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The communication must be directed to a member of the legislative or executive branch of state government. MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATIVE OR EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF STATE GOVERNMENT The lobby law regulates direct communications to "members of the legislative or executive branch" of state government. Even if you do not register until November or December, your registration expires on December 31 of that year.

For example, if an organization publishes a newsletter for its members, the individuals writing the newsletter are not "communicating directly" with members of the legislature, even if a legislator may read the newsletter. This guide uses the term "state officer or employee" as a shorthand term to refer to a member of the executive or legislative branch of state government. EXPENDITURE THRESHOLD A person who expends in a calendar quarter for certain purposes must register as a lobbyist. The expenditures that count toward the expenditure threshold are expenditures that benefit a state officer or employee or the immediate family of a state officer or employee, that are made to communicate with a state officer or employee to influence legislation or administrative action, and that fall into one of the following six categories: An "expenditure" is "a payment, distribution, loan, advance, reimbursement, deposit, or gift of money or any thing of value and includes a contract, promise, or agreement, whether or not legally enforceable, to make an expenditure." Gov’t Code § 305.002(5). If you are currently registered and it is likely that you will need to register as a lobbyist for the next calendar year, you may submit a new registration in December to avoid a lapse in your lobby registration. Before completing the lobby registration (Form REG), be sure to read the instructions carefully.

You should remember, though, that the term does not include an officer or employee of the judicial branch. A "member of the legislative branch" of state government includes a member, member-elect, candidate for, or officer of the legislature or of a legislative committee. Employees of the legislature are also "members of the legislative branch" of state government. A "member of the executive branch" of state government includes an officer, officer-elect, candidate for, or employee of any state agency, department, or office in the executive branch of state government. Lobby Law Not Applicable to Communications to Judicial Branch. Allocating Compensation for Services Other Than Lobbying. Lobby Expenditure Made on Behalf of Another Person. A payment of less than 0 is not a lobby expenditure if the person who makes the expenditure is fully reimbursed by the state officer or employee benefiting from the expenditure before the date the expenditure would otherwise be required to be reported. If the instructions do not answer all of your questions about completing the form, call the Ethics Commission staff for assistance.

Communications to a member of the judicial branch of state government (such as a judge or a court clerk) are subject to the lobby law. A lobbyist who receives compensation or reimbursement for both lobbying and non-lobbying services is required to make a reasonable allocation of the compensation or reimbursement for lobbying. If a registrant, or a person on the registrant's behalf and with the registrant's consent or ratification, joins with another person to make an expenditure described by the lobby law, the amount of the expenditure made by or on behalf of the registrant for purposes of the lobby law includes only (1) the amount of the portion of the joint expenditure contributed by the registrant and (2) the amount of any portion of the joint expenditure that: is made on behalf of the registrant by a person who is not a registrant; and is not otherwise reported under the lobby law. REPORTING EMPLOYERS AND CLIENTS The lobby registration requires you to provide information about each person that employs, retains, or reimburses you to lobby.

For detailed information on completing the lobby activities report, please review the instructions for the lobby activities report (Form LA). TERMINATION OF LOBBY REGISTRATION If you stop lobbying in Texas want to terminate your lobbyist registration before it automatically expires on December 31, you may file a Lobby Termination Notice (Form TN) along with a final lobby activities report. Moreover, lobbyists should be aware not only of the restrictions on expenditures in the lobby law, but also the restrictions in Chapter 36 of the Penal Code. The registrant must be present either on the trip or at the event for which the expenditures were made. A registrant may provide food or beverages to a state officer or state employee, or immediate family or guests invited by a state officer or employee only if the registrant is present at the event.

