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SB-459 Political Reform Act of 1974: lobbying.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 04/12/2021 09:00 PM
SB459:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 12, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  March 10, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 459


Introduced by Senator Allen
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Mullin)

February 16, 2021


An act to amend Sections 86114, 86116, 86117, and 86118 of, and to add Section 86119 to, the Government Code, relating to the Political Reform Act of 1974.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 459, as amended, Allen. Political Reform Act of 1974: lobbying.
Existing law, the Political Reform Act of 1974, regulates the activities of lobbyists, lobbying firms, and lobbyist employers in connection with attempts to influence legislative and administrative action by legislative and other state officials, including by requiring that lobbyists, lobbying firms, and lobbyist employers register and file periodic reports with the Secretary of State.
This bill would require lobbyists, lobbying firms, and lobbyist employers to include information in the periodic reports that identifies each bill or administrative action subject to lobbying activity, and the respective position advocated for, during that period. This bill would require a lobbying firm or lobbyist employer to file a monthly report for any calendar month in which the total amount of payments subject to reporting exceeds $15,000, and would require a lobbying firm or lobbyist employer to file monthly reports for 12 months following any calendar quarter in which the total amount of payments subject to reporting exceeds $45,000. The bill would require certain persons to file specified reports following a calendar quarter in which that person incurs cumulative costs equal to or exceeding $5,000 for issue lobbying advertisements, as defined.
A violation of the act is punishable as a misdemeanor, and reports and statements filed under the act are required to be signed under the penalty of perjury. By expanding the scope of existing crimes, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
The Political Reform Act of 1974, an initiative measure, provides that the Legislature may amend the act to further the act’s purposes upon a 2/3 vote of each house of the Legislature and compliance with specified procedural requirements.
This bill would declare that it furthers the purposes of the act.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 86114 of the Government Code, as amended by Section 38 of Chapter 662 of the Statutes of 2018, is amended to read:

86114.
 (a) Lobbying firms shall file periodic reports containing all of the following:
(1) The full name, address, email address, and telephone number of the lobbying firm.
(2) (A) The full name, business address, and telephone number of each person who contracted with the lobbying firm for lobbying services, a description of the specific lobbying interests of the person, and the total payments, including fees and the reimbursement of expenses, received from the person for lobbying services during the reporting period.
(B) (i) For each client, the report shall indicate the name or number of each bill or administrative action, with regard to which a partner, owner, officer, or employee of the lobbying firm either engaged in direct communication, including through issue lobbying advertisements, or was directed by that client to engage in direct communication, with an elective state official, agency official, or legislative official on behalf of that client for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action during the reporting period, either by reference to its legislative or administrative identification number if one exists or by brief description if no such number exists.
(ii) For each bill or issue lobbying advertisement related to a bill, the report shall indicate one of the following that most closely describes the client position directly publicly communicated: “support,” “oppose,” “support if amended,” “oppose unless amended,” “neutral seeking amendment,” “neutral expressing concerns.” The report shall list in chronological order any changes in position during that reporting period but shall not be required to disclose the date of any change in position.
(iii) The report shall not include bills or administrative actions which have failed passage prior to the reporting period, bills or administrative actions which the lobbying firm is only watching or monitoring, or bills or administrative actions which the lobbying firm has not attempted to influence during the reporting period.
(3) The total amount of payments received for lobbying services during the period.
(4) A periodic report completed and verified by each lobbyist in the lobbying firm pursuant to Section 86113.
(5) Each activity expense incurred by the lobbying firm including those reimbursed by a person who contracts with the lobbying firm for lobbying services. A total of all activity expenses of the lobbying firm and all of its lobbyists shall be included.
(6) If the lobbying firm subcontracts with another lobbying firm for lobbying services:
(A) The full name, address, email address, and telephone number of the subcontractor.
(B) The name of the person for whom the subcontractor was retained to lobby.
(C) The total amount of all payments made to the subcontractor.
(7) The date, amount, and the name of the recipient of any contribution of one hundred dollars ($100) or more made by the filer to an elected state officer, a state candidate, a committee controlled by an elected state officer or state candidate, or a committee primarily formed to support or oppose those officers or candidates. If this contribution is reported by the lobbying firm or by a committee sponsored by the lobbying firm in a campaign statement filed pursuant to Chapter 4 which is required to be filed with the Secretary of State, the filer may report only the name of the committee and the identification number of the committee.
(8) Any other information required by the commission consistent with the purposes and provisions of this chapter.
(b) In addition to the information required by subdivision (a), lobbying firms which qualify pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 82038.5 shall also report the name and title of each partner, owner, officer, and employee of the lobbying firm who, on at least five separate occasions during the reporting period, engaged in direct communication with any elective state official, legislative official, or agency official, for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action on behalf of a person who contracts with the lobbying firm for lobbying services. This does not include individuals whose actions were purely clerical.

SEC. 2.

