Ask the Experts - Registration on State and Municipal Levels - State and Federal Communications

January 25, 2024  •  

Ask the Experts – Registration on State and Municipal Levels

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Q: I need to lobby on the municipal level, but I’m registered with the state. Am I covered?

A: It will depend on the state, but you might not be covered. Some states, including Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, and New York, to name just a few, have lobbying laws covering both state and local governments. If you are registered in such a state, however, that does not necessarily end the analysis.

Even in states where state lobbying laws apply locally, you may still have local obligations. New York state law requires registration if you lobby locally and otherwise meet the registration requirements, but New York City has its own registration regime you will be required to follow, potentially requiring registration at both the state and local level. Illinois lobbying law covers local governments as well, but includes a carve out for lobbying in Chicago. Lobbying in Chicago requires registration with the city, but not with the state.

Whether you are or are not in a state where the lobbying laws apply locally, you will need to verify whether the city or county you are contacting has its own lobbying law. Even if it does not, be aware there may be other requirements, such as visitor logs, with which you will still need to comply.

Finally, be aware some local agencies, particularly those covering large metro areas, have their own lobbying laws as well, so registration with the city or county still may not cover your contacts with those agencies. For instance, Broward County Public Schools and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LAMTA) have adopted lobbying provisions separate from those of the counties in which they are located.

It is safest to always assume your government outreach, regardless of the level of your interaction, is covered by a lobbying law until you confirm otherwise.

Further information about the lobbying laws in hundreds of cities, counties, and local agencies can be found in the Lobbying Compliance Laws section of the State and Federal Communications website.

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State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting

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