Santa Monica’s lobbying rules will be up for discussion at Council’s April 18 meeting.

The meeting will include the introduction and first reading of an ordinance to update the regulations to include revised definitions, clarification of some items and a revision to account for lobbying by membership organizations.

A unanimous City Council passed the first draft of the rules in last year.

Registration began in September of 2016 and all lobbyists have to register with the city within 10 days of qualifying under the ordinance. So far, 49 firms have registered under the rules.

Lobbyists are required to provide their name, business and mailing address, email address, phone number, names of owners of the business, description of the business, client name/address/phone number, nature of client’s business, description of governmental decision sought by the lobbyist on the client’s behalf, name of persons employed or retained by the lobbyist to engage in lobbying activities and the date, amount, description of any payment made to, or on behalf of any City official or member of an official’s family.

City Hall defines a lobbyist as an individual who receives economic consideration as the employee, representative or contractor of a person or entity other than the City of Santa Monica for communicating with any official or employee of the City for the purpose of influencing a legislative or administrative action. For purposes of the lobbying registration program, a lobbyist does not include City contractors and those seeking City contracts through bids and proposals.

The fees are $40 for initial registration and $25 for amendments and annual renewal.

Staff are returning to Council next week with revisions to the rules based on their enforcement so far.

The changes include a minor revision so the definition of lobbying, clarification of the definition of a city official, clarification of the registration/reporting requirements and an addition to the rules specifying registration rules for organizations like the Chamber of Commerce or neighborhood groups that engage in continual, generic lobbying on behalf of their members.

No changes are proposed to the fee structure at this time but staff have asked to clarify the difference between an amendment and an addendum.

“Since increased transparency is a goal of the lobbyist regulations, staff distinguished between an amendment and an addendum. An amendment would be required to be filed when a new client is represented by the lobbyist. An addendum allows the lobbyist to update its existing registration such as to indicate new contacts with City officials on behalf of existing clients,” said the report.

To encourage timely filing, addendums can be filed without a fee.

Lobbying fees will be part of a citywide Cost of Service study to be updated for Fiscal Year 2-17-18.

For more information about the current rules, visit https://www.smgov.net/Departments/Clerk/Lobbyist/Lobbyist_Registration.aspx.

City Council meets at 4:30 p.m. on April 18 in City Hall, 1685 Main St. Visit www.smgov.net for more information.

editor@smdp.com

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