REPORTING LOBBY EXPENDITURES BY CATEGORY Reporting by Nature of Expenditure. Lobby expenditures made for an event to which all members of the legislature are invited are reported under the specific category for such expenditures and are not included in any other category or on a detailed report. Sometimes questions arise as to whether a particular expenditure is a political contribution or a lobby expenditure. If you are a monthly filer, your final lobby activities report will cover the period that begins the day after the last day covered by your most recently filed lobby activities report and continues through the date you file your termination notice. The restrictions apply both when the lobbyist makes an expenditure and when someone other than a lobbyist makes an expenditure on the lobbyist’s behalf with the lobbyist’s consent or ratification. The lobby law also contains a number of restrictions on acceptance of lobby expenditures by state officers, state employees, immediate family and guests of state officers and employees, candidates for state offices, and officers-elect. Under the bribery statute, Section 36.02 of the Penal Code, a person may not offer, confer, or agree to confer on a public servant, and a public servant may not solicit, accept, or agree to accept, a "benefit" as consideration for a decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion by the public servant. A registrant may not give a state officer or employee a gift of cash or a negotiable instrument. The prohibitions against cash gifts and loans do not apply to political contributions. A registrant may also make necessary expenditures for food and beverages provided in connection with a conference, seminar, educational program, or similar event in which the state officer or employee provides services (such as giving a speech or participating on a panel) that are "more than merely perfunctory" and the registrant is present at the event. However, the registrant does not need to be present if the expenditure is for food or beverages with a value of or less, is intended as a gift for the state officer or employee, and is delivered by first-class United States mail or by common or contract carrier outside the Capitol Complex. There is no monetary limit on the expenditures a registrant may make for food or beverages. A registrant may provide entertainment to a state officer or state employee, or immediate family or guests invited by a state officer or employee only if the registrant is present at the event. Section 36.07 of the Penal Code provides that "[a] public servant commits an offense if the public servant solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept an honorarium in consideration for services that the public servant would not have been requested to provide but for the public servant's official position or duties." Thus, a gift to a state officer or employee that is permissible under the lobby law may nonetheless be prohibited under the honorarium provision. It is illegal for a person to retain or employ another to influence legislation or administrative action, or to accept employment or render any services to influence legislation or administrative action, when compensation for that employment or service is totally or partially contingent on the passage or defeat of any legislation, the governor's approval or veto of any legislation, or the outcome of any administrative action. Effective September 1, 2015, section 305.022 of the Government Code, as amended by House Bill 3517 (HB 3517), adopted by the 84th Legislature, prohibits the payment of a sales commission or other such fee to an independent contractor of a vendor of a product or service that is contingent on the outcome of administrative action, regardless of the amount of the state agency purchasing decision.

You must update your registration if the information has changed.) Changes to Registration Information During a Regular Legislative Session.

(You are not required to provide detailed reporting of expenditures for events to which all legislators are invited.) Detailed reporting is required if a lobbyist spends: Detailed reporting is also required if a lobbyist gives a state officer or employee a gift, award, or memento the value of which exceeds . If you make a lobby expenditure for a group that includes state officers and employees as well as other people and you cannot reasonably ascertain the exact amount spent on each person, you should apportion the lobby expenditures in accordance with the total number of persons present. When the person who makes a lobby expenditure is an entity other than an individual, the presence requirement is satisfied if an individual registrant who represents the entity is present, or if an individual who has management or supervisory authority for the event is present. SWORN COMPLAINTS An individual who believes a person has violated a provision of the lobby law or the Ethics Commission's rules may file a sworn complaint with the Ethics Commission.

* The statute sets this threshold at 60% of the amount of the legislative per diem. (Prior to that date, the legislative per diem was 0.) GENERAL REPORTING RULES Associated Expenses. The Ethics Commission may assess a civil penalty against a person it determines has violated the lobby law.

Such communications may be regulated by other laws. If a person engages in preparatory activities, but does not actually communicate to influence legislation or administrative action, registration is not required. Reimbursement that a person receives for the person's own transportation, food and beverage, or lodging is not included for purposes of calculating the compensation and reimbursement threshold. Reimbursement for the following office expenses is not included in calculating the compensation threshold and does not have to be reported as compensation or reimbursement received for lobbying: 1 T. Only the compensation or reimbursement attributable to lobbying counts toward the compensation threshold and is reported as compensation. If you are employed by a business entity engaged in lobbying for clients, the registration must also identify each of the entity’s clients for whom you lobby.

Lobby Law Not Applicable to Communications to Local Government Officials. A person employed by a lobbyist (or a person employed by the lobbyist’s employer who works under the lobbyist’s direction) to assist the lobbyist in nonclerical lobby activities must be listed as an assistant on the lobbyist’s registration. You must also provide information about the organizational structure and decision-making process of employers or clients that are unincorporated associations or privately-held corporations.

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