|The House Government Organization Committee on Wednesday adopted House Bill 4957, which modifies state’s Ethics Act provisions relating to lobbyists and lobbying.
The Committee also adopted three amendments proposed by Delegate Kayla Young of Kanawha County. House Bill 4759:
· provides the Ethics Committee with authority to make rules or operate under statutory provisions (existing law mandated rulemaking);
· removes the ability of the Commission to issue a rule regarding registration of persons exempt from lobbying requirements;
· revises language relating to a lobbyist providing a photograph that meets specifications established by Commission rules;
· strikes language allowing the Commission to establish rules relating to fees for lobbyists’ training;
· establishes revised reportage for grassroots lobbying to include all expenditures made or incurred to date on behalf of the campaign, which totals shall be segregated according to financial category, including, but not limited to, the following: advertising, segregated by media, and, in the case of expenditures over $5,000 by outlet; contributions; entertainment, including meals and beverages; office expenses, including rent and the salaries and wages paid for staff and secretarial assistance or the proportionate amount thereof paid or incurred for lobbying campaign activities; consultants; and printing and mailing expenses.
The current Commission rule applied to reporting large expenditures, which Committee Counsel said were determined on a “case-by-case” basis.
Delegate Young’s amendments, as adopted by Committee, were:
· require lobbyists to provide information that includes the date in which the lobbyist was hired or contracted to represent an employer or employers;
· direct the Commission to maintain a search PDF database of registered lobbyists updated in the manner determined by the Commission;
· provide statutory language clarifications.
Delegate Young said the searchable PDF database aids in “transparency” because some lobbyists register after the Commission publishes its hardcopy listing of lobbyists. Data is also online.