February 14, 2018

Gov. Wolf Signs Stronger Lobbying Restrictions Bill Into Law

Gov. Tom Wolf Wednesday signed House Bill 1175 (Cutler-R-Lancaster) into law, now Act 2 of 2018, renewing his commitment to change the culture of Harrisburg and make state government more efficient and transparent.
The legislation, introduced by Rep. Bryan Cutler with bipartisan support by former Rep. Brandon Neuman (D-Washington), passed unanimously in the House and Senate. It strengthens restrictions for lobbyists and special interests and improves efficiency by requiring lobbying disclosure reports to be filed electronically with the Department of State.
“I am proud to sign this bill, which is long overdue,” said Gov. Wolf. “By cracking down on special interests, this bill will help to create a more open, honest and transparent government in Harrisburg that is accountable to the people of Pennsylvania.
“When I arrived in Harrisburg, I found that special interests had an outsized influence on how things get done in the state Capitol. With these stronger requirements on special interests, we are working to rebuild trust in state government.”
The new law strengthens lobbying reporting rules, including:
-- Requiring lobbyists, lobbying firms, or principals to file lobbying disclosure reports electronically to quicken Department of State processing and provide more time for compliance efforts. Approximately 20 percent of lobbying disclosure reports are filed by paper;
-- Increasing the daily maximum penalty for not filing a report by the quarterly deadline from $50 per day to: $50 per day for the first 10 late days; $100 per day from late day 11 to 20; and $200 per late day after 20 days; and
-- Doubling the maximum penalty for not filing a lobbying disclosure reports by the quarterly deadline from $2,000 to $4,000;
-- Requiring the Department of State to post all lobbying disclosure reports online within seven days of receiving the filing. The department typically posts electronically filed reports within minutes of submission.
“I applaud the Governor for signing this important government transparency bill into law today. Legislation like this is an important step in restoring the public’s faith in the government,” said Rep. Cutler. “I’d also like to thank former House member Brandon Neuman for his help with this bill, his efforts and the bipartisan support were instrumental in getting this bill passed and signed into law.”
The new penalties take effect immediately and the electronic filing requirement takes effect in 60 days.