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ISSUE ADVOCACY

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For more than 10 years, we have led the industry in issue advocacy utilizing unique communication strategies that take our clients to the top. We know the landscape, we know the history, we are ever changing to keep up with emerging technologies, all while using our expertise and experience to craft unique communications plans that help you win.

Below is a sampling of some of our successes over the years.

CASE STUDIES

THE EVERGLADES FOUNDATION: EXPEDITING THE EAA RESERVOIR TO STORE, CLEAN & SEND WATER SOUTH

GOAL: Pass legislation to expedite the EAA Reservoir
SUCCESS: Legislation to expedite the EAA Reservoir signed into law

As an integral part of The Everglades Foundation’s communications team for more than 7 years, BCC was instrumental in the development and execution of the full-scale advocacy campaign in support of Senate Bill 10, which included, but was not limited to, paid, earned and digital media; message development; collateral materials; rapid response; public affairs events; bookending committee meetings and important events; third-party coordination and outreach; and grassroots activities. Ultimately, SB 10 successfully passed with bipartisan support in both the Florida House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott.

The advocacy campaign was successful in not only uniting voices across the state together to form one in support of expediting the EAA Reservoir, but it was also adept at making changes at a moment’s notice, in order to adjust to the changing political environment and temperature. As a contentious issue, SB 10 was a changing piece of legislation with multiple compromises happening throughout the legislative session. As such, BCC was quick to adjust messaging, collateral material, and digital and paid media efforts, as well as rapidly pivot earned media strategies in order for The Foundation to be the first to reach out to Capitol Press Corps members, covering reporters and editorial boards when the legislation changed.

DELTA AIR LINES: BRINGING THE JET FUEL TAX IN FOR A LANDING

GOAL: Pass Jet Fuel Tax Proposal to create a level playing field among Florida’s airline carriers
SUCCESS: Jet Fuel Tax Proposal signed into law by Governor Scott

The Jet Fuel Tax Proposal, a proposal to eliminate an unfair tax refund policy to ensure parity among Florida’s airline carriers by instituting a fair tax rate for all jet fuel carriers who utilize Florida’s aviation infrastructure, was brought in for a landing with BCC  running point on communications and PR for the effort on behalf of Delta Air Lines.

By implementing and utilizing a strategic communications plan that was nimble enough to adjust to changing legislative conditions, BCC was successful in positioning the Jet Fuel Tax Proposal as a needed measure to stop government from picking winners and losers in the marketplace through an unequal tax policy. BCC assisted the government relations team in framing the message and ensuring it was flexible enough to change but still be successful, as the legislation was brokered through the process, in order to get it to the finish line, as well as monitored for media coverage to insert the positive message about the Jet Fuel Tax Proposal and combat any misinformation. BCC also created educational collateral materials to help the government relations team in articulating the positive effect that eliminating an outdated tax exemption would have on the industry as a whole.

In the end, the Jet Fuel Tax Proposal was included in the tax package, which was passed by the Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott.

DOSAL TOBACCO CORPORATION: TOBACCO TAX FIGHT

GOAL: Fight out-of-state special interest tax
SUCCESS: Governor and House and Senate Leadership took position against tax increase

The BCC team has served as communications consultants for the Dosal Tobacco Corporation, as well as lead communications advisors to the legislative effort for more than a decade. Each year, the communications and lobbying team fights the threat from Big Tobacco to single out this one company
with a tax increase.

In its fiercest battle to date, the BCC team had to think quick on our feet and plan a public affairs event that would make enough noise within the Capitol and result in a reverse stance from members of legislative leadership. Going above and beyond the traditional PR strategies, Bascom Communications was able to – within a 24-hour timeframe – devise and execute a 200-person rally at The Capitol. By the close of that session, House and Senate leadership had taken a position of support for the company, citing the activation and approach from the Dosal company and its employees.

Since then, Dosal has found itself in the crosshairs by these same out-of-state interests wanting to do away with Dosal and take Florida jobs out of state. The BCC team was successful once again, this time creating counter campaigns that ultimately exposed the smokescreen among legislators, decision
makers and the public, and publicly positioned the issue as an industry food fight and a tax increase on one Florida business. By the close of that session, the Governor and House and Senate leadership had all taken a position against tax increases, and cited the purported “Dosal Fee” to be nothing more than a tax on a Florida-based company.

