“Lobbyist” means any individual employed by a lobbying firm or who is otherwise employed or contracts for economic consideration, other than reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, to communicate directly or through his or her agents with any elective state official, agency official or legislative official for the purpose of promoting, advocating, opposing or otherwise attempting to influence:
The passage or defeat or the executive approval or veto of any legislation which may be considered by the Legislature of this state, or
The adoption or rejection of any rule, legislative rule, standard, rate, fee or other delegated legislative or quasilegislative action to be taken or withheld by any executive department
“Lobbyist” does not include the following persons, who are exempt from the registration and reporting requirements set forth in this article, unless they engage in activities which would otherwise subject them to the registration and reporting requirements:
Persons who limit their lobbying activities to appearing before public sessions of committees of the Legislature, or public hearings of state agencies
Persons who limit their lobbying activities to attending receptions, dinners, parties or other group functions and make no expenditure in connection with such lobbying
Persons who engage in news or feature reporting activities and editorial comment as working members of the press, radio or television and persons who publish or disseminate such news, features or editorial comment through a newspaper, book, regularly published periodical, radio station or television station
Persons who lobby without compensation or other consideration, other than reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, for acting as lobbyists, who are not employed by a lobbying firm or lobbyist employer, and whose total expenditures in connection with lobbying activities do not exceed one hundred fifty dollars during any calendar year
Persons who lobby on behalf of a nonprofit organization with regard to legislation, without compensation, and who restrict their lobbying activities to no more than twenty days or parts thereof during any regular session of the Legislature
The Governor, members of the Governor’s staff, members of the Board of Public Works, officers and employees of the executive branch who communicate with a member of the Legislature on the request of that member, or who communicate with the Legislature, through the proper official channels, requests for legislative action or appropriations which are deemed necessary for the efficient conduct of the public business or which are made in the proper performance of their official duties
Members of the Legislature
Persons employed by the Legislature for the purpose of aiding in the preparation or enactment of legislation or the performance of legislative duties
Persons rendering professional services in drafting proposed legislation or in advising or rendering opinions to clients as to the construction and effect of proposed or pending legislation
“Lobbying firm” means any business entity, including an individual contract lobbyist, which meets either of the following criteria:
The business entity receives or becomes entitled to receive any compensation, other than reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, for the purpose of lobbying on behalf of any other person, and any partner, owner, officer or employee of the business entity
The business entity receives or becomes entitled to receive any compensation, other than reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, to communicate directly with any elected state official, agency official or legislative official for the purpose of lobbying on behalf of any other person
“Expenditure” means payment, distribution, loan, advance deposit, reimbursement, or gift of money, real or personal property or any other thing of value; or a contract, promise, or agreement, whether or not legally enforceable.
Before engaging in any lobbying activity, or within 30 days after being employed as a lobbyist, whichever occurs first, a lobbyist must register with the Ethics Commission by filing a Lobbyist Registration Statement (Form LRS-1-2015) and a registration fee of $100 for each entity the lobbyist represents. West Virginia has a 2-year registration cycle where all lobbyist registrations expire at the end of each even-numbered year, and lobbyists must re-register by filing the same form before engaging in lobbying in the new year.
All registered lobbyists in West Virginia must participate in formal training once per registration cycle. Training must be completed during a registration cycle in order for the lobbyist to be eligible to re-register for the next Legislative session. Formal training sessions are held throughout the year, with at least one session being held each January. Lobbyist training is now available online. For more information, go to http://www.ethics.wv.gov/lobbyist/Pages/LobbyistTraining.aspx.
All registered lobbyists are required to file a Lobbyist Activity Report and Schedules A and B every year on May 15th, September 15th, and January 15th, even if no lobbying was done in the previous reporting period.