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November 22, 2014    Search Statutes:      
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FAQs for Lobbyists before Executive Branch Agencies

Lobbyists are urged to read the full text of the law (Section 112.3215, Florida Statutes, as amended by Chapters 2005-359 and 2006-275, Laws of Florida, and Commission on Ethics Rule Chapter 34-12, Florida Administrative Code).


1. Who is required to register in order to lobby?
Lobbyists must register. A lobbyist is anyone who is employed and receives payment, or who contracts for economic consideration, for the purpose of lobbying, or a person who is principally employed for governmental affairs by another person or governmental entity to lobby an agency on behalf that other person or governmental entity.


2. When do lobbyists register?
Prior to lobbying for the principal for each principal represented.


3. What is a principal?
The person, firm, corporation, governmental entity, or other entity which has employed or retained a lobbyist.


4. How do lobbyists register?
By filing a completed CE Form 20 – Registration Form, along with the Authorization to Represent Principal, and paying the registration fee. Forms are furnished by the Lobbyist Registration Office (LRO) and are also available on-line at: www.leg.state.fl.us/data/lobbyist/Forms/


5. When are registrations effective?
When all of the required items have been received by the LRO. Do not lobby until the registration is effective.


6. How long are registrations effective?
The registration cycle is a calendar year beginning January 1 and ending December 31.


7. What information is required on the Registration Form?
The lobbyist's name, business address, telephone number, and areas of interest; the principal represented and principal's business address; the lobbying firm (if applicable); the lobbying firm's mailing address and telephone number; whether the lobbyist has a business association, partnership, or financial relationship with any employee of an agency that will be lobbied; and those agencies the lobbyist will lobby. If "Agency Registration" is left blank, the lobbyist is registered to lobby all agencies. Registration information is required to be stated under oath.


8. Must lobbyists have permission in order to register?
Their principals must authorize them to lobby. The Authorization to Represent Principal, which includes the principal's six-digit NAICS code, must be signed by the principal or principal's representative and filed with the CE Form 20 – Registration Form.


9. What is the registration fee?
Lobbyists must pay $25 per principal, which must be included with their registration. There is no charge if the lobbyist amends his or her registration to lobby additional agencies.


10. Are there any exemptions to the registration fee?
No. However, the definition of "lobbyist" does not include: an attorney, or other person, who represents a client in a judicial proceeding or in a formal administrative proceeding conducted pursuant to Ch. 120, F.S. or any other formal hearing before an agency, board commission, or authority of this state; an employee of an agency or of a legislative or judicial branch entity acting in the normal course of his or her duties; a confidential informant who is providing, or wishes to provide, confidential information to be used for law enforcement purposes; or a person who lobbies to procure a contract pursuant to Ch. 287, F.S., which is less than $15,000.


11. What should lobbyists do if they no longer represent a principal?
Cancel their registration form immediately on a Cancellation Form furnished by the LRO.Principals may also submit a letter canceling their lobbyists' registrations. Cancellations are effective upon receipt by the LRO.


12. What should lobbyists do if there registration information changes during the year?
Notify the LRO within 15 days of any changes using a "Changes in Executive Branch Lobbyist Registration Information Form" furnished by the LRO.


13. May lobbyists receive contingency fees?
No. No person may, in whole or in part, pay, give, or receive, or agree to pay, give or receive a contingency fee. However, this prohibition does not apply to claims bills, or to a salesperson from receiving compensation or a commission as part of a bona fide contractual relationship with the company paying the compensation or commission.


14. What is compensation?
Payment, distribution, loan, advance, reimbursement, deposit, salary, fee, retainer, or anything of value provided or owed to a lobbying firm, directly or indirectly, by a principal for any lobbying activity.


15. Who is required to disclose compensation?
Each lobbying firm must file a CE Form 24 - Compensation Report, on forms furnished by the LRO, which are also available on-line at:  www.leg.state.fl.us/data/lobbyist/Forms/


16. What is a lobbying firm?
"Lobbying firm" means any business entity, including an individual contract lobbyist, that receives or becomes entitled to receive any compensation for the purpose of lobbying, where any partner, owner, officer or employee of the business entity is a lobbyist. An association, a governmental entity, a corporation, or other business entity that does not derive compensation from principals for lobbying is not a "lobbying firm," and neither are its employee-lobbyists.


17. When is the deadline for filing Compensation Reports?
Reports are filed for each calendar quarter during any portion of which one or more of the lobbying firm's lobbyists were registered to represent a principal.   The four quarters are: January 1- March 31, April 1 – June 30, July 1 – September 30, and October 1- December 31. Reports must be filed no later than 45 days after the end of each quarter.


18. What information is required on the Compensation Report?
The lobbying firm's full name, business address, and phone number; the name of each of the firm's registered lobbyists; the total compensation provided or owed to the lobbying firm from all principals for the quarter; the principal's full name, business address and phone number; total compensation provided or owed to the firm for each principal represented.


19. What if the lobbying firm subcontracts work from another firm and not from the
       originating principal?
The lobbying firm providing the work to be subcontracted is treated as the reporting lobbying firm's "principal" for compensation reporting purposes.   The reporting lobbying firm must state the name and address of the principal that originated the lobbying work.


20. Are there fines for filing a Compensation Report after the deadline?
The fine is $50 per report for each day late, not to exceed $5,000 per report. If a lobbying firm fails to pay a fine timely, then all the registrations for lobbyists who are partners, owners, officers, or employees of a lobbying firm are automatically suspended until the fine is paid or waived.


21. Can Compensation Reports be faxed to the LRO?
The final, completed version of the Compensation Report filed with the LRO must contain the original signature of the senior partner, officer, or owner of the lobbying firm.


22. Where may lobbyists obtain the required forms?
From the website at www.leg.state.fl.us/lobbyist or from the LRO located in the Pepper Building at 111 W. Madison Street, Room G-68, Tallahassee, FL  32399-1425.


23. Who do I call if I have questions?
The Commission on Ethics administers the Executive Branch Lobbyist registration and reporting requirements. It has co-located Commission employees in the LRO maintained in the Pepper Building, and you may contact them directly at 850/922-4990 for further assistance.  The Commission’s main office can be reached at 850/488-7864.