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ACT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2007-2008

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NO. 5.  AN ACT RELATING TO REGISTRATION OF LOBBYISTS.

(H.357)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  2 V.S.A. § 261(12) is amended to read:

(12)  “Lobbying firm” means a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, limited liability corporation, or unincorporated association which receives or is entitled to receive $500.00 or more in monetary or in‑kind compensation for engaging in lobbying, either personally or through its agents, in any calendar year and employs more than one individual lobbyist, contracts with at least one other lobbyist, or is affiliated with at least one other lobbyist.

Sec. 2.  2 V.S.A. § 263(a) is amended to read:

(a)  On forms provided by the secretary of state, every lobbyist shall register with the secretary of state before, or within 48 hours of, commencing lobbying activities.  A lobbyist shall file a separate registration statement for each of the lobbyist’s employers.  Each lobbying firm shall submit a list of the names of each lobbyist who is a partner, owner, officer, employee, or agent of the lobbying firm.  Each lobbying firm shall file a supplemental list within 48 hours of any changes that have occurred.


Sec. 3.  2 V.S.A. § 264 is amended to read:

§ 264.  REPORTS OF EXPENDITURES, COMPENSATION, AND GIFTS;
EMPLOYERS; LOBBYISTS

(a)  Every employer and every lobbyist registered or required to be registered under this chapter shall file disclosure reports with the secretary of state as follows:

(1)  on or before April 25, for the preceding period beginning on

January 1 and ending with the month of March 31;

(2)  on or before July 25, for the preceding period beginning on March April 1 and ending with June 30;

(3)  on or before January 25, for the preceding period beginning on

July 1 and ending with December 31.

(b)  An employer shall disclose for the period of the report the following information:

* * *

(2)  The total amount of compensation paid to lobbyists or lobbying firms for lobbying.  The employer shall report the name and address of each lobbyist or lobbying firm to which the employer pays compensation.  It shall be sufficient to include a prorated amount based on the value of the time devoted to lobbying where compensation is to be included for a lobbyist or lobbying firm whose activities under this chapter are incidental to regular employment or other responsibilities to the employer.

* * *

(c)  A lobbyist shall disclose for the period of the report the following information:

(1)  A total of all lobbying expenditures made by the lobbyist in each of the following categories:

* * *

(C)  contractual agreements in excess of $100.00 per year or direct business relationships that are in existence or were entered into within the previous 12 months between the employer lobbyist and:

* * *

(2)  The total amount of compensation paid to a lobbyist, who is not employed by, subcontracted by, or affiliated with a lobbying firm, for lobbying, including the name and address of each registered employer who engaged the services of the lobbyist reporting.  It shall be sufficient to include a prorated amount based on the value of the time devoted to lobbying where compensation is to be included for a lobbyist whose activities under this chapter are incidental to other responsibilities to the employer.  A lobbyist who is employed by, subcontracted by, or affiliated with a lobbying firm shall not report individual compensation.  The total compensation paid to the lobbying firm shall be reported pursuant to section 264b of this title.

* * *

(i)  A lobbyist, lobbying firm, or employer who fails to file a disclosure report on time shall pay a late reporting fee of $25.00 plus $10.00 for each day the disclosure report is late, not to exceed $175.00.

* * *

Sec. 4.  2 V.S.A. § 264b is added to read:

§ 264b.  Lobbying Firm Listings; reports of expenditures,
  COMPENSATION, AND GIFTS; lobbying firms

(a)  On forms provided by the secretary of state, every lobbying firm shall file a listing of all lobbyists who are employed by, subcontracted by, members of, or affiliated with the lobbying firm within 48 hours of any such lobbyists commencing lobbying activities.  The lobbying firm shall file an updated listing within 48 hours of any changes to the listing.

(b)  Every lobbying firm shall file a disclosure report on the same day as lobbyist disclosure reports are due under subsection 264(a) of this title which shall include:

(1)  A total of all lobbying expenditures made by the lobbying firm in each of the following categories:

(A)  advertising, including television, radio, print, and electronic media;

(B)  expenses incurred for telemarketing, polling, or similar activities if the activities are intended, designed, or calculated, directly or indirectly, to influence legislative or administrative action.  The report shall specify the amount, the person to whom the amount was paid, and a brief description of the activity;

(C)  contractual agreements in excess of $100.00 per year or direct business relationships that are in existence or were entered into within the previous 12 months between the lobbying firm and:

(i)  a legislator or administrator;

(ii)  a legislator’s or administrator’s spouse or civil union partner; or

(iii)  a legislator’s or administrator’s dependent household member;

(D)  the total amount of any other lobbying expenditures.

(2)  The total amount of compensation paid to a lobbying firm for lobbying with the name and address of each registered employer who engaged the services of the lobbying firm reporting.  It shall be sufficient to include a prorated amount based on the value of the time devoted to lobbying where compensation is to be included for a lobbying firm whose activities under this chapter are incidental to other responsibilities to the employer.

(3)  An itemized list of every gift the value of which is greater than $15.00, made by or on behalf of the lobbying firm to or at the request of one or more legislators or administrative officials or a member of a legislator’s or administrative official’s immediate family.  With respect to each gift, the lobbying firm shall report the date the gift was made, the nature of the gift, the value of the gift, the identity of any legislators or administrative officials who requested the gift, and the identity of any recipients of the gift.  Monetary gifts, other than political contributions, shall be prohibited.

Sec. 5.  2 V.S.A. § 265 is amended to read:

§ 265.  PUBLIC ACCESS; REGISTRATION STATEMENTS; REPORTS

The secretary of state shall maintain copies of all lobbyist and employer registration statements and disclosure reports and all lobbying firm disclosure reports arranged alphabetically, which shall be a public record available for public inspection during ordinary business hours.  The secretary of state shall also compile and maintain a separate report for each reporting period for each legislator or administrative official indicating the gifts reported to have been given to that legislator or official during the reporting period by employers or, lobbyists, or lobbying firms, which shall be a public record available for public inspection during ordinary business hours.  On January 1 of each odd‑numbered year, the secretary may discard statements and reports that have been maintained for a period of four years.

Sec. 6.  2 V.S.A. § 266 is amended to read:

§ 266.  PROHIBITED CONDUCT

It shall be prohibited conduct:

(1)  to employ a lobbyist or lobbying firm, or accept employment as a lobbyist or lobbying firm, for compensation that is dependent on a contingency;

(2)  for a legislator or administrative official to solicit a gift, other than a political contribution, from a registered employer or registered lobbyist or a lobbying firm engaged by an employer, except that charitable contributions for nonprofit organizations qualified under section Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code may be solicited from registered employers and registered lobbyists or lobbying firms engaged by an employer; or

(3)  when the general assembly is in session, until adjournment sine die, for a legislator or administrative official to solicit a political campaign contribution as defined in 17 V.S.A. § 2801 from a registered lobbyist or a lobbying firm engaged by an employer or registered employer or for a registered lobbyist or registered employer or a lobbying firm engaged by an employer to make or promise a political campaign contribution to any member of the general assembly or any member’s campaign committee.

Sec. 7.  REPORT

On or before April 1, 2008, the secretary of state shall file a report with the house and senate committees on government operations which evaluates the effectiveness of chapter 11 of Title 2 with a particular focus on amendments to that chapter contained in this act.

Sec. 8.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

Approved:  April 12, 2007



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us