Lobbyist Changes 2011

FROM S.B. 17 and HB 232 both effective on 1/10/2011

REGISTRATION CHANGES

  • Definitional changes to the term “lobbyist” include: 1) a 10% threshold for determining when an individual’s lobbying activities rise to the level of requiring registration; 2) a $1,000 per calendar year threshold (increased from $250) for any person who makes expenditures to influence legislation; and 3) exemption for bona fide salespersons from the definition of vendor lobbyist.
  • Prohibits a lobbyist from registering if convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude within the last 10 years and requires oath verifying no conviction exists. Oath will be contained in the lobbyist registration form. Explanation of felonies occurring more than 10 years prior must be provided.
  • Registration fees for lobbyists are increased to $300 annually plus $10 for every additional client added. Additionally $20 is charged for each lobbyist badge issued.
  • Expands the definition of lobbying a “state agency” to include local political subdivisions. This change expands the realm of state agency and vendor lobbyists to include, with respect to vendor lobbyists, anyone who otherwise qualifies as a lobbyist and who is attempting to influence a local county, city or other municipal officials in the selection of goods or services provided to the local government unit or, with respect to state agency lobbyists, anyone who otherwise qualifies as a lobbyistwho and is hired to influence the passage of any rule or regulation of any local county, city or other municipal government unit.

REPORTING CHANGES

  • For reporting purposes, adds the following to the term Expenditure, “reimbursement or payment of actual and reasonable expenses provided to a public officer for transportation (unless not arranged by the lobbyist), travel, lodging, registration, food, beverages, and other activities related to attending a meeting or conference”.
  • Requires all lobbyists to file disclosure reports electronically.
  • Requires identification of public officers on whose behalf expenditures are made and on whose behalf the lobbyist is registered.
  • Requires lobbyists involved in legislation before the General Assembly to file disclosure reports on a bimonthly basis during the Session and a monthly basis outside the Session.
  • Requires lobbyists involved in local ordinances or rule making to file disclosure reports by the fifth day of May, September and January for the preceding period, excluding state employees who must file monthly for the same activities (there was no change in the reporting for these lobbyists).
  • Requires lobbyists involved in influencing the selection of state vendors to file disclosure reports on a monthly basis (except for those who file bimonthly during Session).

FEES and FINES

  • Adds cumulative late fees of $250, $1,000 (total of $1250 on the 15th day after the report is due) and $10,000 (total of $12,250 on the 45th day after the report is due) for failure to timely file report
  • H.B. 232 added a 3 day grace period for lobbyist reports
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