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SUMMARY OF KEY CHANGES TO THE STATE'S LOBBY LAW

Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky

This memo summarizes key changes to the state's Lobby Law, signed into law on December 30, 1999. Importantly, the bill established new requirements that are applicable to registration statements for 2000 and 1999 annual reports due January 15, 2000.

While this memo also discusses significant carry-over provisions from current law, it is not a comprehensive guide to all compliance requirements. The Lobby Commission has announced it will host workshops on the new Lobby Act in Albany during the month of February, with details to follow.

Summary

It is illegal for lobbyists to offer or give a "gift" with a value in excess of $75 to any public official. Lobbyists will be subject to bimonthly, semiannual and annual reporting requirements. The term "lobbying" would now include actions on municipal laws, ordinances, rules and rate-makings. All filings with the Commission will have to identify specific bills, rules and rate-makings on which the lobbyist expects to or has acted. Civil penalties are up to $25,000 for late filings (no more 15 day "grace period) and for offering or giving gifts of $75 or more, and $50,000 for making "false filings." The commission can also impose $25 per day late filing fees. Late and false filings can be prosecuted criminally, and are a Class A misdemeanor. A second criminal conviction for late filing or false statements within a five year period is a class E felony, worth up to 4 years in jail and $5,000 in penalties. The law was effective as of January 1, 2000, and the Lobby Commission was extended until March 31, 2008.

Gifts

Definition of lobbying:

Reporting requirements

Penalties and Enforcement: