BILL REQ. #: H-2242.3
|State of Washington||62nd Legislature||2011 1st Special Session|
Read first time 05/05/11. Referred to Committee on State Government & Tribal Affairs.
AN ACT Relating to state agencies' lobbying activities; amending RCW 42.17A.635 and 42.17A.750; creating new sections; prescribing penalties; and providing an effective date.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1 This act may be known and cited as the
taxpayer funded lobbying reform act.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2 The legislature finds citizens are opposed
to state agencies using public funds to influence the legislature to
protect government agencies and their employees to the detriment of
taxpayers. Washington has a current prohibition that no public funds
may be used directly or indirectly for lobbying. However, there are a
multitude of exceptions, so the activity continues. In times when
citizens want government to reduce costs and enact meaningful reforms,
it is counterproductive to have multiple government paid personnel
fighting to preserve the status quo or expand agency activities so that
reductions of, and implementation of efficiencies in, government
agencies are stymied.
The legislature finds that restricting lobbying activities will save scarce resources. Citizens should not be forced to use their hard-earned taxpayer dollars to fund lobbyists they may have to compete against during legislative public hearings where state agency reductions and reforms are proposed.
It is the intent of the legislature to reaffirm and strengthen the lobbying prohibition in current law. It directs that lobbying and informational activities are to be done by the officials in charge of the agency instead of hiring lobbyists to engage in such activities.
Sec. 3 RCW 42.17A.635 and 2010 c 204 s 808 are each amended to
read as follows:
(1) The house of representatives and the senate shall report annually: The total budget; the portion of the total attributed to staff; and the number of full-time and part-time staff positions by assignment, with dollar figures as well as number of positions.
(2) Unless authorized by subsection (3) of this section or otherwise expressly authorized by law, no public funds may be used directly or indirectly for lobbying. However, this does not prevent officers or employees of an agency from communicating with a member of the legislature on the request of that member; or communicating to the legislature, through the ((
proper official channels)) state agency's
elected officials, appointed officials, director, or deputy directors,
requests for legislative action or appropriations that are deemed
necessary for the efficient conduct of the public business or actually
made in the proper performance of their official duties. Agency
employees may assist with but may not be delegated lobbying activities.
This subsection does not apply to the legislative branch.
(3)(a) Any ((
agency, not otherwise expressly authorized by law, may
expend public funds for)) agency's elected officials, appointed
officials, director, or deputy directors may engage in lobbying
activities, but such lobbying activity shall be limited to (( (a)))
providing information or communicating on matters pertaining to
official agency business to any elected official or officer or employee
of any agency (( or (b) advocating the official position or interests of
the agency to any elected official or officer or employee of any
(b) Public funds may not be expended as a direct or indirect gift or campaign contribution to any elected official or officer or employee of any agency. For the purposes of this subsection, "gift" means a voluntary transfer of any thing of value without consideration of equal or greater value, but does not include informational material transferred for the sole purpose of informing the recipient about matters pertaining to official agency business. This section does not permit the printing of a state publication that has been otherwise prohibited by law.
(c) No state agency may enter into a contract for lobbying activities.
(d) No state agency may pay dues for membership in any organization, public or private, that engages in lobbying activities.
(4) No elective official or any employee of his or her office or any person appointed to or employed by any public office or agency may use or authorize the use of any of the facilities of a public office or agency, directly or indirectly, in any effort to support or oppose an initiative to the legislature. "Facilities of a public office or agency" has the same meaning as in RCW 42.17A.555 and 42.52.180. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to the following activities:
(a) Action taken at an open public meeting by members of an elected legislative body to express a collective decision, or to actually vote upon a motion, proposal, resolution, order, or ordinance, or to support or oppose an initiative to the legislature so long as (i) any required notice of the meeting includes the title and number of the initiative to the legislature, and (ii) members of the legislative body or members of the public are afforded an approximately equal opportunity for the expression of an opposing view;
(b) A statement by an elected official in support of or in opposition to any initiative to the legislature at an open press conference or in response to a specific inquiry;
(c) Activities that are part of the normal and regular conduct of the office or agency;
(d) Activities conducted regarding an initiative to the legislature that would be permitted under RCW 42.17A.555 and 42.52.180 if conducted regarding other ballot measures.
