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Lee Hughes
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Amy Haywood Hughes
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Hughes Public Affairs
Two Elizabeth Circle
Savannah, GA 31406

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Examples of Successful Lobbying by Hughes Public Affairs

Any legislative success is the result of work done by several people, including legislators, staffers, lobbyists, citizens, and ultimately, the Administration.  The list below includes just a few of the many legislative successes in which Lee and/or Amy Hughes played an integral role on behalf of current and previous clients.
 
Gulfstream Aerospace

In a year when almost no new tax incentives were passed by the legislature and several were vetoed by the Governor, Lee led the effort to pass legislation enacting a specific tax exemption for Gulfstream that exempted aircraft repair parts from state sales taxes. Governor Perdue signed the bill into law.  This legislation was an important strategic objective for Gulfstream to retain their competitive advantage at their Georgia service centers. Lee was commended by legislators for his work on the bill and recognized by his peers in Internet blogs and by nominations for awards. In 2009, legislation was passed to extend the exemption an additional two years.  Lee again led the lobbying effort to pass the bill.

Trane Corporation

HPA assisted Trane Corporation in obtaining a $12 million contract with the Savannah Chatham County Public School System for a comprehensive Energy Management Program.  Using the savings achieved through the program, Trane was able to replace over 1,000 failing HVAC units.  Light and plumbing fixtures were also replaced throughout the school system in order to dramatically decrease the energy operating costs for the school system.  

 

American Heart Association, American Cancer Association, American Lung Association

Amy led the local effort to require all workplaces in the City of Savannah including bars and restaurants to go 100% smoke-free. Working with the Acting City Manager, the Mayor and Aldermen, Amy led a team of grassroots volunteers and was able to enact the most comprehensive smoke-free ordinance in the state of Georgia.  

 

CSX Transportation

CSX invested $22.5 million for improvements to the CSX rail yard in Waycross in 2005 and 2006.  Off-site improvements were needed at a cost of $1.5 million.  Working with the Ware County Commission and the City of Waycross and with the Regional Vice President of CSX during the 2007 legislative session, we were able to get $1.5 million into the final 2008-2009 budget.  Governor Perdue vetoed this line item.  By working with his administration throughout the year we were able to convince the Governor to redirect $1.5 million from another project to pay for the work in Waycross.

Chatham County

Chatham County Mosquito control spends approximately $700,000 a year manipulating and treating the dredge spoils containment area for mosquitoes.  HPA coordinated the successful efforts in 2005, 2006 and 2007 to obtain up to annually $450,000 in the budget to help pay for those costs.

Chatham County has spent millions of dollars in recent years paying to incarcerate state prisoners in the Chatham County jail.  The state has reimbursed the County at less than half the rate of the costs incurred.   Lee has worked with local legislative leaders to raise the profile of the issue and seek solutions.  The legislature has raised the reimbursement rate, and, more importantly, legislators made aware of the problem successfully compelled the Department of Corrections to expedite the transfer of state prisoners, minimizing the costs to the County to a fraction of previous levels.
   
In 2007, working with lobbyists and legislators representing Gwinnett and Chatham County, legislation was passed to revise retirement legislation to allow for broader investment options for county governments.  Also in 2007, local legislation was passed to clarify existing law related to judges' compensation.

Herty Advanced Materials Development Center

In 2004 under new management, Herty developed extensive legislation to rename the facility and create the ability to spin off subsidiaries.  Lee shepherded this bill through the legislative process.  He also crafted and inserted into the bill language that effectively exempted Herty from the Open Records laws of Georgia in order to maintain the confidentiality and trade secrets of Herty’s product development clients.  This was seen as a huge success in an atmosphere where the Georgia Press Association made strengthening of open record statutes their highest priority.  More importantly, the restructuring legislation enabled Herty to strategically reposition from a firm focused on the Georgia paper industry to a leader in the global search for alternative fuels.

Previous management at Herty did not obtain funding from the legislature for 7 years leading up to 2006.  The Administration’s budget as introduced in 2006 did not include any money for Herty, but Lee was able to direct the effort to get $650,000 for operational funds and capitol improvements.  In 2007, the Governor’s budget included $650,000 for Herty, but when legislators shifted it to the supplemental budget for an earlier payout, the Governor vetoed it.  With help from Senators Hill and Johnson, $2 million was added back in for Herty for the 2008 budget and the Governor supported the funding.  In 2009, Lee led efforts which resulted in a $250,000 appropriation for construction of a new building at Herty. 