 

FLORIDA HARBOR PILOTS ASSOCIATION: INCREASED VISIBILITY CAMPAIGN & LEGISLATIVE BATTLE

GOAL: Increase awareness of harbor pilots and safeguard their profession
SUCCESS: Fended off significant legislation

Under attack by a newly-formed organization funded by wealthy foreign cruise line and cargo ship owners, the Florida Harbor Pilots Association engaged BCC to assist with branding, visibility, legislative outreach and education.

After launching a statewide rebranding, earned media and messaging campaign, the association received numerous statewide features, including supportive key political commentary in the state’s largest newspaper and front-page coverage throughout key regions. Through proactive media outreach,
counter-messaging and packaging of key advocacy pieces, the association was able to increase its visibility and educate key targets on the benefit of their industry, garnering significant legislative support.

At the close of session, the public relations effort, headed by the BCC team, was heralded for assisting the government relations team with fending off significant legislation that could have jeopardized the harbor pilots’ existence and the safety of Florida’s port and marine commerce. Over a decade later, the BCC team continues to build awareness around the benefits of the Florida harbor pilots profession and has also worked with harbor pilots in other states.


AT&T FLORIDA: CABLE, MARKET PARITY & 5G EVOLUTION

GOAL: Showcase need for innovation in telecom industry
SUCCESS: Cable, market parity and 5G signed into law

For more than a decade, the BCC team has been working with the AT&T public affairs team in Florida working to support their legislative efforts before the Capitol and across the state.

From the cable bill, to market parity legislation to the deployment of 5G, the BCC team has been there every step of the way to support the public affairs team with successful legislative communications strategies.

Over the years, the BCC team has assisted with building and managing coalitions, deployed aggressive editorial outreach and opinion editorial placement, engaged in deskside briefings with Capitol Press Corps members, coordinated efforts with bill sponsors, coordinated grassroots and grasstops activities, and developed themed advertising and creative collateral materials to use before key targets.

To date, AT&T Florida remains one of the most well-respected companies among the telecom industry in the Sunshine State, and we are proud to have been a part of this company’s public affairs footprint.

KEEP FLORIDA JOBS: INSURANCE PREMIUM TAX FIGHT

GOAL: Stop the elimination of tax credits for Florida employers
SUCCESS: Anti-business legislation did not pass

As a part of the ‘Keep Florida Jobs’ effort headed by the Associated Industries of Florida and in coordination with insurance companies across the state, BCC was engaged to help fight the elimination of tax credits for Florida employers.

Working in coordination with the business and insurance industries, the BCC team, along with other public relations professionals involved, created vote alerts, a microsite, emails and calls into lawmakers offices, opinion editorials, coordinated press release drops, and paid media components to deliver a message to the Governor and the Florida Legislature that the proposed 15 percent performance-driven tax credit on insurance companies that allows them to hire good paying jobs has worked since 1987 and has incentivized these employers to hire more Floridians.

Coming down to the wire in the final days of session, the effort continued to urge opposition to Senate Bill 1832, which was immediately certified to the Florida House, with the notion that removing this tax credit on Florida businesses was bad for Florida and went against the Governor’s recruitment efforts to bring new jobs and companies to Florida. The bill ended up languishing on third reading during the last day of session, which can be attributed to the persistent work done by the government affairs and PR teams.

PCI: PIP LEGISLATIVE DEBATE

GOAL: Pass legislation to remove PIP loophole
SUCCESS: Governor Scott signed law reforming Florida’s no-fault system

As a part of the ‘Put the Brakes on Accident Fraud’ Coalition, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), which BCC has represented for more than 10 years, engaged BCC to help build a proactive public affairs campaign that ultimately led to the passage of crucial personal injury protection
(PIP) legislation that would crack down on the billion-dollar accident fraud problem in Florida, one of Governor Rick Scott’s top priorities.

Working closely with the coalition, the BCC team, along with the other public relations professionals involved, executed several events to elevate the issue before lawmakers and the media, including a kick-off rally and a staged accident event involving the Governor, Chief Financial Officer and several coalition
members, as well as a crash test dummies legislative alert delivery to key members in The Capitol.