 Section 86116 of the Government Code, as amended by Section 39 of Chapter 662 of the Statutes of 2018, is amended to read:

86116.
 Every person described in Section 86115 shall file periodic reports containing the following information:
(a) The name, business address, email address, and telephone number of the lobbyist employer or other person filing the report.
(b) The total amount of payments to each lobbying firm.
(c) The total amount of all payments to lobbyists employed by the filer.
(d) (1) A description of the specific lobbying interests of the filer.
(2) The information required by subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 86114. A person described in Section 86115 may, through a form adopted by the commission, refer to and incorporate by reference the information contained in a report filed by the person’s lobbying firm pursuant to Section 86114 to meet the requirement of this paragraph.
(e) A periodic report completed and verified by each lobbyist employed by a lobbyist employer pursuant to Section 86113.
(f) Each activity expense of the filer. A total of all activity expenses of the filer shall be included.
(g) The date, amount, and the name of the recipient of any contribution of one hundred dollars ($100) or more made by the filer to an elected state officer, a state candidate, or a committee controlled by an elected state officer or state candidate, or a committee primarily formed to support or oppose the officer or candidate. If this contribution is reported by the filer or by a committee sponsored by the filer in a campaign statement filed pursuant to Chapter 4 which is required to be filed with the Secretary of State, the filer may report only the name of the committee, and the identification number of the committee.
(h) (1) Except as set forth in paragraph (2), the total of all other payments to influence legislative or administrative action including overhead expenses and all payments to employees who spend 10 percent or more of their compensated time in any one month in activities related to influencing legislative or administrative action.
(2) A filer that makes payments to influence a ratemaking or quasi-legislative proceeding before the Public Utilities Commission, as defined in subdivision (b) or (c), respectively, of Section 82002, may, in lieu of reporting those payments pursuant to paragraph (1), report only the portion of those payments made to or for the filer’s attorneys for time spent appearing as counsel and preparing to appear as counsel, or to or for the filer’s witnesses for time spent testifying and preparing to testify, in this type of Public Utilities Commission proceeding. This alternative reporting of these payments made during a calendar month is not required to include payments made to an attorney or witness who is an employee of the filer if less than 10 percent of the attorney’s or witness’s compensated time in that month was spent in appearing, testifying, or preparing to appear or testify before the Public Utilities Commission in a ratemaking or quasi-legislative proceeding. For the purposes of this paragraph, time spent preparing to appear or preparing to testify does not include time spent preparing written testimony.
(i) Any other information required by the commission consistent with the purposes and provisions of this chapter.

SEC. 3.

 Section 86117 of the Government Code is amended to read:

86117.
 (a) Reports required by Sections 86114 and 86116 shall be filed during the month following each calendar quarter. The period covered shall be from the first day of January of each new biennial legislative session through the last day of the calendar quarter prior to the month during which the report is filed, except as specified in subdivision (b), and except that the period covered shall not include any information reported in previous reports filed by the same person. When total amounts are required to be reported, totals shall be stated both for the period covered by the statement and for the entire legislative session to date.
(b) The period covered by the first report a person is required to file pursuant to Sections 86114 and 86116 shall begin with the first day of the calendar quarter in which the filer first registered or qualified. On the first report a person is required to file, the total amount shall be stated for the entire calendar quarter covered by the first report.
(c) In addition to the requirements of subdivision (a), a person described in Section 86115 shall also do both of the following:
(1) File a monthly report pursuant to Section 86116 for any calendar month where the sum of the total amount of all payments subject to reporting pursuant to that section exceeds fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000). The monthly report required by this subdivision shall be filed during the first 15 days of the month following any qualifying calendar month.
(2) During the period beginning 60 days before the deadline for the passage of bills established by joint resolution of the Legislature, file a report within 24 72 hours of retaining a lobbying firm to influence legislative or administrative action during those 60 days, including the amount paid to the lobbying firm upon being retained or to be paid to the lobbying firm pursuant to a contract for lobbying. The report required by this subparagraph shall be made public within 24 hours of receipt, either through the internet or distribution or posting of portable document formats (PDFs) of the documents or summaries of the documents online.
(d) If the sum described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) exceeds forty-five thousand dollars ($45,000) in a calendar quarter, the person described in Section 86115 shall file monthly reports pursuant to Section 86116 for the next 12 months.
(e) In addition to the requirements of subdivision (a), a lobbying firm shall also file a monthly report pursuant to Section 86114 for any calendar month where the total amount of payments received for lobbying services exceeds fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000). The monthly report required by this subdivision shall be filed during the first 15 days of the month following any qualifying calendar month.
(f) If the sum described in subdivision (e) exceeds forty-five thousand dollars ($45,000) in a calendar quarter, the person described in Section 86115 shall file monthly reports for the next 12 months.
(g) Regardless of the total amounts of payments made or received, any person described in Section 86115, or any lobbying firm, may elect to file monthly reports pursuant to subdivision (c) or (e). Notwithstanding subdivision (a), any person described in Section 86115, or any lobbying firm, that files monthly reports pursuant to subdivision (c) or (e) for each month of a calendar quarter shall not file a quarterly report covering that same period.
(h) When total amounts are required to be reported, totals shall be stated both for the period covered by the statement and for the entire legislative session to date.

