Oct. 25, 2021
Most expansive package of lobbying reforms in more than a decade
HARRISBURG – Ensuring that the voices of the people of Pennsylvania are not silenced by those who try to pay for access and influence, a package of legislation that would establish new rules for lobbyists in Harrisburg passed a crucial State Government Committee vote with bipartisan support.
“If people can’t believe in the process, they will never have faith in the outcomes,” Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) said. “This package ensures our lobbying community is held to ethical standards the public expects and promotes a culture of transparency every Pennsylvanian deserves.”
The 12 pieces of legislation will increase openness and transparency in the lobbying process, limit the influence of professional lobbyists and hold lobbyists to a higher standard of ethical conduct.
“I introduced the last major lobbying reform package in Harrisburg 15 years ago,” Cutler said. “I announced my support for this package earlier this session and today is an important next step to remind the lobbying community that if they want to continue to play a role in our processes, they will be held to the highest standards.”
The legislation in the package is:
• House Bill 1599, Rep. Joe Kerwin (R-Dauphin/Schuylkill) and Rep. Brett Miller (R-Lancaster):
Would require lobbyists to disclose and register any lobbying client conflict with the Department of State.
• House Bill 1600, Rep. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Montgomery):
Would require campaign consultants who operate within the Commonwealth to register with the Department of State.
• House Bill 1601, Reps. Joe Hamm (R-Lycoming/Union), Kerwin and Miller
: Would require lobbyists to register with the Department of State any equity they may hold in an entity on behalf of which they are lobbying.
• House Bill 1603, Reps. Andrew Lewis (R-Dauphin) and Dawn Keefer (R-York):
Would prohibit campaign consultants from concurrently being registered lobbyists and engaging in lobbying elected officials.
• House Bill 1605, Rep. Craig Williams (R-Delaware):
Would prohibit lobbyists from receiving/paying referral payments from/to another individual, lobbying firm or campaign consultant.
• House Bill 1606, Rep. Seth Grove (R-York):
Would implement recommendations made by the House Government Oversight Committee – including making lobbyists primary reporters, strengthening audit requirements and restructuring the fees used to pay for the administration of the lobby disclosure law.
• House Bill 1607, Reps. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon), Perry Stambaugh (R-Perry/Cumberland), Keefer and Miller
: Would prohibit any state entity from hiring an outside lobbyist or consultant to influence the Legislature, administration or judiciary.
• House Bill 1608, Stambaugh and Kerwin
: Would prohibit new employees of the General Assembly who were previously a registered lobbyist from being lobbied for one year after their registered lobby status expired.
• House Bill 1609, Reps. Matthew Dowling (R-Fayette/Somerset) and Brian Smith (R-Jefferson/Indiana):
Would require all registered lobbyists to complete a mandatory ethics training on an annual basis.
• House Resolution 114, Cutler
: Would urge the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to reform its rules to promote openness, transparency and greater confidence in the integrity of the judiciary, judicial employees and attorneys formerly employed by government entities.
The legislation now advances to the full House for consideration.
Speaker Bryan Cutler
100th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Mike Straub