How States Define Lobbying and Lobbyist

9/30/2019

If an individual qualifies as a "lobbyist" or an activity counts as "lobbying" based on the definitions of these terms, a whole host of laws may come into effect. Registration, disclosures, gift restrictions and prohibitions - all of these and more depend on the definitions of lobbying and lobbyist.

States generally define lobbying as an attempt to influence government action through either written or oral communication. However, each state may have unique elements for what constitutes lobbying, exceptions to the definitions, and exceptions to those exceptions.

Lobbyists are not simply individuals who engage in lobbying. As an example of one common exception, a legislator attempting to gather support for a bill through the normal course of legislative operations would not be considered a lobbyist. A constituent making a call to a policymaker regarding a matter of personal concern would similarly be exempt.

The definition of a lobbyist typically revolves around lobbying on behalf of another for compensation. Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Texas, Wyoming and New York stipulate compensation thresholds, so that an individual is required to register only after receiving a certain amount of compensation.

The following table provides definitions of lobbying, lobbyist, and other related terms from the respective states' statutes.

This table is intended to provide general information and does not necessarily address all aspects of this topic. Because the facts of each situation may vary, this information may need to be supplemented by consulting legal advisors. All content is up to date through 9/30/2019.

State Definitions of "Lobby" and "Lobbyist"
State Definition

Alabama

Lobby or Lobbying. The practice of promoting, opposing, or in any manner influencing or attempting to influence the introduction, defeat, or enactment of legislation before any legislative body; opposing or in any manner influencing the executive approval, veto, or amendment of legislation; or the practice of promoting, opposing, or in any manner influencing or attempting to influence the enactment, promulgation, modification, or deletion of regulations before any regulatory body. The term does not include providing public testimony before a legislative body or regulatory body or any committee thereof. Ala. Code § 36-25-1.

 

Lobbyist. The term includes any of the following: (1) A person who receives compensation or reimbursement from another person, group, or entity to lobby. (2) A person who lobbies as a regular and usual part of employment, whether or not any compensation in addition to regular salary and benefits is received. (3) A consultant to the state, county, or municipal levels of government or their instrumentalities, in any manner employed to influence legislation or regulation, regardless whether the consultant is paid in whole or part from state, county, municipal, or private funds. (4) An employee, a paid consultant, or a member of the staff of a lobbyist, whether or not he or she is paid, who regularly communicates with members of a legislative body regarding pending legislation and other matters while the legislative body is in session.  Ala. Code § 36-25-1.

 

"Lobbyist" does not include the following: (1) An elected official on a matter which involves that person's official duties. (2) A person or attorney rendering professional services in drafting bills or in advising clients and in rendering opinions as to the construction and effect of proposed or pending legislation, executive action, or rules or regulations, where those professional services are not otherwise connected with legislative, executive, or regulatory action. (3) Reporters and editors while pursuing normal reportorial and editorial duties. (4) Any citizen not lobbying for compensation who contacts a member of a legislative body, or gives public testimony on a particular issue or on particular legislation, or for the purpose of influencing legislation and who is merely exercising his or her constitutional right to communicate with members of a legislative body. (5) A person who appears before a legislative body, a regulatory body, or an executive agency to either sell or purchase goods or services. (6) A person whose primary duties or responsibilities do not include lobbying, but who may, from time to time, organize social events for members of a legislative body to meet and confer with members of professional organizations and who may have only irregular contacts with members of a legislative body when the body is not in session or when the body is in recess. (7) A person who is a member of a business, professional, or membership organization by virtue of the person's contribution to or payment of dues to the organization even though the organization engages in lobbying activities. (8) A state governmental agency head or his or her designee who provides or communicates, or both, information relating to policy or positions, or both, affecting the governmental agencies which he or she represents. Ala. Code § 36-25-1.

 

Lobbying includes promoting or attempting to influence the awarding of a grant or contract with any department or agency of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of state government. Ala. Code § 36-25-1.1.

Alaska

"Lobbyist” means a person who: (A) is employed and receives payments, or who contracts for economic consideration, including reimbursement for reasonable travel and living expenses, to communicate directly or through the person's agents with any public official for the purpose of influencing legislation or administrative action for more than 10 hours in any 30-day period in one calendar year; or (B) represents oneself as engaging in the influencing of legislative or administrative action as a business, occupation, or profession. Alaska Stat. § 24.45.171.