In addition to the events, BCC armed PCI with media monitoring/real-time media reports that helped the coalition with rapid response to opponent attacks, provided a snapshot of the landscape during the planning of strategy/tactics to obtain maximum pressure on key stakeholders, coordinated with the
coalition on a paid and earned media campaign, as well as orchestrated targeted coalition email blasts to lawmakers – all of which proved to be successful in engaging lawmakers, key decision makers, media and the public on the issue and addressing the necessity of transforming PIP this session.

Coming down to the last hours of session, the House and Senate ultimately took the position to support the transformation of the PIP system in Florida and meaningful reform legislation was sent to the Governor for his signature. This achievement was heavily noted by statewide media outlets and the Governor was heralded for passing legislation that takes meaningful steps to address the fraud and abuse in the Florida no-fault system. Many noted PR experts and Capitol watchers credited the onslaught of earned and strategic paid media, as one of the key components that elevated the PIP issue and made it a must-pass issue of the session.

ROSKAMP INSTITUTE: INCREASED VISIBILITY CAMPAIGN

GOAL: Build profile of research facility
SUCCESS: Research facility became a well-known institute in Florida

Sarasota’s Roskamp Institute, a research facility with scientists from all over the state, nation and world working on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, came to Sarah Bascom and Kristen Bridges for assistance in building their public profile with lawmakers, statewide media and key targets. Through a multi-year communications plan, which included features in local mainstream media, key industry publications, earned media events and targeted mail, the Roskamp Institute was able to build its profile and presence in Sarasota and Florida, becoming a well-known research facility in the state. At the conclusion of the visibility campaign, the Roskamp Institute had accomplished its numerous goals and objectives and increased its profile among all key targeted audiences.

FLORIDA POLY VISION: BRANDING, VISIBILITY & OUTREACH

GOAL: Brand and increase the visibility of Florida Poly Vision
SUCESS: Florida Poly Vision established as a resource to community, media, decision makers

Florida Poly Vision, Inc. (Florida Poly) was a group of more than 100 community and business leaders from all over Polk County and surrounding communities that came together to support the creation of Florida Polytechnic University. BCC was hired to assist with branding, visibility, and media outreach and management for the overall effort, and through the proactive public and media outreach led by BCC, Florida Poly was able to position itself as a resource to members of the community, the media, and key decision makers, including the Florida Board of Governors, while the official infrastructure for Florida Polytechnic was put in place.

From orchestrating the public launch of Florida Poly, via a live and virtual press conference to executing the launch of the group’s official website, blog and social media pages, BCC developed and implemented a branding, earned media and public relations campaign to build Florida Poly’s presence across multi-media platforms, and served as communications, image and media management consultants throughout the group’s launch and the months that followed.

BCC worked closely with Florida Poly’s leadership team to craft topline messaging and informative leave-behinds and assessments and assisted with spokesperson preparation and interview coordination. In addition to earned media planning and execution, BCC conceptualized, designed and placed a series of informative advertisements to increase visibility of Florida Poly’s mission, membership and goals among the local community. BCC also developed and implemented a membership outreach plan to keep Florida Poly members in the know of upcoming group events, media activities and recent developments via regular email blasts.

THE FLORIDA KEYS STEWARDSHIP ACT: CODIFYING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FLORIDA KEYS

GOAL: Pass the Florida Keys Stewardship Act
SUCCESS: Florida Keys Stewardship Act was signed into law by Governor Scott

BCC was engaged to build a proactive public affairs campaign to educate lawmakers and the media on the importance of the Florida Keys and the need to codify their protection and preservation into law with the Florida Keys Stewardship Act. Ultimately, the Act passed both chambers and was signed into
law by Governor Rick Scott.

BCC worked hand-in-hand with Monroe County, local governments and supportive entities to create a strategic communications plan that included components, such as message development, to ensure that all parties involved were in sync; media monitoring to identify opportunities to insert the effort’s message; earned media, including generating and placing regional opinion pieces and letters to the editor; collateral material development for lawmaker and media education and outreach, as well as grassroots use for Florida Keys Day at the State Capitol; and video design and development, in order to capture the vast benefits of the Florida Keys into a packaged three-minute video that left a lasting impression on lawmakers and key decision makers. Bringing the Florida Keys into the water policy discussion was a priority for BCC at the outset and was a key contributor in the overwhelming support for the Florida Keys Stewardship Act received.

