PROVIDENCE, RI –Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is reminding everyone who lobbies the General Assembly that Jan. 15 is the deadline for filing two important reports.
State law requires legislative lobbyists and their firms and clients to file 2011 Annual Reports and December 2011 monthly reports with his office by this Sun., Jan. 15.
Mollis posts information about who is lobbying as well as their issues, compensation and clients on his website.
"Making government more open and accessible is my priority. We literally put thousands of reports covering hundreds of lobbyists, lobbying firms and companies at the public's fingertips," said Mollis.
Annual Reports disclose salary, fees, commissions, gifts or anything else of value given to top state officials last year if they totaled more than $250.
Those so-called "major state decision-makers" include judges, legislators and the top staff of state agencies and quasi-public corporations as well as the offices of Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer and Attorney General.
The December 2011 report discloses lobbying expenses and campaign contributions for the month among other information.
In 2011, 431 legislative lobbyists registered with the Secretary of State's office.
The five most heavily lobbied issues last year were State Affairs and Government, Taxation, Health Care, Environment and Labor. In 2010, the most popular topics were Taxation, Health Care, State Affairs and Government, Public Policy and Insurance.
Last year, the least lobbied issues were Food, Maritime Affairs, Crime, Water Resources and, lastly, Fish & Wildlife. In 2010, the quietest subjects were Crime, Maritime Affairs, Water Resources, Courts and Food.
The reporting deadlines come as Mollis implements a new initiative. Legislation he sponsored last year requires legislative lobbyists and their firms and clients to be current on last year's reporting before they can register for the upcoming legislative session. Until now, state law allowed them to register even if they were delinquent.
"Our bill merely gives lobbyists another incentive to bring their reporting practices into line with the spirit and the letter of the law," said Mollis.
The House bill was introduced by state Rep. Deborah Ruggiero and co-sponsored by state Representatives Joseph McNamara, Ray Gallison, John Savage and Daniel Reilly. The Senate version was sponsored by state Sen. Juan Pichardo and co-sponsored by state Sen. Maryellen Goodwin.
"This is win-win. We no longer have to invest resources in a months-long process to encourage compliance and the public gets access to the information sooner," said Mollis.
The new policy will not be a hardship for lobbyists and their firms and clients. Reports can be filed on-line 24/7 through the Secretary of State's website.
Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier to vote, making it easier to do business in Rhode Island and making government more open and accessible. For more information about the programs and services the Secretary of State's office offers Rhode Islanders, visit sos.ri.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT -- Chris Barnett at 222-4293 or firstname.lastname@example.org