Pandemic sparks debate about distant lobbying in Nevada | Govt-and-politics
CARSON CITY, Nevada (AP) – Restrictions in Nevada law to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have changed the way we lobby and raised new regulatory issues.
Public access to the legislative building has been restricted since the Legislature was reunified on Feb.1, leaving the normally busy corridors empty except for staff and reporters. But that hasn’t stopped proponents from continuing their normal work, advocating for and against the hundreds of bills that have already been introduced.
Unlike other states, the Nevada Lobbying Disclosure and Regulation Act requires that lobbyists only register if they are personally lobbying. Registered lobbyists are required to provide monthly financial information about their activities. With the building closed, no lobbyists have registered since the legislature was reunified three weeks ago.
Congregation Speaker Jason Frierson and Congregation Chair Brittney Miller tabled a bill this week requiring lobbyists to register whether they are speaking out on behalf of their clients in person or remotely.
“In this virtual world, in which this – at least for the time being – is not part of the work of the legislature, lobbying activities still have to be reported to the public for the sake of transparency,” Frierson said in a Tuesday hearing committee.
Many lobbyists say they support the bill. But Melissa Clement of Nevada Right to Life said that requiring lobbyists to pay the $ 300 registration fee to stand up for their clients remotely didn’t address the crux of the problem – that lawmakers open to the public have to be. She said the type of lobbying involved making personal connections with lawmakers through face-to-face interactions.