Urban Politics #240: Lobbyist Registration Ordinance Brown Bag

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By City Councilmember Nick Licata. With assistance from my LA Newell Aldrich.

Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future.




I am developing legislation that would require paid lobbyists to register with the City of Seattle.

Laws requiring the registration of lobbyists already exist in King County, the State of Washington, and the City of Portland. Seattle which should pride itself in promoting transparent decision making does not have such a law. Consequently I will be hosting a brown bag forum with representatives from each of those governments to learn how their laws work and what could work best for Seattle.

The forum will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 11 in the City Council Chambers, in City Hall located on the 4th Avenue between Cherry and James Streets.

Participants will include the Executive Director of the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, the King County Ombudsman, and a representative from the City of Portland, which revised its lobbyist registration ordinance just last month.

Plenty of time will be set aside for Q&A from Councilmembers and from the public, so feel free to attend and participate. After a discussion in the August 7 Public Safety, Governmental Relations and Arts Committee meeting, Councilmembers had questions about how other jurisdictions handled the registration of lobbyists, and this will be an opportunity to find out more directly from the source.

Some of the questions we will be addressing include:

  • What activities constitute lobbying?
  • Who should be required to register as a lobbyist?
  • Who and what activities should be exempt from the requirements?
  • Should Council establish thresholds for registration and if so, what should those be?
  • What type of information should lobbyist be required to report and how frequently?
  • What entity should monitor and enforce the lobby registration and reporting requirements?

The next discussion of the proposed lobbyist registration ordinance is scheduled for September 17 in the PSGRA Committee.

If you would like additional information, please contact Newell Aldrich from my office at newell.aldrich@seattle.gov.

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