Landmark bill would increase transparency in government
BALTIMORE, MD – City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young today will continue his push to further promote transparency in government by introducing a landmark piece of legislation that will strengthen Baltimore’s rules on lobbying.
Council President Young’s legislation, Promoting Honesty in Lobbying, will improve current laws governing lobbying in the city by requiring individuals compensated any dollar amount for lobbying services to register as a legislative and/or executive branch lobbyist. Currently, individuals are only required to register as lobbyists if they earn $2,500 or more. Registration would also be required of any individual spending 20 percent or more of his or her time over a six-month period on lobbying activities for an employer, client, or other person.
The Promoting Honesty in Lobbying bill would also increase the per client registration fee for lobbyist from $20 to $100 and require lobbyists to disclose additional information regarding the total amount of money spent promoting or campaigning against any particular City Council bill, resolution or action by the executive branch.
“This landmark piece of legislation will help to shine a brighter light on the process of lobbying members of the city’s legislative and executive branches of government,” Council President Young said. “We owe it to our taxpaying citizens to be honest and transparent throughout the entire legislative process.”
The Promoting Honesty in Lobbying bill further strengthens the city’s lobbying rules by requiring the following:
* Identification of the total amount of money spent on all print, audio, visual and electronic publications that expressly encourage others to communicate with one or more public servants.
* Disclosure of the total amount of money spent in connection with professional help drafting an ordinance, resolution, regulation, executive order, amendment, position paper, testimony or similar document. Disclosure of help with advice or strategy, research, investigations or information gathering or attending or monitoring meetings, hearings or other events.
* The Council President’s bill prevents lobbyists from creating or attempting to create a fictitious impression of the public’s favorable or unfavorable position on any proposed ordinance, resolution or other action before the City Council, Mayor, Board of Estimates or other city agency. The bill also prohibits any communication from a fictitious person or person who did not grant consent for it to be sent to a councilmember, the Mayor or any other public servant charged with deciding a pending or proposed matter.
* The bill also prohibits a lobbyist from indirectly or directly stating that he or she can control or obtain the vote or other action of a councilmember, the Mayor or any other public servant or the approval or disapproval of any ordinance, resolution or other action.