House Speaker David Ralston has unveiled an ethics reform bill aimed at expanding the definition of a lobbyist and restricting gifts from a lobbyist. House Bill 142 would define a lobbyist to include an individual who advocates for the purpose of influencing a public officer whether the individual is compensated or working pro bono.
The new definition does away with both the $1,000 expenditure and 10 percent time spent thresholds for lobbyist registration. The bill, as originally filed, would ban even the smallest expenditure of a lobbyist if for the benefit of a single member of the General Assembly.
Lobbyists would still be permitted to spend on committees, caucuses, and expenses to public officers for trips to conferences and meetings.
Michael Beckett, Esq. is a Research Associate at State and Federal Communications, Inc.