 

Exceptions to the definition of "lobbyist" include: (1) an individual who lobbies without payment or other consideration aside from reasonable personal travel and living expenses and who limits lobbying activities to appearances before public sessions of the legislature, public hearings, or other public proceedings of state agencies; (2) an elected or appointed state or municipal public officer or an employee of the state or a municipality acting in an official capacity or within the scope of employment; (3) any newspaper or other periodical of general circulation, book publisher, radio or television station (including an individual who owns, publishes, or is employed by that newspaper or periodical, radio or television station) that publishes news items, editorials, or other comments, or paid advertisements, that directly or indirectly urge legislative or administrative action if the newspaper, periodical, book publisher, radio or television station, or individual engages in no further or other activities in connection with urging or advocating legislative or administrative action other than to appear before public sessions of the legislature, or its committees or subcommittees, or public hearings or other public proceedings of state agencies; (4) a person who appears before the legislature or either house, or standing, special, or interim committee, in response to an invitation issued under (c) of this section. Alaska Stat. § 24.45.161.

Arizona

"Lobbying": (a) Means attempting to influence the passage or defeat of any legislation by directly communicating with any legislator or attempting to influence any formal rulemaking proceeding pursuant to chapter 6 of this title 1 or rulemaking proceedings that are exempt from chapter 6 of this title by directly communicating with any state officer or employee. (b) Includes, for a person who is otherwise required to be registered as a lobbyist for compensation pursuant to this article, attempting to influence the procurement of materials, services or construction by an agency, including the office of the governor. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 41-1231.

 

"Lobbying" does not include: (i) Interagency communications between state agency employees. (ii) Communications between a public official or employee of a public body, designated public lobbyist or authorized public lobbyist and any state officer, except for a member of the legislature, or an employee of the legislature. (iii) Oral questions or comments made by a person to a state officer or employee regarding a proposed rule and made in public at a meeting or workshop that is open to the public and that is sponsored by a state agency, board, commission, council or office. (iv) Communications between a public body and a self-employed person or person employed by a partnership or company regarding the procurement of materials, services or construction unless the self-employed person or person employed by a partnership or company is otherwise required to register pursuant to this article or is employed by, supervised by at any level or contracted by a person who is otherwise required to register as a lobbyist for compensation pursuant to this article. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 41-1231.

 

Specifically enumerated exceptions to lobbying registration requirements located at Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 41-1232.04.

Arkansas

“Lobbying” means communicating directly or soliciting others to communicate with any public servant with the purpose of influencing legislative action or administrative action. Ark. Code § 21-8-402.

 

“Lobbyist” means a person who: (A) Receives income or reimbursement in a combined amount of $400 or more in a calendar quarter for lobbying \1 or more governmental bodies; (B) Expends $400 or more in a calendar quarter for lobbying 1 or more governmental bodies, excluding the cost of personal travel, lodging, meals, or dues; or (C) Expends $400 or more in a calendar quarter, including postage, for the express purpose of soliciting others to communicate with any public servant to influence any legislative action or administrative action of 1 or more governmental bodies unless the communication has been filed with the Secretary of State or the communication has been published in the news media. If the communication is filed with the Secretary of State, the filing shall include the approximate number of recipients. Ark. Code § 21-8-402.

California

“Lobbyist” means either of the following: (1) Any individual who receives $2,000 or more in economic consideration in a calendar month, other than reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, or whose principal duties as an employee are, to communicate directly or through his or her agents with any elective state official, agency official, or legislative official for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action. Cal. Gov. Code § 82039.

 

Does not include: (a) Any elected public official acting in his official capacity, or any employee of the State of California acting within the scope of his employment; provided that, an employee of the State of California, other than a legislative official, who attempts to influence legislative action and who would be required to register as a lobbyist except for the provisions of this subdivision shall not make gifts of more than $10 in a calendar month to an elected state officer or legislative official. (b) Any newspaper or other periodical of general circulation, book publisher, radio or television station (including any individual who owns, publishes, or is employed by any such newspaper or periodical, radio or television station) which in the ordinary course of business publishes news items, editorials, or other comments, or paid advertisement, which directly or indirectly urge legislative or administrative action if such newspaper, periodical, book publisher, radio or television station or individual, engages in no further or other activities in connection with urging legislative or administrative action other than to appear before a committee of the Legislature or before a state agency in support of or in opposition to such action; or (c) A person when representing a bona fide church or religious society solely for the purpose of protecting the public right to practice the doctrines of such church. Cal. Gov. Code § 86300.

