State Agency Lobbying Reform Act


This Act may be cited as the State Agency Lobbying Reform Act

State Agency Lobbying Reform Act

Section 1.

The Legislature finds that citizens are opposed to state agencies using public funds to influence the Legislature to protect themselves and their employees from meaningful reforms. Lobbying by state agencies is often conducted to increase the size, scope and cost of the state agencies, or to prevent budget cuts. Citizens should not be forced to fund the same lobbyists they may have to compete with at public hearings where state agency reductions and reforms are proposed. Therefore, the Legislature finds that taxpayer-funded lobbying should be restricted, and that when such lobbying does occur, citizens are given a full accounting of an agency’s lobbying activities.

Section 2. {Definitions}

(A) “State Agency” means every state office, department, division, bureau, board, commission, or other state agency.

(B) “Director” shall mean the head of a state agency or equivalent position.

(C) “Deputy director” means the individual appointed to act on behalf of the director in the administration of the affairs of the agency and who shall have charge and general supervision of the department in the absence or disability of the director, and who, in case a vacancy occurs in the office of director, shall continue in charge of the department until a director is appointed and qualified, or the governor appoints an acting director.

(D) “Lobby” and “lobbying” each mean attempting to influence the passage or defeat of any legislation by the state Legislature or the United States Congress, or the adoption or rejection of any rule, standard, rate, or other legislative enactment of any state agency.

(E)  “Lobby” and “lobbying” do not include:

1)      Recommendations or reports to the Legislature in response to a legislative request expressly requesting or directing a specific study, recommendation, or report by an agency on a particular subject.

2)      Official reports including recommendations submitted to the Legislature on a regular basis by a state agency as required by law.

3)      Requests, recommendations, or communication between or within state agencies.

(F)   “Lobbyist” includes any person who lobbies either in his or her own or another’s behalf.

Section 3. {Prohibition of lobbying}

(A) No elected official, appointed official, or employee of any state agency shall perform lobbying activities while representing said state agency, except in accordance with the provisions of this article, or as otherwise provided by law;

(B)  No state agency shall expend public funds for the purpose of lobbying activities, except in accordance with the provisions of this article, or as otherwise provided by law.

(C)  Only the Director and Deputy Director of a State Agency are permitted to engage in lobbying activities. The Director or Deputy Director may be assisted by agency staff, but may not delegate lobbying activities to staff.

(D) No state agency may enter into a contract for lobbying activities;

(E)  No state agency may pay dues for membership in any organization, public or private, that engages in lobbying activities.

Section 4.

(A) {Disclosure} Any state agency which lobbies as permitted in Section 3 of this article shall file quarterly statements with the state agency regulating lobbying providing the following information for the quarter just completed:

(1)   The name of the agency filing the statement;

(2)   The name, title, job description and salary of each elected official, officer, or employee who lobbied; a general description of the nature of the lobbying; and the proportionate amount of time spent on the lobbying;

(3)   An itemized list of any expenditures of public funds on lobbying activities, including but not limited to travel, food, drinks, and publications, the purpose of which is to influence legislation;

(4)   A listing of specific issues and/or legislation which were the subject of the public agency’s lobbying activities, and a listing of specific lobbying activities undertaken related to each specific issue and/or legislation, as well as a listing of specific legislators, committees, or state agencies with whom these issues were discussed;

(5)   The state agency director or a designee of the state agency director must prepare and file the statement.

(6)   The statement must be signed by the state agency director.

(B)  {Penalties}

(1)   Any state agency official, officer, or employee who expends public funds in violation of this chapter may be subject to a civil penalty equivalent to the amount of funds expended.

(2)    Any state agency director that fails to disclose lobbying activities as required in this chapter may be subject to a civil penalty equivalent to the amount of funds expended but not disclosed.

(3)   Any state agency found in violation of this chapter may be prohibited from any and all lobbying activities for not more than two years.

Section 5. {Severability clause.}

Section 6. {Repealer clause.}

Section 7. {Effective date.}