When is an Issue a Legislative Matter? Very simply, if the solution to a problem requires creating a new public program or significantly changing an existing program, legislation is required to authorize the proper department to establish a new program or to amend an existing program.
No matter how well we explain the legislative process, we cannot capture its unpredictability. The best advocacy tactics can be skewed by politics, personalities, or a veto by the executive power. The only way to get a feel for this fluidity is to get involved.
Is this a Regulatory or Executive Branch Issue? There are two occasions when you would pursue an issue through the executive branch. If you have worked hard for pasage of a particular law, the appopriate executive branch agency (e.g., the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Insurance) issues proposed rules and regulations explaining how the department intends to implement the law. If your review of the proposed rules reveals that the program will not be implemented as the legislature intended, you can become involved in the regulatory process during the scheduled comment period where members of the public submit testimony or written comments. If the proposed final rules are still unsatisfactory, you can raise the matter with the bill's sponsors to see if they will use their authority of "legislative oversight over the executive branch" to investigate and correct the problem before the rules become effective.
The other instance that would require advocacy work in the executive branch is when problems occur with an established program. If you believe a program is not fulfilling its purpose, you can contact the program director or the secretary of the department and request that the problem be resolved. it is a good idea to approach the agency with the support of a legislator (or legislators from the committee of jurisdiction over this particular department) to accelerate the response from the public, the press, and the legislative branch before the executive branch department will fix a problem.