Lobbyists must register

LIHUE — Lobbyists have to register with the Office of the County Clerk, effective Thursday, thanks to Ordinance 999, passed by the County Council in March.

“Up until now Kauai was the only county in the state without a law regulation lobbying activity,” said Gary Hooser, the Kauai County Councilman who proposed the legislation. “I am proud to say our county now has the best and most comprehensive lobbying law of any county requiring full financial disclosure of both legislative and administrative expenditures.”

The ordinance drew fire from two Kauai residents during the process of passing the bill, who both would be considered lobbyists under the new law.

“Support for the bill came in via email from all corners of the island from people interested in increasing transparency and curbing the influence of lobbyists on government decision making,” Hooser said.

Both Nancy Kanna, of the Kauai Board of Realtors, and Jan Tenbruggencate opposed the bill on grounds it was overbearing and unnecessarily complicated.

According to the new law, lobbyists are required to disclose the amount of money used by lobbyists to influence government decision making, and identify themselves as lobbyists prior to testifying before the County Council or county agencies.

The law defines a lobbyist as “any individual who for pay or other consideration engages in lobbying on behalf of another person in excess of five hours in any month of any reporting period or spends more than $750 lobbying during any reporting period.”

Additionally, those who spend $750 for paid media to influence government and each person who employs or contracts for the services of one or more registered lobbyists must file a Contributions and Expenditures Statement with the Office of the County Clerk on or before January 31 of each year.

In February public comment concerning the legislation, Kanna said the Kauai Board of Realtors supports a “sound framework for transparency in lobbying that is reasonable and balanced.”

She said the board believes the bill was “overarching, and presents an unreasonable burden.”

In addition to declaring the amount of money they’re spending and registering as a lobbyist, the ordinance requires disclosure of who they are lobbying for.

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