December 12, 2023 •
Ask the Experts – Training Requirements for Registered Lobbyists
Q: I heard some jurisdictions have training requirements for registered lobbyists. What do I need to do to comply with these requirements?
A: Yes, you are correct. However, these requirements can vary greatly depending on the jurisdiction.
For example, Maryland requires you to complete your initial training within six months of your initial registration date and subsequently within each two‐year period following the date of your most recently completed training course. When filing your registration, you will need to certify you are current and compliant with this biennial training requirement or you have been registered for less than six months and will complete the training within the initial six-month period. Failure to comply with this requirement can result in fines or even suspension of your registration.
On the other hand, Illinois requires its registered lobbyists to complete an annual ethics and an annual sexual harassment training as part of the registration process. Per Illinois’s Lobbyist Registration Act, a registration is not deemed to be complete until the training has been completed. As such, the training must be completed prior to engaging in lobbying activities. Further, since the training requirement is necessary to complete your registration, the training must be completed even if you terminate your registration prior to completing the registration.
As another example of training requirements, Chicago also has a mandatory annual training requirement for its registered lobbyist. However, the annual training must be completed by June 30 of every year for the 12-month period from July 1 through June 30. The Board of Ethics can assess fines of $250 for each day the training remains incomplete.
The key to maintaining training compliance is understanding these training requirements can be different for each jurisdiction in which you lobby. So, it is imperative to familiarize yourself with each relevant jurisdiction’s requirements, including the timing and frequency of the training, to ensure full compliance.
More information about these topics can be found in the Lobbying Compliance Guidebook on the State and Federal Communications subscriber website by selecting the desired jurisdiction from the list.
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 stateandfed.com.