PROVIDENCE, RI –Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is reminding hundreds of lobbyists who represented clients before the General Assembly last year that this Tuesday is the deadline for filing two important reports.
State law requires legislative lobbyists and their firms and clients to file 2012 Annual Reports and December 2012 monthly reports with the Secretary of State's office by Jan. 15.
Mollis gives the public access to information about who is lobbying as well as their issues, employers, compensation and clients on his website at sos.ri.gov.
"One of my priorities is making government more transparent. We post thousands of reports covering hundreds of lobbyists, lobbying firms and companies," 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 2012 monthly report details lobbying expenses and the issues that are being followed as well as campaign contributions. The reports must be filed through the Secretary of State's website. by 11.59 p.m. Jan. 15.
Everyone who lobbies the executive branch and public corporations also faces a deadline as well as new requirements.
So-called "executive" lobbyists who were registered in 2012 must file July-through-December lobbying reports by Jan. 30. In addition, legislation improving executive lobbying reporting goes into effect this year. Executive lobbyists are now barred from registering for the 2013 session if any of their lobbying reports due in 2012 are delinquent and must now register annually. Previously, they did not have to re-register from year to year.
Enacted by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Lincoln Chafee last year, the legislation was sponsored by state Sen. James Doyle and state Rep. Deborah Ruggiero and co-sponsored by state Representatives Larry Valencia, Larry Ehrhardt, Raymond Hull and David Bennett. The bill was modeled on 2011 legislation from Mollis that addressed legislative lobbying.
In 2012, the five most heavily lobbied issues were Health Care, Environment, Taxation, Labor, and Insurance. In 2011, the most popular topics were State Affairs & Government, Taxation, Health Care, Environment and Labor.
Last year, the five least lobbied issues were United States, Food, Real Estate, Water Resources and, lastly, Workers Compensation. The least popular subjects in 2011 were Food, Maritime Affairs, Crime, Water Resources and, lastly, Fish & Wildlife.
At the end of 2012, there were 412 legislative lobbyists and 234 executive lobbyists. In 2011, there were 431 legislative lobbyists and 223 executive lobbyists.
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 offers Rhode Islanders, visit sos.ri.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Barnett at 222-4293