UMD Lobbying Guidelines
Procedure for reviewing and prioritizing the university’s congressional appropriations and state budget/legislative requests
The University of Maryland (UMD), through the Office of Government Relations, makes federal appropriations requests to the Maryland Congressional delegation as well as state appropriations and legislative requests of Maryland state legislators every year.
Federal requests range from large programmatic requests for programs such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) to smaller, more targeted requests for federal research programs that benefit specific research centers on our campus. As of 2021, nonprofits and state and local government entities like UMD can also ask their members of Congress for an earmark, which provides funding directly to the recipient for a specific project with community benefit.
State requests can include funding for new academic institutes and funding for programs that support the state and community. The state budget process does not support line items for a specific school/college within the University, but state money can be sought to fund programs or initiatives that fall under a college or that are otherwise affiliated with the University.
Our state and federal elected officials cannot support every request they receive from their constituents, so it is important for the University to review and prioritize the requests we make at the state and federal level each year. This does not affect the ability of anyone in the UMD community to advocate on issues of personal importance in Annapolis or Washington, DC as a private citizen. However, all requests made on behalf of the university to our federal and state lawmakers are required to follow the procedures below. University staff and faculty are also required by law to disclose their lobbying activities at the federal level through the UMD Office of Government Relations.
All faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to contact our Office of Government Relations staff with any questions about the procedures below or to discuss a funding or legislative request further.
Process for obtaining approval for Congressional appropriations requests:
- Faculty and staff that are interested in obtaining Congressional appropriations for their university project or initiative must first approach the dean of their college to present their idea and obtain their dean’s support. They need to put together a two to three-page document describing the project, the likely federal agency sponsor, the funding amount, the benefit to campus (faculty and students involved, the amount of funding that would come directly to campus), and the benefit to the state of Maryland/the nation/federal agency/society broadly. Faculty and staff should approach their dean no later than November 1st each year, but they are strongly encouraged to approach their dean as early as possible. After obtaining approval from their dean, faculty and staff may contact Virginia Meehan, Director of Federal Relations, for assistance with the proposal and summary document.
- The deans will then meet with Virginia Meehan during the months of November and December to discuss the projects they would like to seek funding for in their respective colleges and divisions and help her rank them in order of priority to the college/division.
- Virginia Meehan will then discuss the proposals with Vice President for Research Gregory Ball, Provost Jennifer King Rice, Chief of Staff Michele Eastman and President Darryll J. Pines to decide which proposals to submit to the Congressional delegation and rank them in order of priority to the broader campus.
- Virginia Meehan will begin presenting these ideas to the Maryland Congressional staff and Appropriations Committee staff, often with the faculty/staff involved in the project or with President Pines, starting at the end of January and throughout the month of February.
- Members of Congress must submit their appropriations requests to the Appropriations Committee starting around early March in the House and April in the Senate. Typically, the bills are not finalized until the end of the calendar year. (This timeline varies significantly from year to year).
Process for obtaining approval for state budget and legislative requests:
- Faculty and staff that are interested in obtaining funding in the state budget for a specific university program or initiative, or pursuing legislation that will affect the University must first approach the dean of their college to present their idea and obtain their dean’s support. The next step is to put together a one-page document describing the need for legislation and/or funding, the benefit to campus (faculty and students involved, the amount of funding that would come directly to campus), and the benefit to Maryland/society broadly. Faculty should approach their dean no later than October 1st each year, but faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to approach their dean as early as possible. After obtaining approval from their dean, faculty and staff may contact Ross Stern, Executive Director of Government Relations or Molly McKee-Seabrook, Associate Director of Government Relations, for assistance with the proposal and summary document.
- The deans would then meet with Ross Stern and Molly McKee-Seabrook during the month of November to discuss the projects they would like to seek legislation and/or funding for in their respective colleges and help them rank them in order of priority to the college. The University is only able to support a limited number of bills of this nature during a single legislative session.
- After discussing the proposals with campus leadership and ranking the proposals in order of priority to the broader campus, Ross and Molly will present these recommendations to Vice President for Research Gregory Ball, Provost Jennifer King Rice, Chief of Staff Michele Eastman, and President Darryll J. Pines between mid-December and early January for final discussion and approval.
- Ross Stern and Molly McKee-Seabrook will assist in finding house and senate sponsors for the bill proposals that are approved and will work with members of the campus community to move through the legislative process.