Colorado

“Lobbying” means communicating directly, or soliciting others to communicate, with a covered official for the purpose of aiding in or influencing the drafting, introduction, sponsorship, consideration, debate, amendment, passage, defeat, approval, or veto by any covered official on any matter pending or proposed in writing by any covered official for consideration by either house of the general assembly or a committee thereof. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-301. Also applies to state agencies with rule-making authority.

 

Does not include communications made in response to a statute, rule, regulation, or order requiring such communication. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-301.

 

Does not include communications by a person who appears before a committee of the general assembly or a rule-making board or commission solely as a result of an affirmative vote by the committee, board, or commission issuing a mandatory order or subpoena commanding that the person appear and testify. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-301.

 

Does not include attorney-client communications, duties performed by employees of the legislative department. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-301.

 

Does include both professional or volunteer lobbyists. A "volunteer lobbyist" means any individual who engages in lobbying and whose only receipt of money or other thing of value consists of nothing more than reimbursement for actual and reasonable expenses incurred for personal needs. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-301.

Connecticut

“Lobbying” means communicating directly or soliciting others to communicate with any official or his staff in the legislative or executive branch of government or in a quasi-public agency, for the purpose of influencing any legislative or administrative action. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-91.

 

“Lobbying” does not include (A) communications by or on behalf of a party to, or an intervenor in, a contested case, before an executive agency or a quasi-public agency, (B) communications by a representative of a vendor or by an employee of the registered client lobbyist which representative or employee acts as a salesperson and does not otherwise engage in lobbying regarding any administrative action, (C) communications by an attorney made while engaging in the practice of law and regarding any matter other than legislative action, or (D) other communications exempted by regulations adopted by the Office of State Ethics. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-91.

 

“Lobbyist” means a person who in lobbying and in furtherance of lobbying makes or agrees to make expenditures, or receives or agrees to receive compensation, reimbursement, or both, and such compensation, reimbursement or expenditures are $3,000 or more in any calendar year or the combined amount thereof is $3,000 or more in any such calendar year. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-91.

 

"Lobbyist" does not include: (A) A public official, employee of a branch of state government or a subdivision thereof, including an official or employee of a quasi-public agency, or elected or appointed official of a municipality or his or her designee other than an independent contractor acting within the scope of his or her authority or employment;(B) A publisher, owner or an employee of the press, radio or television while disseminating news or editorial comment to the general public in the ordinary course of business; (C) An individual representing himself or herself or another person before the legislature or a state agency other than for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action; (D) Any individual who receives no compensation or reimbursement specifically for lobbying and who limits his activities solely to formal appearances to give testimony before public sessions of committees of the General Assembly or public hearings of state agencies and who, if he or she testifies, registers his or her appearance in the records of such committees or agencies; (E) A member of an advisory board acting within the scope of his or her appointment; (F) A senator or representative in Congress acting within the scope of his or her office; (G) Any person who receives no compensation or reimbursement specifically for lobbying and who spends no more than 5 hours in furtherance of lobbying unless such person (i) exclusive of salary, receives compensation or makes expenditures, or both, of $3,000 or more in any calendar year for lobbying or the combined amount thereof is $3,000 or more in any such calendar year, or (ii) expends $50 or more for the benefit of a public official in the legislative or executive branch, a member of his or her staff or immediate family; (H) A communicator lobbyist who receives or agrees to receive compensation, reimbursement, or both, the aggregate amount of which is less than $3,000 from each client in any calendar year. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-91.

Delaware

“Lobbyist” means any individual who acts to promote, advocate, influence or oppose any matter pending before the General Assembly by direct communication with the General Assembly or any matter pending before a state agency by direct communication with that state agency, and who in connection therewith either: a. Has received or is to receive compensation; or b. Is authorized to act as a representative of any person who has as a substantial purpose the influencing of legislative or administrative action; or c. Expends any funds during the calendar year for members of the General Assembly or for employees or members of any state agency for 1) food and refreshment; 2) entertainment; 3) lodging expenses; 4) fair travel value if over 100 miles; 5) recreation expenses; 6) gifts or contributions, excluding political contributions. Del Code tit. 29, § 5831.

District of Columbia

“Lobbying” means communicating directly with any official in the legislative or executive branch of the District government with the purpose of influencing any legislative action or an administrative decision. D.C. Code § 1-1161.01.