SADOWSKI COALITION: FIRST TIME IN OVER A DECADE GOVERNOR RECOMMENDS FULL FUNDING FOR HOUSING

Goal: Budget recommendation from Governor for full funding of affordable housing
Success: Governor DeSantis recommended full funding for affordable housing

For the last 10 years, BCC leads the communications effort for the Sadowski Coalition, which is made up of 32 diverse statewide organizations advocating each year for all affordable housing trust fund monies to be allocated for affordable housing. With a new governor taking office, BCC was successful in leading a proactive and strategic earned media campaign that resulted in the new Governor recommending full funding for affordable housing – the first time in over a decade.

To accomplish this, BCC waged a proactive earned media blitz that included third-party opinion editorials and letters to the editor, and editorial board outreach that resulted in more than 25 supportive editorials all across the state, in media markets from the Panhandle and North Florida all the way down to South Florida, encouraging the governor to recommend that all affordable housing trust fund monies go toward affordable housing.

When the Governor’s budget was released not only was full funding for affordable housing included in it for the first time in more than a decade, but the Governor touted this funding in highlights on his budget recommendations.

Our Successes:

  • Earned media amounting to more than $420,000 in paid media
  • 27 editorials
  • 18 commentaries, opinion editorials, letters to the editor
  • More than 60 news articles

 

FL ALFA: MEANINGFUL ASSISTED LIVING REFORM

GOAL: Build proactive public affairs campaign to position assisted living reform as a key consumer protection issue facing Florida
SUCCESS:
Comprehensive assisted living reform passed both chambers and was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott

With aging Florida baby boomers preparing to enter assisted living communities, state lawmakers looked to put in place comprehensive, meaningful measures that would better protect Florida seniors.

The Florida Chapter of the Assisted Living Federation of America (FL ALFA) engaged BCC to help build a proactive public affairs campaign to educate lawmakers and the media on the need to reform the assisted living industry, positioning assisted living reform as a key consumer protection issue facing Florida. At opportune times, BCC inserted FL ALFA’s positive message and countered any arguments made by the opposition to keep the status quo; garnered earned media; and, developed collateral material to educate key decision makers.

Ultimately, the legislation passed both chambers and was signed into law by  Governor Rick Scott, making Florida a trailblazer in assisted living policy and allowing Florida’s seniors who reside in assisted living communities to be better served.

 

FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF HEALTH PLANS: PROACTIVE PUBLIC AFFAIRS CAMPAIGN

GOAL: To promote a single, coordinated system of care to serve Florida’s Medicaid population
SUCCESS: Single, coordinated system of care operated by Florida’s Health Plans remains intact since implementation

Following a concerted effort to reform the state’s Medicaid program, the Florida Association of Health Plans (FAHP) engaged BCC to assist with a proactive public affairs campaign and launched its “Knowledge is Key” public affairs campaign. The campaign featured informational and inspirational one-minute web videos that offered firsthand testimonials from patients who received vital care through a coordinated system managed by a health maintenance organization, to educate lawmakers, decision makers and the public on how health plans help and positively impact the lives of Floridians.

In addition to building and managing a microsite to house the videos, BCC coordinated an aggressive reporter outreach campaign, which resulted in FAHP maintaining its focus on patients and the outcome of reforming the status quo and its positive impact on Floridians.

 

FLORIDA BUSINESSES UNITE: “WHISKEY & WHEATIES” LEGISLATIVE FIGHT

GOAL: Veto legislation allowing for sale of hard liquor inside grocery and convenience stores
SUCCESS:
Legislation vetoed by Governor Scott

After watching the “Whiskey & Wheaties” bill narrowly pass the Florida Senate and House, more than 900 independent retailers that employ thousands of Floridians were on the edge of their seats waiting until the final hours of the Governor’s veto period to see whether their small businesses and their employees’ lives would be forever changed. But just hours until midnight on “V-Day,” Governor Rick
Scott vetoed the legislation.

Acting on behalf of a host of small independent and established liquor store chains across the state and other coalition members, including ABC Fine Wine & Spirits and Florida-based grocery store, Publix, under the banner of Florida Businesses Unite, once again teamed up with faith-based and law enforcement groups, to battle back legislation that would have allowed for the sale of hard liquor not only inside stores in the same area that groceries and other goods are sold, but also in convenience stores.

