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Committee Substitute House Bill 4354 History

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COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE

for

H. B. 4354

         (By Delegates Fleischauer, Manypenny,

         Perdue, Ellem, Longstreth, Marshall, Miller,

         Guthrie and Lane)

(Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary)

[February 21, 2014]

 

A BILL to amend and reenact §6B-3-1, §6B-3-2 and §6B-3-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to requiring lobbyists to report contingent compensation for all lobbying activities; requiring the filing of agreements that include contingent compensation; and amending the phrase “lobbying activity” and “lobbying firm.”

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §6B-3-1, §6B-3-2 and §6B-3-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 3. LOBBYISTS.

§6B-3-1. Definitions.

    As used in this article, unless the context in which used clearly indicates otherwise:

    (1) "Compensation" means money or any other thing of value received or to be received by a lobbyist from an employer for services rendered.

    (2) “Contingent compensation” means money or any other thing of value received or to be received by a lobbyist from an employer for successful lobbying activity.

    (2) (3) "Employer" or "lobbyist's employer" means any person who employs or retains a lobbyist.

    (3) (4) "Expenditure" means payment, distribution, loan, advance deposit, reimbursement, or gift of money, real or personal property or any other thing of value; or a contract, promise or agreement, whether or not legally enforceable.

    (4) (5) "Government officer or employee" means a member of the Legislature, a legislative employee, the Governor and other members of the Board of Public Works, heads of executive departments and any other public officer or public employee under the legislative or executive branch of state government who is empowered or authorized to make policy and perform nonministerial functions. In the case of elected offices included herein, the term "government officer or employee" includes candidates who have been elected but who have not yet assumed office.

    (5) (6) "Legislation" means bills, resolutions, motions, amendments, nominations and other matters pending or proposed in either house of the Legislature and includes any other matters that may be the subject of action by either house or any committee of the Legislature and all bills or resolutions that, having passed both houses, are pending approval or veto by the Governor.

    (6) (7) "Lobbying" or "lobbying activity" means the act of communicating with a government officer or employee to promote, advocate or oppose or otherwise attempt: to influence:

    (i) To influence the passage or defeat or the executive approval or veto of any legislation which may be considered by the Legislature of this state; or

    (ii) To influence the adoption or rejection of any rule, regulation, legislative rule, standard, rate, fee or other delegated legislative or quasilegislative action to be taken or withheld by any executive department; or

    (iii) To solicit others to communicate with a government officer or employee to influence legislative action or executive action.

    (7) (8) "Lobbying firm" means any business entity, including an individual contract lobbyist, which meets either of the following criteria:

    (A) The business entity receives or becomes entitled to receive any compensation, other than reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, for the purpose of lobbying on behalf of any other person, and any partner, owner, officer or employee of the business entity.

    (B) The business entity receives or becomes entitled to receive any compensation, other than reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, to communicate directly with any elected state official, agency official or legislative official for the purpose of lobbying on behalf of any other person.

    (8) (9) (A) "Lobbyist" means any individual employed by a lobbying firm or who is otherwise employed or contracts for economic consideration, other than reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, to communicate directly or through his or her agents with any elective state official, agency official or legislative official for the purpose of promoting, advocating, opposing or otherwise attempting to influence:

    (i) The passage or defeat or the executive approval or veto of any legislation which may be considered by the Legislature of this state; or

    (ii) The adoption or rejection of any rule, legislative rule, standard, rate, fee or other delegated legislative or quasilegislative action to be taken or withheld by any executive department.

    (B) The term "lobbyist" does not include the following persons, who are exempt from the registration and reporting requirements set forth in this article, unless they engage in activities which would otherwise subject them to the registration and reporting requirements:

    (i) Persons who limit their lobbying activities to appearing before public sessions of committees of the Legislature, or public hearings of state agencies, are exempt.

    (ii) Persons who limit their lobbying activities to attending receptions, dinners, parties or other group functions and make no expenditure in connection with such lobbying are exempt.

    (iii) Persons who engage in news or feature reporting activities and editorial comment as working members of the press, radio or television and persons who publish or disseminate such news, features or editorial comment through a newspaper, book, regularly published periodical, radio station or television station are exempt.

    (iv) Persons who lobby without compensation or other consideration, other than reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, for acting as lobbyists, who are not employed by a lobbying firm or lobbyist employer, and whose total expenditures in connection with lobbying activities do not exceed $150 during any calendar year, are exempt. The exemptions contained in this subparagraph and in subparagraph (ii) are intended to permit and encourage citizens of this state to exercise their Constitutional rights to assemble in a peaceable manner, consult for the common good, instruct their representatives, and apply for a redress of grievances. Accordingly, such persons may lobby without incurring any registration or reporting obligation under this article. Any person exempt under this subparagraph or subparagraph (ii) may at his or her option register and report under this article.

