The Premium Cigar Association (PCA) of the United States announced a new state advocacy grant program aimed at investing in state associations and their boots-on-the-ground lobbying capacity for the 2024 legislative cycle.
The resources in the program approved by the PCA board of directors will be spent much like a match grant program where the state association agrees to match funding by the PCA, going toward hiring contract lobbyists to advance positive legislation or fight back against erroneous regulations. State associations must have a basic infrastructure in place and must meet certain criteria to be eligible for funding, including having an incorporated state association and agree to accountability and transparency with the PCA about where the funds will be spent.
“This is not only a way for us to support existing state associations and their advocacy capacity, but it also establishes a baseline for starting a brand new state association with the prospective of seed funding. This criterion is a blueprint to get started and to receive funding. Our staff will continue to support individual associations and retailers with strategy and logistics, and this is a new tool to help maximize that effectiveness,” says Scott Pearce, executive director of the PCA.
Grant criteria include: having an incorporated and active state association; having an elected board of directors; having a designated treasurer with authority over accounts; agreeing to comply with PCA reporting requirements; agreeing to PCA involvement in consulting lobbyist selection process; agreeing to disclose any and all issues for which funds are used and for which lobbyist is engaged; and providing the PCA with the operating budget and amount and source of funds raised by the state association.
“This year, our team has been extremely effective in the states and is reflective of retailers stepping up to defend their businesses. This state grant program is aimed at spurring this level of activity and, frankly, success moving forward. Each year, our team must evaluate our priority area, and in the past, our Vision 50 strategic plan focused on litigation or international outreach. Make no mistake, this is the year of the states,” says Joshua Habursky, the PCA’s head of government affairs.
Applications can be submitted to the PCA online portal and will be reviewed by appropriate advocacy staff and the PCA Legislative Affairs Committee. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will reflect legislative/regulatory necessity in the state.