Georgia Forestry Association

In 2003, several Atlanta area legislators grew alarmed at some of the developments in their respective districts that had resulted in clear cutting of large tree stands.  Multiple bills were introduced that would have enacted what would amount to a statewide tree ordinance that would have drastically impacted the forestry industry in our state.  While representing the GFA, Lee identified the potential problems in these bills and was able to defeat the harmful bills and to protect GFA’s interests in one bill that eventually passed.  This is an example of successful defensive lobbying.  
 
Underground Atlanta

In 2003, a group of influential businessmen in Atlanta were able to get local Atlanta laws changed so that many of the Buckhead nightclubs had to close earlier.  Those nightclubs formed a coalition and hired lobbyists in an effort to change the state law during the 2004 legislative session in an effort to override the restrictions imposed by the new Atlanta law.  Underground Atlanta hired Lee to derail that effort.  This is an example of successful defensive lobbying.  
 
Consumer Credit Counseling Services

In 2004, the CCCS offices in Augusta, Albany, Savannah, Atlanta, Macon and Chattanooga combined resources to hire Lee as their lobbyist.  With strong support from Democrats in the Democratic controlled House and from Republicans in the Republican controlled Senate, the Georgia Credit Counseling Reform Act passed in a year memorable for partisan gridlock that resulted in a very low number of bills passing both houses of the legislature.  This important legislation enabled the Consumer Credit Counseling Services to charge reasonable fees for their services and it put out of business a number of disreputable businesses that were taking advantage of consumers in need of financial planning and debt management assistance.   

Matthew Reardon Center

In 2005, the Matthew Reardon Center hired Lee to help obtain state funding.  In that year, supporters of the Center placed $350,000 in the budget and the annual appropriation has since been raised to $450,000, which is approximately 60% of the Center’s annual operating budget.  In 2007, an additional $200,000 was added to the budget for expansion of the Center, although Governor Perdue redirected the money.  HPA was able to get the $200,000 appropriated again in 2008. In recent years, Lee and Amy have worked with legislators and state agencies to kepp the Reardon Center funded at a sustainable level.

Health Appropriations

Since 1999, Amy led the efforts to secure over $53 million in supplemental funding for Memorial Health from federal, state and local sources.  Some of the appropriation line items are summarized below:

Federal Funding

  • $1.6 million line item appropriation in the federal Department of Defense budget for the Obesity and Cancer Research Project at Memorial Health, 2007
  • $250,000 line item appropriation in the federal Labor, Health and Human Services budget for the Chatham County Safety Net, 2007
  • $1.35 million line item appropriation in the federal Department of Defense budget for the Obesity and Cancer Research Project at Memorial Health, 2006
  • $1 million line item appropriation in the federal Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Act for construction of the Hoskins Center at Memorial Health, 2005
  • $7 million in an Upper Payment Limit transaction obtained by working through the Congressional delegation, 2004
  • $1.8 million in two federal appropriations for construction of the Hoskins Center at Memorial Health, 2003-2004
  • $6 million restored by working through the Congressional delegation to correct Savannah’s Area Wage Index rates, 2001
  • Aggressively fought annually to protect millions of dollars in funding for health services for uninsured and for indigent persons

State Funding

  • $5.7 million in state funding for Trauma services at Memorial Health, 2008
  • $74,000 for additional pediatric and OB/GYN residency slots, 2008
  • $1.7 million for increased Medicaid Reimbursement, 2008
  • $5.5 million in state funding for the Mercer Medical School expansion at Memorial Health, 2007
  • Aggressively worked to eliminate the school nurse tax saving Memorial Health $1.3 million annually, 2006
  • Secured $1 million in the state budget for Trauma Centers, 2006
  • $200,000 state appropriation for creation of a cancer tissue bank, 2002
  • $750,000 secured Eminent Scholar funding from the Georgia Cancer Coalition for Dr. William Hoskins, 2001
  • $1 million in Eminent Scholar funding from the Georgia Cancer Coalition for Doctors Vatts and Brower, 2002
  • $150,000 line item appropriation for LifeStar, 2003
  • $100,000 line item appropriation for LifeStar, 2001
  • $50,000 line item appropriation for LifeStar, 2000


