March 10, 2016

Assembly Introduces Bill to Shine Greater Light on Lobbyists
Bill Would Exempt Communications Relating to News from Disclosure

Speaker Carl Heastie joined with Assemblymember Matthew Titone today to announce legislation that will make the funding of lobbying activity more transparent.

"The Assembly Majority has maintained its commitment to pursuing meaningful reforms to restore public trust in all levels of government," said Speaker Heastie. "The measure would ensure that the scales of transparency are balanced and accountable to the people of this great state."

Currently lobbyists and their clients must disclose sources of funding of any amount in excess of $5,000 if they have spent more than $50,000 and at least three percent of their total expenditures that are devoted to lobbying in New York.

This bill (A.9473) would require donor disclosure to any amount spent over $5,000, regardless of the percentage of the total expenditure. Any lobbyist or client of lobbyists that meets this threshold would have to disclose the names of each source of funding greater than $1,000, the amount donated and the use of such funding.

"This bill is a thorough and fair-minded approach to improving transparency in government. These changes would bring parity across the board in disclosure requirements so New Yorkers can have a balanced and unobstructed view of all the entities engaged in the shaping of public policy in this state," said Assemblymember Matthew Titone, bill sponsor. "It also takes a critical step to protect the First Amendment and the free flow of information between sources and journalists."

This would apply to all lobbyists as well as any non-charitable non-profit organizations.

Additionally, the bill would exempt from the definition of lobbying, any communications with a professional journalist or newscaster as well as any other communications relating to news.