(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – House Republicans unveiled nearly a dozen bills on Wednesday aimed at reforming Pennsylvania’s lobbying rules.
Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, said it’s the second major update to the Lobbyist Disclosure Act he’s proposed in 15 years, though he admits the announcement comes just days before the Legislature’s busiest month of the year.
“I think that reforming state government should always be a priority,” he said.
Reforms include requiring lobbyists to register conflicts of interest with the Department of State; prevent campaign consultants from concurrently serving as registered lobbyists and placing a one-year ban on former lobbyists turned General Assembly employees “from being lobbied,” among other changes.
Cutler said he’s still drafting a resolution that would encourage the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to adopt similar reforms for its workers and attorneys “formerly employed by government agencies.”
“I’m proud to stand with these members today and 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,” he said.
Cutler pointed to the explosive growth of lobbyists at the Capitol over the last decade as reason for another update. The number of registered lobbyists jumped from 222 in 2014 to more than 1,100 in 2016, according to PennLive.
House State Government Committee Chairman Seth Grove, R-York, said he hasn’t established a timeline for hearing the bills, though he’s committed to moving them.
With budget negotiations kicking into high gear in June, it’s unclear if the House can find time before summer recess to tackle the issue.