Does not include: (i) The appearance or presentation of written testimony by a person on his or her own behalf, or representation by an attorney on behalf of any such person in a rulemaking, rate-making, or adjudicatory hearing before an executive agency or the Tax Assessor; (ii) Information supplied in response to written inquiries by an executive agency, the Council, or any public official; (iii) Inquiries concerning only the status of specific actions by an executive agency or the Council; (iv) Testimony given before the Council or a committee of the Council, during which a public record is made of such proceedings or testimony submitted for inclusion in such a public record; v) A communication made through the instrumentality of a newspaper, television, or radio of general circulation, or a publication whose primary audience is the organization's membership; and (vi) Communications by a bona fide political party. D.C. Code § 1-1161.01.

"Lobbyist” means any person who engages in lobbying. D.C. Code § 1-1161.01.

 

Does not include public officials communicating directly or soliciting others to communicate with other public officials; provided, that a public official does not receive compensation in addition to his or her salary for such communication or solicitation and makes such communication and solicitation in his or her official capacity. D.C. Code § 1-1161.01.

Florida

“Lobbying” means influencing or attempting to influence legislative action or nonaction through oral or written communication or an attempt to obtain the goodwill of a member or employee of the Legislature. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 11.045.

“Lobbyist” means a person 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 on behalf of that other person or governmental entity. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 11.045.

 

Does not include (1) an attorney who represents a client in a judicial proceeding or in a formal administrative proceeding or any other formal hearing before an agency, board, commission, or authority of this state; (2) an employee of an agency or legislative or judicial branch entity acting in the normal course of his or her duties; (3) a confidential informant providing confidential information to be used for law enforcement purposes; a person who lobbies to procure a contract less than $20,000. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 112.3215 & 287.017.

Georgia

“Lobbying” means the activity of a lobbyist while acting in that capacity. Ga. Code Ann. § 21-5-70.

 

"Lobbyist" means: (from Ga. Code Ann. § 21-5-70)

  • (A) Any natural person who receives or anticipates receiving more than $250.00 per calendar year in compensation or reimbursement or payment of expenses specifically for undertaking to promote or oppose the passage of any legislation by the General Assembly, or any committee of either chamber or a joint committee thereof, or the approval or veto of legislation by the Governor;
  • (B) Any natural person who makes a lobbying expenditure of more than $1,000.00 in a calendar year, not including the person's own travel, food, lodging expenses, or informational material, to promote or oppose the passage of any legislation by the General Assembly, or any committee of either chamber or a joint committee thereof, or the approval or veto of legislation by the Governor; 
  • (D) Any natural person who is compensated specifically for undertaking to promote or oppose the passage of any ordinance or resolution by a public officer, or any committee of such public officers, or the approval or veto of any such ordinance or resolution;
  • (E) Any natural person who makes a lobbying expenditure of more than $1,000.00 in a calendar year, not including the person's own travel, food, lodging expenses, or informational material, to promote or oppose the passage of any ordinance or resolution by a public officer, or any committee of such public officers, or the approval or veto of any such ordinance or resolution;
  • (F) Any natural person who as an employee of local government engages in any activity covered under subparagraph (D) of this paragraph;
  • (G) Any natural person who is hired specifically to undertake influencing a public officer or state agency in the selection of a vendor to supply any goods or services to any state agency but does not include any employee or independent contractor of the vendor solely on the basis that such employee or independent contractor participates in soliciting a bid or in preparing a written bid, written proposal, or other document relating to a potential sale to a state agency and shall not include a bona fide salesperson who sells to or contracts with a state agency for goods or services and who does not otherwise engage in activities described in subparagraphs (A) through (F) or (H) through (I) of this paragraph;
  • (H) Any natural person who, either individually or as an employee of another person, is compensated specifically for undertaking to promote or oppose the passage of any rule or regulation of any state agency;
  • (I) Any natural person who, either individually or as an employee of another person, is compensated specifically for undertaking to promote or oppose any matter before the State Transportation Board; or
  • (J) Any natural person who makes a lobbying expenditure of more than $1,000.00 in a calendar year, not including the person's own travel, food, lodging expenses, or informational material, to promote or oppose any matter before the State Transportation Board.
Guam

Lobbyist means any person who engages for pay in any amount, or engages for any in-kind consideration, which may include expenses, for the purpose of attempting to influence the passage, defeat, or content of any legislation by I Liheslaturan GuĂ„han. 2 G.C.A. § 8101.

 

Lobbying means any activity by a lobbyist which is reasonably designed to influence the passage, defeat, or content of any legislation. 2 G.C.A. § 8101.