During the Legislative Session, BCC led the Florida Businesses Unite effort, engaging in an aggressive earned, paid and social media campaign that allowed members of the coalition from the Florida Keys to the Panhandle to speak out on how this legislation would have severely hurt their Florida-based
companies and employees, as well as increase access for minors. Further, hundreds of Florida small business owners and their employees frequently visited the Capitol to deliver their message to lawmakers and the Governor that the provisions outlined in the bill, combined with the no-compete clauses in many business leases, would cripple Florida-based businesses to the benefit out-of-state retailers looking to change the existing business model to increase their bottom lines.

Determined to save Florida small retailers and Florida jobs that help our local economies, more than 1,000 letters and more than 3,000 petitions from Floridians across the Sunshine State were delivered to Governor Scott in favor of a veto. In the end, hundreds of Florida small businesses and thousands of
Florida jobs were saved, along with safeguards for minors remaining in place.

 

APCIA: Multi-year Coalition Effort to Stop AOB Abuse

GOAL: Raise consumer awareness & educate/advocate for Florida lawmakers to pass AOB reform
SUCCESS:
Legislation signed into law by Governor DeSantis

Longtime client, APCIA, engaged BCC to help build a proactive public affairs campaign in coordination with the “Consumer Protection Coalition” that led to the passage of assignment of benefits (AOB) legislation and was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis.

Over the course of two years, BCC worked with the coalition and other PR professionals involved to plan and execute an aggressive earned, paid, digital and grassroots campaign. As a member of the coalition’s steering committee, BCC was instrumental in helping organize and navigate several PR activities at the Capitol, including press conferences with members of the Legislature, the Cabinet and state agency heads, as well as one-on-one media availabilities with Capitol Press Corps and deliveries to lawmakers and their staff, among a number of other PR activations.

Running parallel to the coalition’s effort, BCC also worked closely with APCIA’s government relations and communications teams to deliver their industry-specific message through earned and paid media activities, such as Capitol Press Corps interviews and briefings, editorial board meetings, statewide trade publication and covering reporters outreach, and advertising on key radio stations and digital platforms.

Because of the two-track effort and collective coordination among numerous partner groups, APCIA and the coalition were successful in raising consumer awareness of AOB abuse in Florida and advocating for Florida lawmakers to pass a bill to protect Florida home and business owners from bad actors who have been taking advantage of them and the legal system for years. As a result, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the legislation into law.

 

APCIA: Multi-year Coalition Effort to Toughen Florida’s Texting While Driving Law
Miami Herald

GOAL: Educate/advocate for Florida lawmakers to make texting while driving law stronger
SUCCESS:
Legislation signed into law by Governor DeSantis

Having worked with our team for more than a decade, APCIA engaged BCC to lead the communications effort in coordination with the “FL DNT TXT N DRIVE Coalition” that ultimately led to Governor Ron DeSantis signing legislation into law that would make texting while driving a primary offense and create a hands-free zone within school and work areas.

While it was a heart-felt issue among many at the Capitol, it took two years for all parties to get on board with finding the right solution to combat a growing distracted driving epidemic that endangers Florida roadways.

Through the FL DNT TXT N DRIVE Coalition, which included several victim families and law enforcement, to name a few, BCC worked with APCIA’s government relations and communications teams, along with the coalition coordinator, to develop a proactive earned and paid media campaign to increase awareness on this life-saving legislation. BCC devised and executed numerous PR activities bookending important dates at the Florida Capitol, including press conferences with members of the legislature, the Cabinet and key state agency heads; deliveries to lawmakers and staff; victim family videos; and radio and digital media advertising.

In tandem with the coalition’s effort, BCC also worked with the APCIA’s government relations and communications teams to showcase how insurers were pushing for tougher distracted driving laws before the media and engaging local constituents to reach out to their lawmakers to support the
language.

Because of the attention the bill sponsors and leadership in the House and Senate gave to this legislation, coupled with the dedicated victims and coalition members who traveled to Tallahassee time and again over two years to shine light on this important issue, the legislation was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis making Florida the 47 th state in the nation to make texting while driving a primary offense.

 

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