SEC. 4.

 Section 86118 of the Government Code, as amended by Section 40 of Chapter 662 of the Statutes of 2018, is amended to read:

86118.
 (a) Reports required by Sections 86114 and 86116 shall be filed online or electronically with the Secretary of State.
(b) Original documents may be signed and filed with electronic signatures.

SEC. 5.

 Section 86119 is added to the Government Code, to read:

86119.
 (a) (1) “Issue lobbying advertisement” as used in this chapter means any communication as described in Section 84501 that is authorized and paid for, directly or indirectly, by a person described in Section 86115 and that refers to one or more clearly identified pending legislative or administrative actions and does any of the following:
(A) Solicits or urges persons other than the person described in Section 86115 to communicate directly with an elective state official, agency official, or legislative official for the primary purpose of attempting to influence state legislative or administrative action.
(B) Refers to a state legislative or administrative action and urges its defeat, amendment, postponement, enactment, or promulgation.
(2) The types of communications that may qualify as an issue lobbying advertisement include those described in Section 82041.5, subdivision (a) of Section 84501, subdivision (a) of Section 84504.3, a prerecorded telephone call made to more than 200 persons, a substantially similar email, text message, or other electronic communication that is sent to over 200 recipients, or any other substantially similar communication determined by regulations adopted by the commission.
(3) A pending legislative or administrative action is clearly identified if the communication states a legislative or administrative identification number, official title, or popular name associated with the action. In addition, the action is clearly identified if the communication refers to the subject matter of the action and either states that the measure is before an elective state official, agency official, or legislative official for a vote or decision or, taken as a whole and in context, unambiguously refers to the action.
(b) (1) An issue lobbying advertisement shall clearly and conspicuously indicate in the communication the person described in Section 86115 that authorized and paid for the communication as the source or payor of the communication. If the person who authorized and paid for the issue lobbying advertisement is a lobbying firm, the lobbyist employer on whose behalf the issue lobbying advertisement was authorized and paid for shall be disclosed in place of the lobbying firm.
(2) An issue lobbying advertisement complies with this subdivision if the communication does either of the following:
(A) Clearly and conspicuously identifies the person described in Section 86115 as the sender, broadcaster, or creator of the communication.
(B) Includes the words “Paid for by” or a smaller phrase followed by the name of the person.
(c) A copy of any issue lobbying advertisement which clearly identifies an elective state official, agency official, or legislative official shall be provided by mail, email, or hand delivery to that elective state official, agency official, or legislative official within 72 hours of being communicated.
(d) (1) A person described in Section 86115 that incurs cumulative costs equal to or exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) for issue lobbying advertisements in a calendar quarter shall file a report with the Secretary of State within 72 hours. The report shall be filed with the Secretary of State by online or electronic transmission only using the online filing system described in subdivision (b) of Section 84602.
(2) The cost of an issue lobbying advertisement shall include actual costs attributable to the communications, but shall not include the payment of salary for staff time.
(3) A report required by this subdivision shall include the following information:
(A) The dates or period of time that each issue lobbying advertisement was communicated.
(B) The legislative or administrative identification numbers associated with the legislative or administrative action that was the subject of the lobbying issue advertisement. If an action is not associated with an identification number, a short description of the subject matter of the action.
(C) For each legislative or administrative action for which there were issue lobbying advertisements, the position on the legislative or administrative action urged on the lobbying issue advertisement, which may include “support,” “oppose,” “support if amended,” “oppose unless amended,” “neutral seeking amendment,” or a similar short description.
(D) For each legislative or administrative action for which there were issue lobbying advertisements, the medium of the issue lobbying advertisements which referenced the action, which may include, for example, direct mail, text messages, television advertisements, radio advertisements, social media advertisements, search engine advertisements, or other online advertisements.
(E) For each legislative or administrative action for which there were issue lobbying advertisements, the cumulative cost of the issue lobbying advertisements they appear in. If an issue lobbying advertisement referenced more than one legislative or administrative action, then the cost of the advertisement for purposes of this paragraph shall be apportioned between those actions.
(F) Any other relevant information determined by regulations adopted by the commission.
(4) Issue lobbying advertisement costs shall be reported on subsequent periodic lobbying reports without regard to reports filed pursuant to this subdivision.
(e) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2023.
(f) The commission may, by regulation, increase the dollar amounts specified in this section.

SEC. 6.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

SEC. 7.

 Sections 1 to 5 of this act shall not become operative until January 1, 2023.

SEC. 8.

 The Legislature finds and declares that this bill furthers the purposes of the Political Reform Act of 1974 within the meaning of subdivision (a) of Section 81012 of the Government Code.