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Elizabeth Pagano is the editor of the Austin Monitor.
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Lobbying resolution sails through Council
Friday, December 18, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano
Though it garnered plenty of controversy along the way, in the end, City Council Member Leslie Pool’s lobby registration resolution passed with very little fuss. Council members approved the resolution in a vote of 10-0-1 with Council Member Don Zimmerman abstaining. Zimmerman expressed concern that some members of city staff are more powerful than lobbyists, which is an issue that is not addressed in the resolution. In a post on the City Council Message Board, Pool explained that the new regulations will allow citizens to see online who is lobbying and will implement clearer definitions and standards for lobbying in the city. “On the other hand,” wrote Pool, “a number of provisions are designed to exclude minor lobbyists: 1) the compensation threshold for lobbying is $2,000 and 26-hr a quarter of allocated compensation; 2) there is an exception from discretionary decisions for building and technical code issues on specific projects (e.g., plumbing, electrical, pipelaying, etc); and 3) there are reasonable, standard exceptions, such as from compensation for lobbying for applicants providing information to the city, citizens’ service on city boards, and for achieving compliance with city law.” The resolution will return to Council as an ordinance in the future, and if that ordinance is approved, the new regulations will take effect.
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