Lobbying FAQ's

General Administrative Questions

When does the new lobbying law, “An Act to Improve the Laws Relating to Campaign Finance, Ethics and Lobbying,” take effect?

The effective date of the legislation is January 1, 2010.

Where can I obtain a copy of “An Act to Improve the Laws Relating to Campaign Finance, Ethics and Lobbying”?

The Act is found in Chapter 28 of the 2009 Massachusetts Session Laws.  An unofficial text of the Act can be found online at:

http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/seslaw09/sl090028.htm

For an official text of “An Act to Improve the Laws Relating to Campaign Finance, Ethics and Lobbying,” it is recommended that you refer to an official edition of the Massachusetts Acts and Resolves. 

Where can I obtain a copy of the Massachusetts Lobbying Laws?

The lobbying laws are set forth in M.G.L. Chapter 3, Sections 39 – 50.  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has an unofficial version on the General Court’s website at:

http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/index.htm

For an official version of the lobbying law, it is recommended that you refer to M.G.L. Chapter 3, Sections 39 – 50 in an official edition of the Massachusetts General Laws.

I have previously registered online with the Lobbyist Section on the old Electronic Registration and Reporting System (ERRS), but I have never used the new Lobbyist Registration and Reporting System (LRRS) website.  How do I proceed?

Please visit the Lobbyist Section website via www.sec.state.ma.us.  On the Lobbyist Section website, review the document under the hyperlink, “First time sign in help,” and follow the instructions therein. 

Do not create a new account on LRRS if you were previously registered on ERRS.

Did the new legislation change the registration and disclosure deadlines?

No, deadlines for filing registration and disclosure did not change with the new legislation. 

Registration statements are due annually not later than December 15th of the year preceding the registration year. 

Disclosure statements are due bi-annually, on or before July 15th for the period covering January 1st – June 30th of the year, and January 15th for the period covering July 1 – December 31st of the preceding year.  

Did the new legislation change the registration filing fees?

No, the filing fees for a registration statement did not change with the new legislation.  Refer to M.G.L. Chapter 3, Section 41 for registration filing fees.

Did the new legislation change the disclosure late fees?

While there is no fee to file a disclosure statement itself, there is a late fee for its untimely filing.  Late fees for untimely disclosure statements have increased to $50.00 per day up to the twentieth day and an additional $100 per day for every day after the twentieth day until the statement is filed.

Registration General Questions – Examples

An executive officer and/or other employees of an organization testify before legislative committees or executive agencies on issues affecting their business. Are they required to register as agents?

If the executive officer and/or other employees in this example meet the definition of legislative lobbying, executive lobbying, or both, as well as meet the criteria for being an executive, a legislative agent, or both as set forth in M.G.L. Chapter 3, Section 39, they must register with the Lobbyist Section. 

A person is retained to advocate for a client on an issue before a municipal government, is he required to register as a lobbyist?

The new definitions of executive and legislative lobbying include acts to influence or attempt to influence the decision of any officer or employee of a city or town when those acts are intended to carry out a common purpose with executive or legislative lobbying at the state level.  (Emphasis added). 

Thus, if the municipal lobbying relates to a common purpose of lobbying at the state level as described above, meeting the definition of lobbying, and the advocate meets the criteria of being either an executive agent, a legislative agent, or both, then he must register as a lobbyist with the Lobbyist Section.

A business entity has retained a law firm to represent its interests. The attorneys assigned to the client are sometimes called on to lobby the company’s position on issues before the legislature or executive agencies. Are the attorneys now also considered lobbyists?

Attorneys have no special status under the Massachusetts Lobbying Law.  The attorneys are required to register if, as part of their regular and usual business activities and not simply incidental thereto, they engage in lobbying and meet the criteria of being legislative agents, executive agents, or both as defined in M.G.L. Chapter 3, Section 39. 

A lawyer is representing his client on a pro-bono basis at a regulatory hearing before an executive agency. What is the impact of the lobbying law concerning this type of situation?

The lawyer is required to register if, as part of his regular and usual business activities and not simply incidental thereto, he engages in lobbying and meets the criteria of being a legislative agent, and executive agent, or both as defined in G.L. c. 3, s. 39. 

If I am required to register as a lobbyist in Massachusetts, am I still permitted to participate on boards, commissions, groups, etc.?

M.G.L. c. 3, Sections 39-50 pertains to lobbying.  Sections 39-50 do not contain restrictions that prohibit or limit registered lobbyists from serving on or belonging to boards, commissions, or groups.  Further, Section 39 defines an “Act to communicate directly with a covered executive official to influence a decision concerning policy or procurement,” and specifically enumerates eleven activities that do not fall within that definition, including “an act made in the course of participation in an advisory committee or task force.”

For additional information, please see the educational seminar on the Lobbyist Section website available via: www.sec.state.ma.us