 

Does not apply to: (A) a member of the public appearing before a committee of I Liheslatura in support of or opposition to legislation; (B) a member of the public who contacts their elected officials; (C) government officials or designee acting in their official capacity; (D) government employees providing information on legislation or responding to requests for information;(E) reporters, employees or owners of publications engaged in regularly reporting on news items, editorials or other commentaries concerning legislation; provided, that the reporter, employee, or owner does not engage in further or other activities in connection with the passage or defeat of legislation other than appearing before a committee and submitting testimony; (F) paid advertisements which contain a disclosure of the entity paying for the advertisement and entity interested in the issue lobbied; (G) campaign contributions within the limits allowed by law, made to a senator or senator's campaign committee; and (H) volunteers. 2 G.C.A. § 8101.

Hawaii

“Lobbying” means communicating with any official in the legislative or executive branch for the purpose of attempting to influence legislative or administrative action or a ballot issue. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 97-1.

 

Does not include the preparation and submission of a grant application by a representative of a nonprofit organization. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 97-1.

 

“Lobbyist” means any individual who : (1) Receives or expects to receive $1,000 or more in monetary or in-kind compensation in any calendar year for engaging in lobbying; or (2) For pay or other consideration, on behalf of another person:(A) Engages in lobbying in excess of five hours in any month of any reporting period; (B) Engages in lobbying in excess of ten hours during any calendar year; or (C) Makes expenditures of $1,000 or more of the person's or any other person's money lobbying during any reporting period described in section 97-3. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 97-1.

Idaho

“Lobby” and “lobbying” each means attempting through contacts with members of the legislature or legislative committees or an executive official, to influence any legislation by the legislature of Idaho or any committee thereof or by the governor or to develop or maintain relationships with, promote goodwill with, or entertain members of the legislature or executive officials. Idaho Code Ann. § 67-6602.

 

“Lobby” and “lobbying” shall also mean communicating with an executive official for the purpose of influencing any rule or rulemaking, or any ratemaking decision, procurement, contract, bid or bid process, financial services agreement, or bond issue. Idaho Code Ann. § 67-6602.

 

Neither “lobby” nor “lobbying” includes an association's or other organization's act of communicating with the members of that association or organization; and provided that neither “lobby” nor “lobbying” includes communicating with an executive official for the purpose of carrying out ongoing negotiations following the award of a bid or a contract, communications involving ongoing legal work and negotiations conducted by and with attorneys for executive agencies, interactions between parties in litigation or other contested matters, or communications among and between members of the legislature and executive officials and their employees, or by state employees while acting in their official capacity or within the course and scope of their employment. Idaho Code Ann. § 67-6602.

Illinois

“Lobby” and “lobbying” means any communication with an official of the executive or legislative branch of State government for the ultimate purpose of influencing any executive, legislative, or administrative action. 25 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 170/2.

 

“Lobbyist” means any natural person who undertakes to lobby State government. 25 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 170/2.

Indiana

“Lobbying” means communicating by any means, or paying others to communicate by any means, with any legislative person with the purpose of influencing any legislative action. Ind. Code Ann. § 2-7-1-9.

 

“Lobbyist” means any person who: (1) engages in lobbying; and (2) in any registration year, receives or expends an aggregate of at least $500 in compensation or expenditures for lobbying, whether the compensation or expenditure is solely for lobbying or the lobbying is incidental to that individual's regular employment. Ind. Code Ann. § 2-7-1-10.

 

The following are not considered lobbyists: (1) A public employee or public official. (2) The National Conference of State Legislatures. (3) The National Conference of Insurance Legislators. (4) The American Legislative Exchange Council. (5) Women in Government. (6) The Council of State Governments. (7) The National Black Caucus of State Legislators. (8) Any other national organization established for the education and support of legislative leadership, legislators, legislative staff, or related government employees. Ind. Code Ann. § 2-7-1-10.

Iowa

“Lobbyist” means an individual who, by acting directly, does any of the following: (1) Receives compensation to encourage the passage, defeat, approval, veto, or modification of legislation, a rule, or an executive order by the members of the general assembly, a state agency, or any statewide elected official. (2) Is a designated representative of an organization which has as one of its purposes the encouragement of the passage, defeat, approval, veto, or modification of legislation, a rule, or an executive order before the general assembly, a state agency, or any statewide elected official. (3) Represents the position of a federal, state, or local government agency, in which the person serves or is employed as the designated representative, for purposes of encouraging the passage, defeat, approval, veto, or modification of legislation, a rule, or an executive order by members of the general assembly, a state agency, or any statewide elected official. (4) Makes expenditures of more than $1,000 in a calendar year, other than to pay compensation to an individual who provides the services specified under subparagraph (1) or to communicate with only the members of the general assembly who represent the district in which the individual resides, to communicate in person with members of the general assembly, a state agency, or any statewide elected official for purposes of encouraging the passage, defeat, approval, veto, or modification of legislation, a rule, or an executive order. Iowa Code Ann. § 68B.2.