Trauma

Over the last several years, Amy has worked diligently to educate legislators concerning the need for a state Trauma Network that would ensure a coordinated network of funded trauma centers across the state.  While such a noble cause seems like it should be easy to enact, the funding needs were so great and the politics were so complex, that this has been a multi-year effort that is about to come to fruition.  In January, Governor Sonny Perdue recognized Amy’s efforts in a press conference in which he stated “Amy, your hard work has paid off and you will soon see the fruits of your labors in the form of a funded state trauma network.”  The Governor’s sentiments were echoed by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and House Majority Leader Jerry Keen as there is now consensus regarding the urgency of sustainable funding for a state Trauma Network. 

During the 2008 session, the General Assembly included $58.5 million in the FY’08 Supplement Budget for Trauma Centers.  After a hard fought legislative battle, the Speaker of the House did not let a permanent funding solution onto the floor of the House for a final vote. Georgia Trend magazine noted Amy’s leadership role in this issue when she was named to the magazine’s 40 Under 40 Best and Brightest Georgians list in 2007. 

Volunteers in Medicine

Amy led the efforts to pass enabling legislation to create Volunteers In Medicine clinics in Georgia to expand health access to primary care for the uninsured through the work of retired physicians and nurses.  She also led efforts to expand the enabling legislation to Advanced Practice Nurses, dentists and many other practitioners.   

Safe Place for Newborns

After a high profile infant named “Baby Grace” was abandoned in a local dumpster, Amy led the efforts to advocate for legislation creating Georgia’s Safe Place for Newborns statute which gave troubled mothers the ability to hand over a newborn child to authorities.  Since passage of this bill, hundreds of unwanted babies have been voluntarily surrendered and the trend of abandoned infants has decreased dramatically.  

811

Amy lobbied the Georgia Public Service Commission to obtain the rights for Memorial Health to exclusively utilize the telephone number “811” for their NurseOne urgent health care hotline. 

Health Policy


During her 8 years at Memorial Health, Amy worked with various coalitions to pursue significant health policy initiatives such as Tort Reform, Certificate of Need, metabolic newborn screening, indigent care funding, and numerous, complex hospital reimbursement and funding issues.  Governor Perdue’s wife Mary asked Amy to serve as the local spokesperson for her “Our Children” initiative.

Hospital Authority

Amy worked with the members of the Chatham County legislative delegation to pass legislation enabling a Chatham County Commissioner to serve on the Chatham County Hospital Authority. 

Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Council

While Vice President of the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director of the Manufacturers Council, Amy worked with the Chamber’s Legislative Advocacy Council to develop and advocate for the legislative priorities of Savannah’s business community.  The most significant legislation advanced by the Chamber created the Ports Tax Credit enabling statute creating tax incentives for businesses that expanded their use of Georgia ports facilities.  Amy also advocated for funding of the Trade Center as well as legislation expanding the board membership of the Trade Center Authority.  In the wake of the Powell, Duffryn fire, Amy led the manufacturing community’s efforts to form a Hazardous Materials Response Team at the Savannah Fire Department and to develop mutual aid protocols to allow local industries to share resources during emergencies. She also served as the Chairperson of the statewide Manufacturers Appreciation Week for the State of Georgia.   

Georgia High Tech Alliance

While at the Atlanta law firm of Powell, Goldstein, Frazer and Murphy, Amy handled legislative initiatives of the Georgia High Tech Alliance, including the development and passage of a bill to value computer software based on the medium on which was stored.  Passage of this legislation kept the Georgia Department of Revenue from unfairly taxing Georgia’s High Tech companies and strengthened Georgia’s reputation as a positive place for technology companies to locate. 

Local

Amy led the efforts of MedStarOne to secure a contract to provide subsidized ambulance services to part of Chatham County at a value of $3.4 million to Memorial Health.  The contract was renewed in 2005. 

Lee and Amy assisted Waste Management in securing local approval for expansion of the Superior Landfill.