(5) Each state agency, county, city, town, municipal corporation, quasi-municipal corporation, or special purpose district that expends public funds for lobbying shall file with the commission, except as exempted by (d) of this subsection, quarterly statements providing the following information for the quarter just completed:
(a) The name of the agency filing the statement;
(b) The name, title, and job description and salary of each elected official, officer, or employee who lobbied, a general description of the nature of the lobbying, and the proportionate amount of time spent on the lobbying;
(c) A listing of expenditures incurred by the agency for lobbying including but not limited to travel, consultant or other special contractual services, and brochures and other publications, the principal purpose of which is to influence legislation;
(d) For purposes of this subsection, "lobbying" does not include:
(i) Requests for appropriations by a state agency to the office of financial management pursuant to chapter 43.88 RCW nor requests by the office of financial management to the legislature for appropriations other than its own agency budget requests;
(ii) Recommendations or reports to the legislature in response to a legislative request expressly requesting or directing a specific study, recommendation, or report by an agency on a particular subject;
(iii) Official reports including recommendations submitted to the legislature on an annual or biennial basis by a state agency as required by law;
(iv) Requests, recommendations, or other communication between or within state agencies or between or within local agencies;
(v) Any other lobbying to the extent that it includes((
:)) telephone conversations or preparation of written
(B) In-person lobbying on behalf of an agency of no more than four days or parts thereof during any three-month period by officers or employees of that agency and in-person lobbying by any elected official of such agency on behalf of such agency or in connection with the powers, duties, or compensation of such official. The total expenditures of nonpublic funds made in connection with such lobbying for or on behalf of any one or more members of the legislature or state elected officials or public officers or employees of the state of Washington may not exceed fifteen dollars for any three-month period. The exemption under this subsection (5)(d)(v)(B) is in addition to the exemption provided in (d)(v)(A) of this subsection;
(C) Preparation or adoption of policy positions
(6) The statement must be signed and filed by the agency director within one month after the end of the quarter covered by the report.
(7) Each state agency director who knowingly fails to file statements required pursuant to this section is subject to personal liability in the form of a civil penalty in the amount of one hundred dollars. These penalties are in addition to any other civil remedies or sanctions imposed on the agency.
(8) A state agency may not engage in lobbying activities for a period of one year after the failure of its director to file statements for three consecutive quarters.
(9) The statements shall be in the form and the manner prescribed by the commission ((
and shall be filed within one month after the end
of the quarter covered by the report)).
(6))) (10) In lieu of reporting under subsection (5) of this
section, any county, city, town, municipal corporation, quasi municipal
corporation, or special purpose district may determine and so notify
the public disclosure commission that elected officials, officers, or
employees who, on behalf of any such local agency, engage in lobbying
reportable under subsection (5) of this section shall register and
report such reportable lobbying in the same manner as a lobbyist who is
required to register and report under RCW 42.17A.600 and 42.17A.615.
Each such local agency shall report as a lobbyist employer pursuant to
(7))) (11) The provisions of this section do not relieve any
elected official or officer or employee of an agency from complying
with other provisions of this chapter, if such elected official,
officer, or employee is not otherwise exempted.
(8))) (12) Any state agency official, officer, or employee who
expends public funds in violation of subsection (2) or (3) of this
section is subject to personal liability in the form of a civil penalty
in an amount that is at least equivalent to the amount of public funds
expended in the violation.
(13) The purpose of this section is to require each state agency and certain local agencies to report the identities of those persons who lobby on behalf of the agency for compensation, together with certain separately identifiable and measurable expenditures of an agency's funds for that purpose. This section shall be reasonably construed to accomplish that purpose and not to require any agency to report any of its general overhead cost or any other costs that relate only indirectly or incidentally to lobbying or that are equally attributable to or inseparable from nonlobbying activities of the agency.
(14) The public disclosure commission may adopt rules clarifying and implementing this legislative interpretation and policy.
Sec. 4 RCW 42.17A.750 and 2010 c 204 s 1001 are each amended to
read as follows:
One or more of the following civil remedies and sanctions may be imposed by court order in addition to any other remedies provided by law:
(1) If the court finds that the violation of any provision of this chapter by any candidate or political committee probably affected the outcome of any election, the result of that election may be held void and a special election held within sixty days of the finding. Any action to void an election shall be commenced within one year of the date of the election in question. It is intended that this remedy be imposed freely in all appropriate cases to protect the right of the electorate to an informed and knowledgeable vote.
(2) If any lobbyist or sponsor of any grass roots lobbying campaign violates any of the provisions of this chapter, his or her registration may be revoked or suspended and he or she may be enjoined from receiving compensation or making expenditures for lobbying. The imposition of a sanction shall not excuse the lobbyist from filing statements and reports required by this chapter.
(3) A person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter may be subject to a civil penalty of not more than ten thousand dollars for each violation. However, a person or entity who violates RCW 42.17A.405 may be subject to a civil penalty of ten thousand dollars or three times the amount of the contribution illegally made or accepted, whichever is greater.
(4) A person who fails to file a properly completed statement or report within the time required by this chapter may be subject to a civil penalty of ten dollars per day for each day each delinquency continues.
(5) Each state agency director who knowingly fails to file statements required by RCW 42.17A.635 shall be subject to personal liability in the form of a civil penalty in the amount of one hundred dollars per statement.
(6) A person who fails to report a contribution or expenditure as required by this chapter may be subject to a civil penalty equivalent to the amount not reported as required.
(6))) (7) Any state agency official, officer, or employee who is
responsible for or knowingly directs or expends public funds in
violation of RCW 42.17A.635 (2) or (3) may be subject to personal
liability in the form of a civil penalty.
(8) The court may enjoin any person to prevent the doing of any act herein prohibited, or to compel the performance of any act required herein.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5 This act takes effect January 1, 2012.