“Lobbyist” does not mean: (1) Officials and employees of a political party organized in the state of Iowa representing more than two percent of the total votes cast for governor in the last preceding general election, but only when representing the political party in an official capacity. (2) Representatives of the news media only when engaged in the reporting and dissemination of news and editorials. (3) All federal, state, and local elected officials, while performing the duties and responsibilities of office. (4) Persons whose activities are limited to appearances to give testimony or provide information or assistance at sessions of committees of the general assembly or at public hearings of state agencies or who are giving testimony or providing information or assistance at the request of public officials or employees. (5) Members of the staff of the United States Congress or the Iowa general assembly. (6) Agency officials and employees while they are engaged in activities within the agency in which they serve or are employed or with another agency with which the official's or employee's agency is involved in a collaborative project. (7) An individual who is a member, director, trustee, officer, or committee member of a business, trade, labor, farm, professional, religious, education, or charitable association, foundation, or organization who either is not paid compensation. (8) Persons whose activities are limited to submitting data, views, or arguments in writing, or requesting an opportunity to make an oral presentation under section 17A.4, subsection 1. Iowa Code Ann. § 68B.2.

Kansas

“Lobbyist” means: (1) Any person employed in considerable degree for lobbying; (2) any person formally appointed as the primary representative of an organization or other person to lobby in person on state-owned or leased property; or (3) any person who makes expenditures in an aggregate amount of $1,000 or more, exclusive of personal travel and subsistence expenses, in any calendar year for lobbying; (4) any person hired as an independent contractor and compensated by an executive agency for the purpose of evaluation, management, consulting or acting as a liaison for the executive agency and who engages in lobbying, except an attorney or law firm representing the executive agency in a legal matter. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-222.


“Lobbyist” shall not include: (1) Any state officer or employee engaged in carrying out the duties of their office; (2) the employer of a lobbyist, if such lobbyist has registered the name and address of such employer; (3) any nonprofit organization which is interstate in its operations and of which a primary purpose is the nonpartisan analysis, study or research of legislative procedures or practices and the dissemination of the results thereof to the public; (4) any justice or commissioner of the supreme court or judge of the judicial branch or employee or officer of the judicial branch or, any member of a board, council or commission who is appointed by the supreme court or who is elected or appointed to exercise duties pertaining to functions of the judicial branch, when such person is engaged in performing a function or duty for the judicial branch; or (5) any appointed member of an advisory council, commission or board, who serves without compensation other than amounts for expense allowances or reimbursement of expenses, when such member is engaged in performing a function or duty for such council, commission or board. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-222.
“Lobbying” means: (1) Promoting or opposing in any manner action or nonaction by the legislature on any legislative matter; (2) promoting or opposing in any manner an action or nonaction by any executive agency on any executive administrative matter; (3) promoting or opposing in any manner an action or nonaction by any judicial agency on any judicial administrative matter; or (4) entertaining any state officer or employee or giving any gift, honorarium or payment to a state officer or employee in an aggregate value of $40 or more within any calendar year, if at any time during such year the person supplying the entertainment, gifts, honoraria or payments has a financial interest in any contract with, or action, proceeding or other matter before the state agency in which such state officer or employee serves, or if such person is the representative of a person having such a financial interest. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-225.
“Lobbying” does not include: any expenditure from amounts appropriated by the legislature for official hospitality; representation of a claimant on a claim filed by the claimant in proceedings before the joint committee on special claims against the state; bona fide personal or business entertaining. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-225.


“Lobbying” does not include: (1) Written communications by an employee of a private business seeking a contract, agreement or lease with an executive agency or judicial agency solely for the purpose of describing goods or services to be provided or for preparing a bid, proposal or other document relating to a contract, agreement or lease, such as factual information, specifications, terms, conditions, timing or similar technical or commercial information or communications by an employee of a private business awarded a bid or contract for the purpose of carrying out ongoing negotiations following the award of the bid or contract; (2) communications by an attorney representing a client involving ongoing legal work with respect to an executive administrative matter or judicial administrative matter, or an administrative proceeding or hearing and negotiations conducted by and with attorneys for executive agencies or judicial agencies, or interactions between parties in litigation or other contested matters, and testimony by a witness in an administrative hearing or communications to or by investigators or authorities in the course of any investigation; (3) communications among and between members of the legislature or executive or judicial officials or employees; (4) providing written information in response to a written request from an executive agency for technical advice or factual information regarding a standard, rate, rule or regulation, policy or procurement or from a judicial agency regarding a procurement; (5) communications regarding a contract, lease or agreement of $5,000 or less; (6) communications made by or on behalf of a private business for the purpose of securing a grant, loan or tax benefit pursuant to a Kansas economic development program for the purpose of locating, relocating or expanding a private business within or into Kansas; or (7) communications made by officers or employees of a certified business or disabled veteran business. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-225.

