies, and backers – political friends and allies who an administration trusts to give them direction in filling the thousands of posts that are open, as well as campaign staffers and volunteers who earned spots by getting the boss elected. Understand not just who these allies are, but who stands in the wings behind them. Knowing a president’s kitchen cabinet may be obvious, but all of those kitchen cabinet members have their own kitchen cabinets as well. Consider how Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) helped guide the Trump Administration’s environmental appointments, recommending fellow Oklahoman Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and then helping Pruitt staff the agency with his own trusted staffers – including Pruitt’s successor Andrew Wheeler.

From WOTUS to POTUS: Environmental Uncertainty in the Next Administration

Over the past several weeks, we have dived deep into the increasingly permanent state of regulatory uncertainty in Washington. Besides perhaps trade policy, there is no arena in which this state is more prevalent than the various and sometimes obscure environmental rules that govern everything from energy to agriculture to transportation to infrastructure to manufacturing and beyond. No matter who wins in November, the litigation of these key rules – in courts of public opinion as well as law – will continue unabated.

Beyond what happens with the controversial Paris Climate Accord, public affairs professionals can expect continued debate on an alphabet soup of rules like WOTUS, NEPA, ACE, TSCA, and beyond. How these rules are written and implemented will determine how industries can operate and what it will cost the consumers they serve. To prepare for what comes next in these debates, and ensure you know which acronym to deploy when, here’s what you need to know:

The Next Administration’s Application Of The Clean Water Act Can Set Industries Back Or Move Them Forward. The Obama Administration 2015 “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) update to the Clean Water Act angered farmers, developers, and other critics, who argued WOTUS created onerous bureaucracy surrounding land use and increased uncertainty. In 2020, the Trump Administration replaced WOTUS with the Navigable Waters Protection Rule to “streamline the definition so that it includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters.” Environmental activists and their allies argue Trump’s “Dirty Water Rule” “significantly reduce[d] the range of protected wetlands” and turned to the courts to stall or prevent its implementation. Because Clean Water Act rules can be challenged in any of the nation’s nearly 100 federal courts, opponents intend to continue flooding the courts with challenges, while supporters, like agriculture advocates and homebuilding coalitions, are preparing to fight back.

  • What Happens Next? See You In Court. If President Trump wins a second term, opponents of his rule will double down on their legal challenges, leaving the EPA to fight a multifront war in the courts. If Vice President Biden is elected, public affairs professionals can anticipate more stringent regulations, leaving key industries in limbo as they try to figure out whether these rules will ebb or flow.

One Reason Infrastructure Week Feels More Like Groundhog Day: NEPA. Both Republicans and Democrats say they want more infrastructure, but the maze of federal regulations make such investments difficult, with time-consuming, labor-intensive, and expensive environmental rules slowing progress. The “Magna Carta” of these laws, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), has for 50 years required federal agencies to produce “environmental impact statements” to determine the effects of proposed projects such as highways or energy projects and given community and outside stakeholders the ability to challenge or appeal these assessments. As we’ve noted in the past, the Trump Administration has advanced reforms of NEPA to “ensure that the Federal environmental review and permitting process for infrastructure projects is coordinated, predictable, and transparent.” Supporters say that this streamlining untangles a bureaucratic web that inhibits the construction of worthwhile projects. Opponents claim a weaker NEPA would “sell out our clean air, clean water, and safe climate” to corporations by lessening environmental and community activists’ ability to raise concerns.

  • What Happens Next? Building Projects Keeps Getting Harder. If President Trump is re-elected, his administration will likely be forced to defend his NEPA reforms in court for years to come. If Joe Biden is elected, the outcome of NEPA reform remains unclear. Biden will likely look to rollback President Trump’s NEPA reforms, while still attempting to follow-through on his commitment to spend $2 trillion in infrastructure. Without adjustments to NEPA’s rules, however, getting projects – even environmentally friendly ones like renewable energy generation – will prove more difficult for his administration.

The Never-Ending Power Emissions Debate. In 2018, the Trump Administration proposed the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule to “establish emission guidelines for states” regarding power plants. ACE replaced the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which the Trump EPA argued had exceeded EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act. Democratic attorneys-general from states across the U.S. filed suit in August 2019 challenging ACE, insisting that the new rule only made modest emissions reductions, increased carbon emissions and pollutions in more than a dozen states, and greatly curtailed states’ abilities to create their own compliance requirements on energy companies.

  • Will It “Land at Some Point”? Court watchers say that the Trump Administration has an uphill battle in defending their regulation, and experts say that, should Biden win, ACE will never get a ruling. A Biden EPA will almost certainly replace ACE with a rule even more stringent than the Clean Power Plan. Should a Biden Administration enact these greater CO2 emission limitations, Politico’s Alex Guillen observes, “get ready for yet another day of marathon arguments over Biden’s replacement rule in another four years or so. (Though notably it’s been 13 years since the Supreme Court said EPA has greenhouse gas authority, so something’s gotta land at some point.).”

TSCA May Have More Drama Than La Tosca As Chemical Fights Compound Uncertainty For Regulators And Industries. Created in 1976, and amended in 2016, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulates new or already existing chemicals. Critics of the administration argue the Trump EPA is too “industry-friendly,” and is endangering the public by exposing them to chemicals that can’t be confirmed as harmless. In November 2019, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, gearing up yet another fight for a Trump Administration in a second term – or for a prospective President Biden to ditch once he’s in office. Moreover, industry suspects a Biden Administration “could interpret TSCA, and the many legal, science and policy issues it invites,

  • But There’s More: Debate On This Chemical Could Upend Medical Supply Chains Amidst The Pandemic. Beyond the TSCA fights, under outside pressure EPA has indicated it will consider action on an increasingly high profile chemical in 2021: ethylene oxide (EtO). EtO is a common sterilizer used on medical devices, but it has also been deemed a carcinogen by the EPA. As EPA looks to regulate the gas in 2021, any closures of EtO plants could bring the United States to “the cusp of a major medical logistical failure,” all while the country tries to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

CAFE Standards Remain On The Menu… Arguing it would allow the auto industry to make cheaper, safer vehicles, the Trump Administration finalized a roll back of the Obama era Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in March 2020. The administration also upped the CAFE standards fight by revoking California’s federal waiver on emissions, calling for a uniform national standard and denying California’s assertion that the state needs more stringent emissions standards.

  • … And California Just Upped The Ante. The CAFE fight will certainly continue beyond election day, especially with California’s new mandate that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the state much be emissions free by 2035, which now has found interest among Congressional Democrats as a national objective. While Biden is likely to restore California’s CAFÉ waiver and allow the state to move forward with such a ban, Trump’s EPA Administrator has indicated his agency would need to approve California’s ban on gas-powered vehicles.

Regardless Of Who Wins In November, Public Affairs Professionals Will Have A Daunting Task In These Environmental Debates. Energy and environmental issues are among the top concerns for any presidential administration, but the increasing contentious fights over how to address climate change means that each regulatory action becomes a knock-down, drag-out fight. Ever-changing rules combined with stalled implementation compound uncertainty for sectors that require reliable, stable policy direction to get things done. Their public affairs professionals always have their work cut out for them, but now more than ever, affecting policymaking remains a daunting task. With Delve in your corner, you can better anticipate what’s next.