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TISL's lobbying program adds another realistic aspect to the TISL General Assembly.

Lobbyists from five associations attempt to influence student senators and representatives for or against legislation.


Lobbyists will conduct themselves in accordance with the Standards of Conduct of the Tennessee Lobbyists Association.

Lobbyists may not provide food, drink or any personal benefit to legislators, judges or TISL officers. They may not provide gifts.


Each lobbying association will have a client and a CEO.


The client will be a TISL alumnus who has graduated or a professional lobbyist.

  • Further defines the firm's mission and establishes its legislative priorities.

  • Advises firm members on strategy and provides background information based on the client's knowledge.

  • Conceives a bill for the firm to research, write and pass.

  • The client should participate in some of the firm's meetings, but the client may not lobby legislators.


The CEO will be an experienced TISL delegate.

  • Creates a conference call account and GroupMe account for the firm to communicate.

  • Communicates with the client to clarify goals and strategies.

  • Organizes firm meetings via conference call before the General Assembly and in person after reaching Nashville.

  • Organizes an after-session conference call with the client and the firm to review results.


Here are strategies and tactics you can use to be an effective lobbyist:

  • Set up an account with conference call capabilities so that you can meet with your firm before arriving in Nashville.

  • Create a texting account at to help your firm can communicate at the General Assembly.

  • Assign firm members to specific tasks

  • Research for information to support and oppose bills.

  • Prepare one-page information sheets about bills or issues that you can distribute to legislators. You must use your own resources to copy these, and they must have a statement about who produced them. (Example: "This information sheet prepared and produced by ____ lobbying firm.")

  • Collect phone numbers from senators and representatives who support your bill(s) so that you can text them during debate with facts and strategy.

  • Amend or compromise to improve bills your firm doesn't like.

  • Testify at committees for or against bills.

  • Identify and invite outside experts to testify at committees.

  • Persuade the Governor to sign or veto bills.

  • Persuade the Governor's cabinet to support or oppose bills.

  • Provide talking points to legislators to use in debate.

  • Visit the Senate and House floors to communicate with legislators. See the Sergeant at Arms for a floor pass.

  • What is the source of the enrollment figures?
    The Apportionment Act says apportionment is based on head-count enrollment from fall semester one year earlier as supplied by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. THEC provides TISL a spreadsheet each summer with enrollment numbers that are extracted from a national database.
  • When is the House apportioned?
    The House is apportioned a few days after the Universal Deadline. Apportionment is typically announced about a week before the General Assembly.
  • Who oversees apportionment at the General Assembly?
    The Speaker of the House, Speaker Pro Tem and Chief Clerk assign delegations to seats based on the computer-generated apportionment figures.
  • Where can I go with questions or problems?
    The Speaker of the House, Speaker Pro Tem and Chief Clerk should be your first resources.
  • What if I'm still dissatisfied and think my college was the victim of an error?
    As a last resort, you can file a lawsuit with the Tennessee Intercollegiate Supreme Court. Lawsuits can be filed 365 days per year. You don't have to wait until the General Assembly. The Court provides a form and further guidance on its website.
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