Kentucky

“Lobby” means to promote, advocate, or oppose the passage, modification, defeat, or executive approval or veto of any legislation by direct communication with any member of the General Assembly, the Governor, the secretary of any cabinet, or any member of the staff of any of the officials listed in this paragraph. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 6.611.

 

“Lobbying” does not include: 1. Appearances before public meetings of the committees, subcommittees, task forces, and interim committees of the General Assembly; 2. News, editorial, and advertising statements published in newspapers, journals, or magazines, or broadcast over radio or television; 3. The gathering and furnishing of information and news by bona fide reporters, correspondents, or news bureaus to news media; 4. Publications primarily designed for, and distributed to, members of bona fide associations or charitable or fraternal nonprofit corporations; 5. Professional services in drafting bills or resolutions, preparing arguments on these bills or resolutions, or in advising clients and rendering opinions as to the construction and the effect of proposed or pending legislation, if the services are not otherwise connected with lobbying; or 6. The action of any person not engaged by an employer who has a direct interest in legislation, if the person assembles together with other persons for their common good, petitions any official listed in this subsection for the redress of grievances, or other proper purposes. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 6.611.

Louisiana

“Lobbying” or “to lobby” means: (a) Any direct act or communication with a legislator, the purpose of which is to aid in influencing the passage or defeat of any legislation, (b) Any preparation or research specifically intended, at the time it is performed, for use in or in support of any ongoing or planned direct act or communication with a legislator, the purpose of which is to aid in influencing the passage or defeat of any legislation, or (c) Conducting or attending a meeting the purpose of which is to discuss direct communication with a legislator to aid in influencing the passage or defeat of any legislation. La. Stat. Ann. § 24:51.


“Lobbyist” means either: (i) Any person who is employed or engaged for compensation to act in a representative capacity for the purpose of lobbying if lobbying constitutes one of the principal duties of such employment or engagement. (ii) Any person who acts in a representative capacity and makes an expenditure. La. Stat. Ann. § 24:51.

Maine

“Lobbying” means to communicate directly with any official in the legislative branch or any official in the executive branch or with a constitutional officer for the purpose of influencing any legislative action or with the Governor or the Governor's cabinet and staff for the purpose of influencing the approval or veto of a legislative action when reimbursement for expenditures or compensation is made for those activities. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 3, § 312-A.


“Lobbying” includes the time spent to prepare and submit to the Governor, an official in the legislative branch, an official in the executive branch, a constitutional officer or a legislative committee oral and written proposals for, or testimony or analyses concerning, a legislative action. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 3, § 312-A.


“Lobbying” does not include time spent by any person providing information to or participating in a subcommittee, stakeholder group, task force or other work group regarding a legislative action by the appointment or at the request of the Governor, a Legislator or legislative committee, a constitutional officer, a state agency commissioner or the chair of a state board or commission. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 3, § 312-A.


“Lobbyist” means any person who is specifically employed by another person for the purpose of and who engages in lobbying in excess of 8 hours in any calendar month, or any individual who, as a regular employee of another person, expends an amount of time in excess of 8 hours in any calendar month in lobbying. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 3, § 312-A.


“Lobbyist” does not include: a lobbyist associate; an individual who receives no compensation for lobbying other than reimbursement for lobbying-related travel within the State and reimbursement for other out-of-pocket expenditures made by the individual for printing, postage and food and lodging connected with lobbying activities paid for by the individual. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 3, § 312-A.

Maryland

Must register as a lobbyist if, for the purpose of influencing any legislative or executive action relating to the development or adoption of regulations or an executive order, communicates with an official or employee of the Legislative or Executive Branch and either incurs expenses of at least $500, earns at least $2,500 as compensation for all such communication and activities relating to the communication during the reporting period. Md. Gen. Provis. § 5-702.
Must register if: in connection with or for the purpose of influencing any executive action, spends a cumulative value of at least $100 for gifts, including meals, beverages, and special events, to one or more officials or employees of the Executive Branch; compensated to influence executive action on a procurement contract that exceeds $100,000; compensated by a business entity to influence executive action to secure from the State a business grant or loan with a value of more than $100,000 for the business entity; spends at least $2,000 for the express purpose of soliciting others to communicate with an official to influence legislative action or executive action; spends at least $2,500 to provide compensation to one or more entities required to register under this subsection. Md. Gen. Provis. § 5-702.


