IPCPR Legislative | Political Involvement in Texas

Political Involvement in Texas

texas

Requirements for Political Involvement in Texas

A person must register as a “lobbyist” if the person:

  • Makes a total expenditure of more than $500 in a calendar quarter, not including the person’s own travel, food, or lodging expenses or the person’s own membership dues, on transportation and lodging, food and beverages, entertainment, gifts, and other expenses made to communicate directly with one or more members of the legislative or executive branch to influence legislation or administrative action; or
  • Receives, or is entitled to receive under an agreement under which the person is retained or employed, compensation or reimbursement, not including reimbursement for the person’s own travel, food, or lodging expenses or the person’s own membership dues, of more than $1,000 in a calendar quarter from another person to communicate directly with a member of the legislative or executive branch to influence legislation or administrative action.

 

Tex. Gov. Code § 305.003: Persons Required to Register
Tex. Gov. Code § 305.006: Activities Report
1 Tex. Admin. Code § 34.41: Expenditure Threshold
1 Tex. Admin. Code § 34.43: Compensation and Reimbursement Threshold

 

However, the following persons are not required to register as lobbyists:

  • a person who owns, publishes, or is employed by a newspaper, any other regularly published periodical, a radio station, a television station, a wire service, or any other bona fide news medium that in the ordinary course of business disseminates news, letters to the editors, editorial or other comment, or paid advertisements that directly or indirectly oppose or promote legislation or administrative action, if the person does not engage in further or other activities that require registration under this chapter and does not represent another person in connection with influencing legislation or administrative action;
  • a person whose only direct communication with a member of the legislative or executive branch to influence legislation or administrative action is an appearance before or testimony to one or more members of the legislative or executive branch in a hearing conducted by or on behalf of either the legislative or the executive branch and who does not receive special or extra compensation for the appearance other than actual expenses incurred in attending the hearing;
  • a person whose only activity is to encourage or solicit members, employees, or stockholders of an entity by whom the person is reimbursed, employed, or retained to communicate directly with members of the legislative or executive branch to influence legislation or administrative action;
  • a person whose only activity to influence legislation or administrative action is to compensate or reimburse an individual registrant to act in the person’s behalf to communicate directly with a member of the legislative or executive branch to influence legislation or administrative action;
  • a person whose only activity to influence legislation or administrative action is attendance at a meeting or entertainment event attended by a member of the legislative or executive branch if the total cost of the meeting or entertainment event is paid by a business entity, union, or association;
  • a person whose only compensation consists of reimbursement for any wages not earned due to attendance at a meeting or entertainment event, travel to and from the meeting or entertainment event, admission to the meeting or entertainment event, and any food and beverage consumed at the meeting or entertainment event if the meeting or entertainment event is attended by a member of the legislative or executive branch and if the total cost of the meeting or entertainment event is paid by a business entity, union, or association; and
  • a person who communicates directly with a member of the legislative or executive branch on behalf of a political party concerning legislation or administrative action, and whose expenditures and compensation combined do not exceed $5,000 a calendar year.

 

Tex. Gov. Code § 305.004

 

“Lobby activity” means direct communication with and preparation for direct communication with a member of the legislative or executive branch to influence legislation or administrative action.

 

Tex. Ethics. Comm. Rules § 34.1

Each person who meets either the Expenditure Threshold (more than $500 in a calendar quarter) or the Compensation and Reimbursement Threshold (more than $1,000 in a calendar quarter) must register as a lobbyist with the Texas Ethics Commission. To register, each lobbyist must obtain an electronic filing password (Form LOBBY PASS) and electronically file (at http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/whatsnew/elf_info_lobby.htm) the Lobby Registration Form (Form REG), Schedules A and B, a Confidential Social Security Information form (Form SSN), and the appropriate registration fee:

 

Registrants                                             $750
Tax-Exempt Organizations                  $150
Independent Contractors                     $75

 

Registrations expire on December 31st of each year and must be renewed annually.

 

Tex. Gov. Code § 305.005

 

All lobbyists registered with the Texas Ethics Commission are also required to file a Lobby Activities Report (Form LA) and Schedules A through G, detailing lobby expenditures, by the 10th day of each month.

 

Tex. Gov. Code § 305.006

 

Tex. Gov. Code § 305: Registration of Lobbyists

 

Texas Ethics Commission Rules
http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/legal/ch34.html

 

Texas Ethics Commission: Lobbying in Texas
http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/guides/LOBBY_guide.htm

 

Form LOBBY PASS: Lobby Electronic Filing Password
http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/forms/elf_lobby_pass.pdf

 

Form REG: Lobby Registration for 2015
http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/forms/reg15.pdf

 

Instructions
http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/forms/REG_ins.pdf

 

Form SSN: Confidential Social Security Information
http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/forms/ssn.pdf

 

Form LA: Lobby Activities Report
http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/forms/la.pdf

 

Instructions
http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/forms/LA_ins.pdf

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