Association Leadership - November/December 2008 - (Page 23)
Lobbying at the Capitol Capitol 101: Helpful Resources and New Rules othing is worse than missing action on a bill crucial to your members’ interests. Legislative tracking services make it easier to find bills that affect your membership, analyze them and follow their progress. www.ethics.state.tx.us/guides/LOBBY_guide. htm. New State Lobbying Rules Lobbyists: Are you a lobbyist reporting on behalf of an entity in order for the entity to avoid registration as a lobbyist? Entities: Are you an entity avoiding the requirement to register as a lobbyist by having the lobbyist report on your behalf? If you answer “YES” to either of these two questions, you will be impacted by rules adopted by the commission at its Aug. 15, 2008 meeting. Under the rules, certain criteria must be satisfied in order for a lobbyist to qualify to report on behalf of an entity so that the entity can avoid registration. Also, a lobbyist will be required to report the amount of expenditures reported for the entity and a lobbyist will be required to report the entity’s activity by a certain date. An entity avoiding registration by having a lobbyist report on its behalf will be subject to the same restrictions that apply to a registered lobbyist. ◆ For more information and to read details of the new rules, visit www. ethics.state.tx.us/rules/ adopted_Aug_08. html#LobbyReg or call the Ethics Commission at 512-463-5800 or 1-800-3258506. Bill-Tracking Companies There are two types of services for tracking important bills in Texas: • Texas Legislature Online (www. capitol.state.tx.us) – A free but somewhat limited service is available through Texas Legislature Online (TLO). To learn specifics on using TLO to track a bill, visit www.capitol. state.tx.us/resources/FollowABill.aspx. • Texas Legislative Service (www. telicon.com) – For more advanced features, such as adding personalized remarks to your bill track and committee hearing summaries, consider a subscription to Texas Legislative Services. For several years, Gallery Watch also offered a subscription service, but it has been discontinued. Lobbying Rules and Resources Did you know you may need to register as a lobbyist if you are communicating with legislators or their staffs, or with state agencies about laws or regulations? Did you know there are also regulations governing honorariums, gifts and political contributions? Learn about the basics of who’s covered by state lobbying laws and how to comply with the Texas Ethics Commission with “Lobbying in Texas: A Guide to Texas Law,” available online at November/December 2008 | Association LEADERSHIP 23
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