April 23, 2014 •
Ohio Lawmakers to Introduce Ethics Reform Legislation
Ohio lawmakers plan to introduce legislation next month making significant changes to state ethics rules for the first time in decades. The bill would double the amount lobbyists can spend on gifts to lawmakers but require lobbyists and public officials to report when a lobbyist spends more than $100 per year on an official for meals, entertainment, transportation, or other gifts.
State Sen. Larry Obhof, a Republican co-sponsor of the bill, maintains a higher reporting threshold is necessary to keep lobbyists honest, as many lobbyists seek to find ways to avoid the lower threshold.
Other notable legislative provisions raise the lobbyist registration fee from $25 to $35, strengthen whistle-blower protection guidelines, allow lawmakers to remedy reporting errors, require random audits of financial disclosure statements, and make changes to procedures for ethics investigations. Bill sponsors argue the bill is intended to increase transparency and accountability.
Photo of the Ohio State Capitol courtesy of Alexander Smith on Wikimedia Commons.
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.