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May 25, 2019
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FAQs For Lobbyists Before The Florida Legislature

Lobbyists are urged to read the law (sections 11.045-11.062, Florida Statutes) and Joint Rule One prior to registration.


1.Who is required to register in order to lobby?
Lobbyists must register. A lobbyist is anyone who lobbies for compensation or any person who is principally employed for governmental affairs by another person or governmental entity to lobby on behalf of that other person or governmental entity.


2. When do lobbyists register?
For each principal represented, a lobbyist must register prior to lobbying for that principal.


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


4. How do lobbyists register?
By filing a completed Registration Form and Authorization Form, and paying the applicable registration fee. Forms are furnished by the Lobbyist Registration Office (LRO).


5. Where may lobbyists obtain the required forms?
From the web site at
www.leg.state.fl.us/Lobbyist/index.cfm?Mode=Forms&Submenu=4&Tab=lobbyist or from the LRO at 111 W. Madison St., Rm. G-68, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1425.


6. When are registrations effective?
When all of the required items have been received in good order by the LRO.


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


8. What information is required on the Registration Form?
The lobbyist’s name, business address and phone number; the principal represented and principal’s business address; the lobbying firm (if applicable), the lobbying firm’s phone number and business address; whether the lobbyist has a business association or partnership with a current member of the Legislature and the name of the member; whether the lobbyist has been convicted of a felony. Registration information must be stated under oath.


9. Must lobbyists have permission of a principal in order to register for that principal?
Yes. Their principals must authorize them to lobby. The required Authorization Form, which is furnished by the LRO, must be filed with the Registration Form and fee.


10. What is the registration fee?
Lobbyists must pay $50 for their first registration of the year and $20 for each additional registration for that year. Registration fees are not prorated over the calendar year. The fee must be submitted with the Registration Form. (If a person is registering to lobby before only one chamber, then the fee is $25 for the first registration and $10 for each additional registration.)


11. Are there any exemptions to the registration fee?
Yes. There are fee exemptions, but only for employees of specified state agencies and the judicial branch. Two employees of the following are exempt from paying the fee, provided they are designated in writing by the agency head:
    - each department created under chapter 20, F.S.
    - the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
    - the Executive Office of the Governor
    - the Commission on Ethics
    - the Florida Public Service Commission
    - the judicial branch (designated in writing by the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme    Court)
All other registrants must pay the fee.


12. What must lobbyists do if they no longer represent a principal?
Cancel their registration immediately on a Cancellation Form furnished by the LRO. Principals may also submit a letter canceling their lobbyists’ registrations. Cancellations cannot be made retroactively and are effective only upon receipt by the LRO.


13. What must lobbyists do if their registration information changes during the year?
Notify the LRO within 15 days of any changes on a “Change in Information Form” furnished by the LRO.


14. What should a lobbyist do if he or she registered for a principal and the principal
       subsequently changed its name?
If a lobbyist registered for a principal, for example Blue Green Dot Consulting, Inc, and the principal subsequently changed its name to Green Dot Consulting, Inc., then lobbyist must cancel the current registration for the principal under the old name and file registration and authorization forms under the new name of the principal and pay the $20 registration fee.

However, if the principal did not actually change its name but the lobbyist made a simple mistake on the registration form, such as a typographical error or omitting a comma or a word like “The” from the name, then the lobbyist may file a form furnished by the LRO to correct the name.


15. May lobbyists receive contingency fees?
No. No person may, in whole or part, pay, give, or receive, or agree to pay, give, or receive a contingency fee. However, this prohibition does not apply to lobbying on a claim bill.


16. 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.


17. Who is required to disclose compensation?
Lobbying firms. Every lobbying firm must submit a Compensation Report for each calendar quarter during any portion of which one or more of the firm’s lobbyists were registered to represent a principal.


18. What is a lobbying firm?
“Lobbying firm” means an association, a corporation, or any other 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. "Lobbying firm" does not include an entity that has “employees” who are lobbyists as long as the entity does not derive compensation from principals for lobbying, or such compensation is received exclusively from a subsidiary corporation of the employer “Employees” receive W-2 forms. If you receive a 1099, you are not an “employee” for LRO purposes.


19. What are the filing requirements for a compensation report?
Compensation reports must be created and submitted through the LRO’s Electronic Filing System, not later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern on the date of the filing deadline. Proof of electronic filing will be by electronic receipt indicating the date and time that the report was submitted. View the LRO’s Electronic Filing System at http://olcr.leg.state.fl.us.


20. When are the deadlines for filing Compensation Reports?
Reports must be filed no later than 45 days after the end of each quarter. The four quarters are January 1 — March 31, April 1 — June 30, July 1 — September 30, and October 1 — December 31.


21. What method of accounting must be used to report compensation?
Compensation shall be reported using the accrual basis of accounting.


22. 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. Compensation should only be reported once. In other words, do not report the same item of compensation in the quarter it became owed and again in the quarter it was received.


23. 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.


24. How does a lobbying firm report compensation that was partly for lobbying and partly
       for legal or other non-lobbying services, or was partly for legislative and partly for
        executive branch lobbying services?
Good faith, rationally-based, contemporaneously-documented allocation is required and will likely be a lobbying firm’s first line of response if the firm’s compensation reports are selected for examination by the Legislature’s independent contract auditor.


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


26. May a lobbying firm pay the fine the first time a report is filed late and use the one-time
       fine waiver during another quarter when the report might be filed late?
No. The one-time fine waiver is only available to a lobbying firm the very first time the firm’s compensation report is filed late.