Hayward: Lobbyists Should Register With City
If Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward gets his way, those paid to lobby him, the City Council and other city staff would be required to register.
Besides their names and affiliations, the registry would oblige lobbyists to disclose their clients, and the subject matters they want to influence.
Hayward announced through his digital newsletter last fall that he wanted the adoption of such an ordinance. Three months in the making, the proposal is set to go before the City Council in the next few weeks.
There are four key points: annual registration and a $25 per client fee; disclosure of any direct business with city elected officials, and a ban on deliberate false statements when lobbying. Additionally, before addressing the council or other city boards, lobbyists would have to offer a verbal disclosure of their registration and whom they are representing.
Under the proposal, elected officials and government employees are not considered lobbyists if they are communicating with the mayor, council or board members in their official capacity. Neither are attorneys or others under contract with the city who address issues within the scope of their contracts.
Mayor Ashton Hayward is also quick to add that the notion of a lobbyist registry is not connected with the federal grand jury in Tallahassee, that’s investigating city contracts awarded during his administration.
If passed by the City Council in its current form, the penalties for violating the lobbyist ordinance include up to a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail. Each day of a violation would constitute a separate offense.