Jones’s measure to ensure transparency in lobbying unanimously passes committee

Sacramento – A measure authored by Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee) aimed at improving the transparency of lobbying activities in the Capitol was approved unanimously by the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee.

“Currently there is a lag time from when entities hire lobbyists, when lobbyists engage in efforts to support or oppose bills, and when the public and media are actually alerted to these lobbying activities,” stated Senator Brian W. Jones.  “This measure will streamline and open up the lobbying registration process so that the public and media will know much sooner which groups and individuals are lobbying on which issues.  Transparency is critical to making sure the law-making process is open and fair to all.”

Specifically, Senate Bill 305 amends the Political Reform Act of 1974 so that the California Secretary of State will be able to accept “electronic” signatures on registration documents from lobbyists, and those entities that hire lobbyists.  Currently, a “live” (original) signature is required on registration forms filed either in-person at the Secretary of State’s Office or sent through the mail.

The delay in documents hand-delivered or sent through the mail allows lobbying activities to occur before the public and the media are aware of who is actually registered to lobby on a measure.  SB 305 will allow the signature and the form to be filed electronically, thus significantly reducing the delay of posting these filings online by the Secretary of State’s Office and making them available for public review.

SB 305 is now awaiting hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee.