“Lobbying” means the practice of attempting to influence legislative or administrative action by oral or written communication with any elective state official, agency official or legislative employee, and includes time spent in preparation for such communication and appearances at public hearings or meetings or service on a committee in which such preparation or communication occurs.
A “lobbyist” is an individual who is employed by a principal, or contracts for or receives economic consideration, other than reimbursement for actual expenses, from a principal and whose duties include lobbying on behalf of the principal. If an individual’s duties on behalf of a principal are not limited exclusively to lobbying, the individual is a lobbyist only if he or she makes lobbying communications on each of at least 5 days within a reporting period.
A “principal” is any person who employs a lobbyist. If an association, corporation, limited liability company or partnership engages a lobbyist, an officer, employee, member, shareholder or partner of the association, corporation, limited liability company or partnership will not be considered a principal.
“Legislative action” means the development, drafting, introduction, consideration, modification, adoption, rejection, review, enactment or defeat of any bill, resolution, amendment, report, nomination, proposed administrative rule or other matter by the legislature or by either house or any committee, subcommittee, joint or select committee thereof, or by a legislator or employee of the legislature acting in an official capacity. “Legislative action” also means the action of the governor in approving or vetoing any bill or portion thereof, and the action of the governor or any agency in the development of a proposal for introduction in the legislature.
“Administrative action” means the proposal, drafting, development, consideration, promulgation, amendment, repeal or rejection by any agency of any rule promulgated under Chapter 227 (Administrative Procedure and Review).
“Lobbying communication” means an oral or written communication with any agency official, elective state official or legislative employee that attempts to influence legislative or administrative action.
“Lobbying expenditure” means an expenditure related to the performance of lobbying, whether received in the form of an advance or subsequent reimbursement. The term includes an expenditure for conducting research or for providing or using information, statistics, studies or analyses in communicating with an official that would not have been incurred but for lobbying.
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board regulates lobbying activities in the state. Principals must register their organization, lobbyists must obtain Lobbyist Licenses, and principals must authorize their lobbyists. Registration is not complete until all three steps have been completed and all required fee payments have been made. The 2015 to 2016 lobbying fee schedule is as follows:
Principal registration $375
Limited lobbying principal registration (under $500/year) $20
Lobbyist license (single principal) $250
Lobbyist license (multiple principals) $400
Authorization to lobby on behalf of principal $125 per lobbyist
Licenses and registrations are valid for an entire legislative session and expire on December 31st of every even-numbered year.
Lobbyists are required to submit periodic Lobbyist Time Reports. Every registered principal must submit 15 Day Reports on each bill, budget, bill subject, proposed rule, and topic on which the organization makes a lobbying communication within 15 days of the first lobbying communication. Registered principals must also submit a 6 Month Report on or before every July 31st and January 31st.