State & Local Legislation & Policy

Brownstein is one of the most widely recognized and respected law and policy firms in the western U.S. and Washington D.C. With offices in four western states – Colorado, California, Nevada and New Mexico – we are a key player in each state’s legislative and policy arena. Our attorneys and policy consultants have established strategic relationships over the years with governors, legislative leaders and regulatory officials. Our government relations professionals find partnerships for clients to build coalitions and leverage collective strengths and resources. 

After decades of critical, on-the-ground experience, our State & Local Legislation Policy team knows that the political landscape is a moving target. The only way to garner success for our clients is to be there early, stay late, and be poised to address any legislative, policy or regulatory issue that may arise.

Comprised of accomplished individuals known for their extensive experience in public policy, political strategy and the nuances of the legislative system, our group includes former state and federal lobbyists, a former U.S. Senator, a former State Attorney General, a former State Senate Minority Leader, a former Governor’s Chief of Staff, a state legislative caucus director, state legislative staff, two former Deputy Attorneys General and an Assistant Solicitor General.

Representative Matters
  • Represents COGA and its member companies with respect to addressing all relevant legislation, statewide ballot measures, and local government regulations.

  • A district encountered a dispute with a Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) regarding jurisdiction over annexations and the district's provision of additional latent services. The district and LAFCO agreed to resolve their dispute through the introduction of special legislation rather than resorting to litigation. Services included drafting special state legislation, working with legislative consultants for the California Assembly and Senate, and governmental relations services.

  • Provided consulting services on behalf of the CA Fuel Cell Partnership which has resulted in a greater understanding within the capitol community about the technology and investment needs. Brownstein has also successfully executed a number of lobby days and capitol briefings for legislative and executive staff. The CaFCP is made up of local, state and federal offices and representatives from the private sector with an interest in passenger, heavy and medium-duty fuel cell electric vehicles and hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

  • Representing FirstElement Fuel, California's largest developer of hydrogen fueling infrastructure and leading retailer of hydrogen fuel for fuel cell electric passenger vehicles, for the past two years and in that time, secured legislation to modify the sales tax treatment of hydrogen fuel and have aggressively lobbied in support of additional funding for stations. Our efforts have led to a number of hydrogen “champions” within the legislature.

  • Represented several municipalities in obtaining over $300 million in economic development awards from State of Colorado.

  • Currently represent several high-profile ballot issue campaigns through drafting of measure, title setting process, and campaign finance compliance during statewide election.

  • Brownstein drafted, submitted, and lobbied for SB 124, a bill that amends Nevada Revised Statute 463.302 and permits the relocation of a gaming establishment and transfer of the nonrestricted gaming license to a location within 1 mile of the existing location if the move and transfer are necessary because the existing establishment (1) is adjacent to a military installation; and 92) has been designated by the Federal Government as necessary for the expansion of the military installation. The Bill was passed by the Nevada legislature and subsequently signed by the Governor on May 20, 2015.

  • Drafted joint powers agreement and oversaw the formation of a joint powers authority comprised of the six cities of the Monterey Peninsula. Presently represent the authority as special counsel before the California Public Utilities Commission with respect to a comprehensive replacement water supply project that includes a large desalination plant and potential advanced-treated reclaimed water and groundwater replenishment project. Further representation includes matters before the State Water Resources Control Board concerning compliance with a cease and desist order pertaining to the community's water supply and other related water matters.

  • Crafted and passed legislation on behalf of DealerTrack Processing Services to authorize the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles to implement an electronic lien and titling process as well as an electronic temporary tags and vehicle registration process. Organized a broad coalition of stakeholders including the Department of Motor Vehicles, County Clerks Association and new and used car dealers in order to pass and implement this expansive legislation.

  • Selected by the Colorado Republican Committee Chairman to serve as General Counsel to the Denver 2016 Host Committee in Denver’s effort to secure the Republican National Convention in 2016.

  • On behalf of a Fortune 100 company, composed a comprehensive elections and lobbying compliance manual for its Legal Counsel/Government Affairs departments. The manual covers multi-state and federal lobbying registration and reporting requirements, gift rules, workplace political activity, compliance with the regulatory burdens attached to independent campaign advocacy and direct campaign contributions, and ballot measure advocacy.

  • Worked with an aluminum company to defeat unfair state utility legislation.

  • Worked with the State Bar of Arizona to draft and enact a comprehensive reform/modernization of Arizona's trust laws. The law governs all aspects of trust formation, obligations, and maintenance. Also worked with the State Bar of Arizona to draft and enact a comprehensive code governing the alternative dispute resolution process in Arizona. The modernized arbitration law provides businesses in the state certainty and predictability when using the increasingly popular alternative to often costly and protracted litigation.

  • Enacted legislation providing for a corporate income tax credit for expenses incurred in the construction of environmentally sensitive building facilities and in the procurement of environmentally sensitive technology and machinery. Enactment of the legislation saved our client hundreds of thousands of dollars in state income taxes each year and helped keep high-paying jobs in an economically challenged rural area.

  • Ongoing provision of a wide range of services as City Attorney for city, including drafting ordinances, prosecuting and defending against litigation on a broad range of public agency matters, attending and representing public agency at City Commission and City Council meetings, and advising city regarding Open Meetings, Public Records Act, code enforcement, land use, CEQA, public contracting, property transaction, and related matters.

  • Provided strategic advice and organization to an informal coalition of companies concerned about the makeup of the Federal Judiciary, resulting in legislation to modernize judicial salaries passing both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.

  • On behalf of the American Resort Development Association and its 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded corporations, drafted, lobbied and passed legislation to expose and prevent fraudulent practices in the timeshare resale market. Worked with key industry stakeholders, legislators, the Governor's office, the Division of Real Estate, and the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office to pass these sweeping reforms for the fractional ownership industry.

  • On behalf of the trade association, CINEMA, spearheaded and successfully passed first-of-its-kind in the nation legislation to promote movie and television production in Colorado that had been attempted by other lobbying entities for the prior seven years without success. Since that time, worked with the Governor and Office of Economic Development and International Trade to secure over $15M in funding for the movie and television rebate program. Recently secured $5.3M in state funding for the rebate program which resulted in Quentin Tarantino choosing Telluride, Colorado as the location for directing his 8th feature film, The Hateful Eight.

  • On behalf of the City of Colorado Springs, secured $9M for a new cybersecurity intelligence center in partnership with the University of Colorado and federal Department of Defense and amended legislation to reduce the regulatory burden on the City’s Fire Department and EMS responders.

News & Events

Meet The Team

Michael F. Feeley Shareholder T 303.223.1237
Chris Frahm Shareholder T 619.702.6917
Alisa Nave-Worth Shareholder T 702.464.7061
Kenneth Khachigian Senior Partner T 949.498.3879
Douglas J. Friednash Shareholder T 303.223.1221
Sarah M. Mercer Shareholder T 303.223.1139
Gregory A. Brower Shareholder T 202.652.2340
Melissa Kuipers Blake Shareholder T 303.223.1164
Elisabeth L. Esposito Associate T 916.594.9717
Rosanna L. Carvacho Shareholder T 916.594.9714
Steven W. Farber Shareholder T 303.223.1109
R. James Nicholson Senior Counsel T 202.652.2344
Hal Stratton Shareholder T 505.724.9596
Carolynne C. White Shareholder T 303.223.1197
Jodi Stephens Senior Policy Advisor T 775.398.3809
Matthew J. Walker Policy Advisor T 702.464.7071