HR Advocacy

Thursday 2:40 – 3:40 PM

Session Description

The Kansas Legislature worked overtime in 2017 on many hot-button issues. Bright & Carpenter will review HR issues and trends at the Statehouse and provide tips for attendees on how to be a successful HR advocate.

Learning Objectives

  1. Review HR legislative issues, updates and trends.
  2. Receive Kansas state election update.
  3. Learn how to be a HR advocate.


Natalie Bright

Bright has more than eighteen years of experience lobbying on behalf of Kansas business and associations at the state and federal levels.  Her expertise is in lobbying business issues, specifically in the areas of taxation, human resources, insurance, judicial reform and transportation.

Bright has a joint degree in business administration and political science from the University of​ California-Riverside.  She received her law degree from Washburn School of Law in 1998 and began lobbying for the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry during the 1998 Legislative Session.  In 1999, Bright left the Chamber to work as a contract lobbyist.  In 2008, Bright joined her law school classmate, Marlee Carpenter, and opened her current firm.

Bright is active in a variety of statewide business coalitions and has been part of several reform efforts including recent workers’ compensation, immigration, unemployment compensation and health care reform efforts. During her career, she has worked on several key pieces of legislation including the 2012 Workers Compensation Reforms, which passed unanimously and the 2013 Kansas Unemployment Insurance Compensation Reforms. Bright is licensed to practice law in state of Kansas and resides in Shawnee, Kan. with her husband Kevin and four children.  


Marlee Carpenter

Carpenter has fifteen years of experience lobbying state legislative issues in Kansas.  Carpenter has been successful in coalition building efforts, forming broad-based coalitions around significant issues at the statehouse. Carpenter also has experience running the second largest political action committee (PAC) in Kansas.

Carpenter graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from Wichita State University and received her law degree from Washburn School of Law in 1999, with Deans Honors. After graduation, she took a government affairs position with the Kansas Chamber of Commerce working her way up to lead lobbyist. While with the Chamber, she worked on many significant pieces of legislation including the repeal of the property tax on business machinery and equipment, silica and asbestos legal reform and the phase-out of the state franchise tax.

Carpenter left the Chamber in May 2008 to begin work as a contract lobbyist with her business partner, Bright. She is active in many business and civic organizations in both the Topeka area as well as statewide. She resides in Topeka, Kan.  She is married to Thad Carpenter and has two children, Paige and Haley.