March 7, 2013
Two Bills Could Change Illinois Lobbying Laws
State Representative Scott Drury has recently introduced two bills that would change the way lobbyists operate within the state. House Bill 2957 would change the definition of lobbying, thus causing more people to register as a lobbyist.
The bill would add communicating with a local government to influence action to the definition of lobbying. Therefore, all people who lobby a local government without a lobbying ordinance, the cities of Rockford and Springfield for example, would have to register as a lobbyist with the state. Also, those who lobby in a city with a lobbying ordinance, such as Chicago, would have to register with the state, in addition to their current city registration.
House Bill 2964 is a bill aimed at the state’s current prohibition on gifts. It would prohibit the relatives of a state officer, legislator, or employee from receiving prohibited gifts from a prohibited source (under state law, a lobbyist is considered a prohibited source). The bill also adds a new exception to the ban, adjusts one of the current exceptions, and abolishes another of the exceptions.
If the bill passes, a state officer, legislator, or employee would be allowed to accept admission to and the cost of food and beverages consumed at a reception, meal, or meeting by an organization before whom the recipient appears to speak or answer questions as part of a scheduled program where all members of the General Assembly were invited. This would replace the current exception for food and beverage, which allows for those to be provided if catered or consumed on the premises.
The bill would also limit the amount of travel expenses provided to $111 per day and the travel must be on a carrier available to the general public.
It remains to be seen whether either one of the bills will pass, but should they pass in their current form, it will change how lobbyists do business in the state.
Photo of the Illinois State Capitol by Daniel Schwen on Wikipedia.