Philadelphia Delays Enforcing New Lobbying Law; Next Meeting August 17

On July 7, 2011, Philadelphia’s City Government Board of Ethics held a special meeting to deal with Philadelphia’s new lobbying registration and disclosure law, which was to take effect on July 1, 2011. At the meeting, the Board adopted a Resolution to postpone enforcement of the new law, until the final regulations (with any amendments) are approved. The earliest that can happen is 30 days after the next public meeting, which is scheduled for August 17, 2011; but may take even longer.

We know that the original proposed lobbying regulations were flawed. You can read my criticism in my 6/21/10 blog article (updated 6/21/11) entitled Philadelphia’s New Lobbying Law Silences Grassroots Advocacy.  The Philadelphia Bar Association, the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Philadelphia’s Committee of Seventy and even Common Cause of Pennsylvania acknowledged the need to amend the draft regulations.  That said, we still don’t know how the Ethics Board plans to fix it.  As far as I am aware, amendments have not yet been posted.

The point is that lobbying laws that are vague, complicated, or costly to comply with, chill advocacy rights for small businesses, charities and average taxpayers. How much will compliance with the new regulation cost you or your organization? Tell Philadelphia’s Ethics Board and City Council members how the new lobbying regulations will impact you. THERE IS STILL MUCH THEY HAVEN’T HEARD.

HERE ARE MY SOLUTIONS:  (1) raise the registration and reporting threshold to $5,000 per reporting period; (2) lower the registration fee to $100; (3) simplify requirements for tracking communications and expenses; (4) lower the penalties to $50 per late day (maximum $2,000);  and (5) reduce the ban on lobbying from 5 years to 2 years.

Remember, IT’S YOUR RIGHT to petition city hall, to talk to your local government official and to engage in grassroots advocacy!

For details about Philadelphia’s new law, its consequences for nonprofit organizations, small businesses and individual advocates, read my 6/21/10 article (updated 6/21/11) entitled Philadelphia’s New Lobbying Law Silences Grassroots Advocacy. Your comments are welcome.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: