Introducing measure to establish mandatory ethics training
HARRISBURG – Reps. Matthew Dowling (R-Fayette/Somerset) and Brian Smith (R-Jefferson/Indiana) joined Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and other lawmakers Wednesday in calling for action on much-needed lobbyist reforms in the Commonwealth.
At a Capitol press conference, the lawmakers outlined a package of 11 reform bills to improve openness and transparency, limit lobbyist influence and ensure ethical conduct of all lobbyists operating in the Commonwealth.
“Nothing is more important than the public’s trust in their government to responsibly and respectfully represent them,” Dowling said. “Our citizens must know that we are listening to them and we won’t be unduly influenced by special interests.”
Dowling and Smith are the lead sponsors of legislation to establish mandatory ethics training for lobbyists. Under the bill, lobbyists would have to complete at least one hour of ethics training each year. The Department of State would be responsible for developing and managing the training program.
“Legislation to increase disclosure and transparency is imperative throughout Pennsylvania and should equally apply to both lawmakers and lobbyists,” said Smith. “Holding lobbyists accountable through similar mandatory ethics training that the Legislature is required to complete, and as established through the enactment of our legislation, is an excellent way to achieve these benchmarks for all sides encompassing the state Capitol spectrum.”
Other elements of the lobbyist reform package would:
• Require lobbyists to disclose and register any lobbying client conflicts with the Department of State.
• Require campaign consultants to register with the Department of State.
• Require lobbyists to register with the Department of State any equity they may hold in an entity on whose behalf they are lobbying.
• Prohibit campaign consultants from being registered lobbyists.
• Prohibit lobbyists from receiving or giving referral payments.
• Prohibit any state agency or entity from hiring an outside lobbyist.
• Require lobbyists to register with the Department of State for any clients for whom they seek state financial assistance.
• Prohibit lobbyists from collecting incentives through a third party upon a successful public taxpayer dollar-funded state grant program.
The proposals would mark the first major lobbyist reform effort in Harrisburg in 15 years.
The bills now await consideration in the House State Government Committee.
Representative Matthew Dowling
51st Legislative District
Representative Brian Smith
66th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Dowling Media Contact: Patricia Hippler
717.772.9846 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Smith Media Contact: Ty McCauslin
717.772.9979 / email@example.com