Ask the Experts - Lobbyist Reporting During Legislative Sessions - State and Federal Communications

March 4, 2015  •  

Ask the Experts – Lobbyist Reporting During Legislative Sessions

Jennifer ZonaQ. Many of the state legislatures I lobby are currently in session. Does this affect when my lobbying reports are due?

A. While some states have reporting schedules that do not vary from year to year, others tie their lobbyist reporting schedules to their legislature’s activity. Currently, 11 states have reporting schedules that vary to some degree with their legislative sessions: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. Some of these states require additional reports during the legislative session, while others tie reporting dates to the session’s adjournment.

For example, Georgia requires legislative lobbyist reports twice per month while the Legislature is in session. Reporting frequency decreases to once per month once the Legislature adjourns. Connecticut, Arkansas, and Alaska all require monthly legislative lobbyist reports while their legislatures are in session.

Other states have reports tied to the official adjournment of the legislature. Mississippi requires an end-of-session report 10 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die. Some legislatures, such as Mississippi and Nebraska, have the flexibility to change their planned adjournment date, in which case a report may be due earlier or later than previously announced. It is also important to note only official adjournment dates affect the reporting schedule. State legislatures concluding business for the year, but not officially adjourned, may still require a lobbyist to use the “in session” reporting schedule. Rhode Island, for example, requires monthly reports only when the Legislature is in session, but the Legislature does not officially adjourn until January of the following year.

Special legislative sessions may also trigger a lobbying report. States such as Nebraska and Hawaii require an additional report following the adjournment of a special legislative session. In states requiring special session reports, a report may be required even if the full legislature did not convene in special session.

Each jurisdiction’s statutory reporting schedule is different. Be sure to know your state’s reporting schedule and whether a legislative session will change your requirements.

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