Commission Backs Proposed Changes to Austin, Texas Lobbying Law - State and Federal Communications

November 16, 2015  •  

Commission Backs Proposed Changes to Austin, Texas Lobbying Law


The Ethics Review Commission has given its support to Council Member Leslie Pool’s proposed lobbying law changes. These changes include broadening the definition of lobbyist, increasing disclosure requirements, and removing a loophole allowing part-time lobbyists to avoid registering.

Pool’s proposal has been met with opposition from those involved in the design and building industries. They claim the ordinance is too broad and would require architects, engineers, and others involved in the building industries to register as lobbyists. Also, many of these professionals currently serve on city boards and commissions. If they are required to register, they will have to resign from those seats because city law prohibits registered lobbyists from serving on city boards and commissions. The group representing the developers feels such a move would result in the city being robbed of valuable expertise.

This opposition has resulted in Pool making some changes to the ordinance, but the group representing developers is still not satisfied.

So far, registered lobbyists have not opposed the new changes even though the proposal would increase their reporting requirements. If passed, the ordinance would require lobbyists to provide greater detail about who they are representing, how much money is being spent on a lobbying efforts, and how much they receive in payments from clients.

The ordinance will now be presented to the Audit and Finance Committee. From there is will proceed through City Council, with a possible final vote coming early next year.

Photo of the Austin, Texas skyline by Erik A. Ellison on Wikimedia Commons.

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