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Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Bill Passes in the Oregon House

House Bill 2577, which would make it mandatory for lobbyists to disclose their influence and involvement on state legislation, passed 52 to three in the Oregon House on April 6 and is scheduled for a first reading in the Senate on April 10.

If passed, the bill will require lobbyist to disclose any bills “they are lobbying and whether they are working in favor, in opposition or have requested amendments” and any “legislative topic” lobbied for that is not a bill, according to an Oregon House majority press release.

In an effort to make lobbying influences more transparent, the bill will also make a public database available containing lobbyists’ positions on legislation and their activities.

Currently the Oregon Office of Ethics commission releases a quarterly registry containing lobbyists’ contact information and their clients, but the list does not track legislation they are attempting to influence, and there is no way for the public to know what lobbyists are working on.

Rep. Dan Rayfield, a Democrat from Corvallis said in a statement, “We have transparency in campaign finance, but once you get to the Capitol, there’s too little information about who’s attempting to influence the public.”

Lobbying information would be available on the Oregon Government Ethics Commission’s website, and the new rules would begin on April 1, 2018.