    (v) Persons who lobby on behalf of a nonprofit organization with regard to legislation, without compensation, and who restrict their lobbying activities to no more than twenty days or parts thereof during any regular session of the Legislature, are exempt. The commission may promulgate a legislative rule to require registration and reporting by persons who would otherwise be exempt under this subparagraph, if it determines that such rule is necessary to prevent frustration of the purposes of this article. Any person exempt under this subparagraph may, at his or her option, register and report under this article.

    (vi) The Governor, members of the Governor's staff, members of the Board of Public Works, officers and employees of the executive branch who communicate with a member of the Legislature on the request of that member, or who communicate with the Legislature, through the proper official channels, requests for legislative action or appropriations which are deemed necessary for the efficient conduct of the public business or which are made in the proper performance of their official duties, are exempt.

    (vii) Members of the Legislature are exempt.

    (viii) Persons employed by the Legislature for the purpose of aiding in the preparation or enactment of legislation or the performance of legislative duties are exempt.

    (ix) Persons rendering professional services in drafting proposed legislation or in advising or rendering opinions to clients as to the construction and effect of proposed or pending legislation are exempt.

    (9) (10) "Person" means any individual, partnership, trust, estate, business trust, association or corporation; any department, commission, board, publicly supported college or university, division, institution, bureau or any other instrumentality of the state; or any county, municipal corporation, school district or any other political subdivision of the state.

§6B-3-2. Registration of lobbyists.

    (a) Before engaging in any lobbying activity, or within thirty days after being employed as a lobbyist, whichever occurs first, a lobbyist shall register with the Ethics Commission by filing a lobbyist registration statement. The registration statement shall contain information and be in a form prescribed by the Ethics Commission by legislative rule, including, but not limited to, the following information:

    (1) The registrant's name, business address, telephone numbers and any temporary residential and business addresses and telephone numbers used or to be used by the registrant while lobbying during a legislative session;

    (2) The name, address and occupation or business of the registrant's employer;

    (3) A statement as to whether the registrant is employed or retained by his or her employer solely as a lobbyist or is a regular employee performing services for the employer which include, but are not limited to, lobbying;

    (4) A statement as to whether the registrant is employed or retained by his or her employer under any agreement, arrangement or understanding according to which the registrant's compensation, or any portion of the registrant's compensation, is or will be contingent upon the success of his or her lobbying activity;

    (5) The general subject or subjects, if known, on which the registrant will lobby or employ some other person to lobby in a manner which requires registration under this article; and

    (6) An appended written authorization from each of the lobbyist's employers confirming the lobbyist's employment and the subjects on which the employer is to be represented.

    (b) Any agreement, arrangement or understanding according to which the registrant's compensation, or any portion of the registrant's compensation, is or will be contingent upon the success of his or her lobbying must be in writing and filed with the Ethics Commission no later than:

    (1) December 15; or

    (2) If not entered into by December 15, than within five days of the execution of the agreement, arrangement or understanding.

    (c) Any lobbyist who receives or is to receive compensation from more than one person for services as a lobbyist shall file a separate notice of representation with respect to each person compensating him or her for services performed as a lobbyist. When a lobbyist whose fee for lobbying with respect to the same subject is to be paid or contributed by more than one person, then the lobbyist may file a single statement, in which he or she shall detail the name, business address and occupation of each person paying or contributing to the fee.

    (c) (d) Whenever a change, modification or termination of the lobbyist's employment occurs, the lobbyist shall, within one week of the change, modification or termination, furnish full information regarding the change, modification or termination by filing with the commission an amended registration statement.

    (d) (e) Each lobbyist who has registered shall file a new registration statement, revised as appropriate, on the Monday preceding the second Wednesday in January of each odd-numbered year and failure to do so terminates his or her authorization to lobby. Until the registration is renewed, the person may not engage in lobbying activities unless he or she is otherwise exempt under paragraph (B), subdivision (7), section one of this article.

    (e) (f) The following public officers or employees may not, during or up to one year after the termination of their public employment or service, be allowed to register as lobbyists:

    (1) Members of the Legislature;

    (2) Members of the Executive Department as referenced in article VII, section one of the Constitution of West Virginia;

    (3) Will and pleasure professional employees of the Legislature under the direct supervision of a member of the Legislature;

    (4) Will and pleasure professional employees of members of the Executive Department under the direct supervision of the Executive Department officer and who regularly, personally and substantially participates in a decision-making or advisory capacity regarding agency or department policy;

    (5) Members of the Supreme Court of Appeals;

    (6) Any department secretary of an executive branch department created by the provisions of section two, article one, chapter five-f of this code; and

    (7) Heads of any state departments or agencies.

