HB 700, which provides some regulation of lobbying in Pennsylvania, has passed the House. There should be some good commentary in tomorrow's papers but just in case you miss them, here are some press releases:
Rep Dave Reed (excerpt):
House Bill 700 requires lobbyists to register with the Pennsylvania Department of State every two years upon spending more than $2,500 in lobbying expenses or services. Lobbyists will be required to file quarterly reports with the Department of State identifying elected officials lobbied that quarter.
Speaker of the House John Perzel
Rep. Greg Vitali (excerpt):
Vitali said at a minimum, lobbyist disclosure rules should require reports to the public to show which lobbyists are influencing which legislators on which legislation or issue, and how much they are spending to do it.
"This bill fails to meet those minimum requirements," he said. "It does not require lobbyists to list the specific subject matter or legislation they are attempting to influence, or the names of the legislators they are trying to influence."
Vitali said while the bill does require lobbyists to list the names of legislators they provide gifts and hospitality to, they only have to do so once the value of those gifts reaches a certain amount.
"The result is that most legislators' names will never appear in one of these disclosure statements because the reporting threshold is too high. The public will still be left in the dark."