HARRISBURG – A package of four bills aiming to increase transparency in Pennsylvania was reviewed during a public hearing of the Senate State Government Committee Wednesday, according to Senator David G. Argall (R-Berks/Schuylkill), who chaired the hearing. The Committee heard testimony from the prime sponsors of the bills, the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission, and the Pennsylvania Association for Government Relations.
“It’s been almost fifteen years since The Lobbyist Disclosure Act was signed into law, and we need to update the requirements,” said Argall. “These bills are the continuation of the bipartisan work of the Senate State Government Committee this session to increase the openness and transparency of our state government.”
Senate Bill 801, sponsored by Senator Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery), would require lobbyists to register any client seeking state financial assistance or grants, as well as prohibiting any kickbacks or contingency fees for successful applications for taxpayer-funded grants. It would also require the reporting of any equity a lobbyist holds in a company they lobby for.
Senate Bill 802, sponsored by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York), would prevent government entities from hiring outside lobbyists, as well as prohibiting former lobbyists who become employees of the General Assembly from being lobbied by their previous colleagues for one year.
Senate Bill 803, sponsored by Senator Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne), would prevent lobbyists from also being registered as political consultants, as well as prohibiting political consultants from lobbying any client they gave advice to.
Senate Bill 804, sponsored by Senator Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks), would require all registered lobbyists to complete mandatory ethics training on a yearly basis.
The Senate State Government Committee is expected to vote on this package of bills before the end of the year. More information about the hearing can be found on the State Government Committee’s website.