§6B-3-4. Reporting by lobbyists.

    (a) A registered lobbyist shall file with the commission reports of his or her lobbying activities and contingent compensation, signed by the lobbyist. The reports shall be filed three times a year as follows:

    (1) On or before May 15, a lobbyist shall report all lobbying activities in which he or she engaged from January 1 through April 30. The report shall include contingent compensation paid to the lobbyist for all lobbying activities engaged in during this period.

    (2) On or before September 15, a lobbyist shall report all lobbying activities in which he or she engaged from May 1 through August 31. The report shall include contingent compensation paid to the lobbyist for all lobbying activities engaged in during this period.

    (3) On or before January 15, a lobbyist shall report all lobbying activities in which he or she engaged from September 1 through December 31. The report shall include contingent compensation paid to the lobbyist for all lobbying activities engaged in during this period.

    (b) If the date on which a lobbyist expenditure report is due falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the report will be considered timely filed if it is postmarked not later than the next business day. If a registered lobbyist files a late report, the lobbyist shall pay the commission a fee of $10 for each late day, not to exceed a total of $250. If a registered lobbyist fails to file a report or to pay the required fee for filing an untimely report, the commission may, after written notice sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, suspend the lobbyist's privileges as a registered lobbyist until the lobbyist has satisfactorily complied with all reporting requirements and paid the required fee.

    (c) (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, each report filed by a lobbyist shall show the total amount of all expenditures for lobbying activities made or incurred by on behalf of the lobbyist during the period covered by the report. The report shall also show subtotals segregated according to financial category, including meals and beverages; living accommodations; advertising; travel; contributions; gifts to public officials or employees or to members of the immediate family of a public official or employee; and other expenses or services.

    (2) Lobbyists are not required to report the following:

    (A) Unreimbursed personal living and travel expenses not incurred directly for lobbying;

    (B) Any expenses incurred for the lobbyist's own living accommodations;

    (C) Any expenses incurred for the lobbyist's own travel to and from public meetings or hearings of the legislative and executive branches; or

    (D) Any expenses incurred for telephone and any office expenses, including rent and salaries and wages paid for staff and secretarial assistance.

    (d) If a lobbyist is employed by more than one employer, the report shall show the proportionate amount of the expenditures in each category incurred on behalf of each of his or her employers.

    (e) The report shall describe the subject matter of the lobbying activities in which the lobbyist has been engaged during the reporting period.

    (f) If, during the period covered by the report, the lobbyist made expenditures or expenditures were made or incurred on behalf of the lobbyist in the reporting categories of meals and beverages, living accommodations, travel, gifts or other expenditures, other than for those expenditures governed by subsection (g) of this section, the lobbyist shall report the name of the public official or employee to whom or on whose behalf the expenditures were made, the total amount of the expenditures, and the subject matter of the lobbying activity, if any: Provided, That a registered lobbyist who entertains more than one public official or public employee at a time with meals and beverages complies with the provisions of this section if he or she reports the names of the public officials or public employees entertained and the total amount expended for meals and beverages for all of the public officials or public employees entertained: Provided, however, That where several lobbyists join in entertaining one or more public officials or public employees at a time with meals and beverages, each lobbyist complies with the provisions of this section by reporting the names of the public officials or public employees entertained and his or her proportionate share of the total amount expended for meals and beverages for all of the public officials or public employees entertained. Under this subsection, no portion of the amount of an expenditure for a dinner, party or other function sponsored by a lobbyist's employer need be attributed to a particular public official or employee who attends the function if the sponsor has invited to the function all the members of: (1) The Legislature; (2) either house of the Legislature; (3) a standing or select committee of either house; or (4) a joint committee of the two houses of the Legislature. However, the amount spent for the function shall be added to other expenditures for the purpose of determining the total amount of expenditures reported under subdivision (1), subsection (c) of this section: Provided further, That if the expenditure is for a function to which the entire membership of the Legislature has been invited, the lobbyist need only report that fact, the total amount of the expenditure and the subject matter of the lobbying activity.

    (g) If, during the period covered by the report, the lobbyist made expenditures in the reporting categories of meals and beverages, lodging, travel, gifts and scheduled entertainment for or on behalf of a particular public official or public employee in return for the participation of the public official or employee in a panel or speaking engagement at a meeting, the lobbyist shall report the name of the public official or employee to whom or on whose behalf the expenditures were made and the total amount of the expenditures.

    (h) The Ethics Commission shall publish reports filed pursuant to subsection (a), on the Commission’s Internet website.

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