Exempted if: 1) appearance as part of the official duties of an elected or appointed official or employee of the state, to the extent the appearance is not on behalf of any other entity; 2) an action of a member of the news media during the ordinary course of gathering and disseminating news; 3) representation of a bona fide religious organization for a related purpose of a religious organization; 4) appearances as part of the official duties of a person engaged only in representing counties or municipal corporations; 5) official duties of a trustee, administrator, or faculty member of a nonprofit independent college or university. Some other limited exceptions in Md. Gen. Provis. § 5-702.

Massachusetts

“Legislative lobbying,” any act to promote, oppose, influence or attempt to influence legislation, or to promote, oppose or influence the governor's approval or veto thereof including any action to influence the introduction, sponsorship, consideration, action or non-action with respect to any legislation; provided that legislative lobbying shall include acts to influence or attempt to influence the decision of any officer or employee of a city or town when those acts are intended to carry out a common purpose with legislative lobbying at the state level; and provided further, that legislative lobbying shall include strategizing, planning and research if performed in connection with or for use in an actual communication with a government employee. A similar definition exists for executive lobbying. Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 3, § 39.


“Legislative lobbying” shall not include providing information in writing in response to a written request from an officer or employee of the legislative branch for technical advice or factual information regarding any legislation for the purposes of this chapter. Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 3, § 39.

Michigan

“Lobbying” means communicating directly with an official in the executive branch of state government or an official in the legislative branch of state government for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 4.415.

 

Lobbying does not include the providing of technical information when appearing before an officially convened legislative committee or executive department hearing panel. As used in this subsection, “technical information” means empirically verifiable data provided by a person recognized as an expert in the subject area to which the information provided is related. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 4.415.

 

“Lobbyist” means any of the following: (a) A person whose expenditures for lobbying are more than $1,000.00 in value in any 12-month period. (b) A person whose expenditures for lobbying are more than $250.00 in value in any 12-month period, if the amount is expended on lobbying a single public official. (c) For the purpose of subdivisions (a) and (b), groups of 25 or more people shall not have their personal expenditures for food, travel, and beverage included, providing those expenditures are not reimbursed by a lobbyist or lobbyist agent. (d) The state or a political subdivision which contracts for a lobbyist agent. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 4.415.

 

Lobbyist or lobbyist agent does not include: (a) A publisher, owner, or working member of the press, radio, or television while disseminating news or editorial comment to the general public in the ordinary course of business. (b) All elected or appointed public officials of state or local government who are acting in the course or scope of the office for no compensation, other than that provided by law for the office. (c) Employees of public or private colleges, community colleges, junior colleges or universities. (d) Employees of townships, villages, cities, counties or school boards. (e) Employees of state executive departments. (f) Employees of the judicial branch of government. (g) A member of a lobbyist, if the lobbyist is a membership organization or association, and if the member of a lobbyist does not separately qualify as a lobbyist under subsection (4). Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 4.415.

Minnesota

“Lobbyist” means an individual: (1) engaged for pay or other consideration of more than $3,000 from all sources in any year for the purpose of attempting to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials; or (2) who spends more than $250, not including the individual's own traveling expenses and membership dues, in any year for the purpose of attempting to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 10A.01.

“Lobbyist” does not include: (1) a public official; (2) an employee of the state, including an employee of any of the public higher education systems; (3) an elected local official;(4) a nonelected local official or an employee of a political subdivision acting in an official capacity, unless the nonelected official or employee of a political subdivision spends more than 50 hours in any month attempting to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit other than the political subdivision employing the official or employee, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials, including time spent monitoring legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, and related research, analysis, and compilation and dissemination of information relating to legislative or administrative policy in this state, or to the policies of metropolitan governmental units; (5) a party or the party's representative appearing in a proceeding before a state board, commission, or agency of the executive branch unless the board, commission, or agency is taking administrative action; (6) an individual while engaged in selling goods or services to be paid for by public funds; (7) a news medium or its employees or agents while engaged in the publishing or broadcasting of news items, editorial comments, or paid advertisements which directly or indirectly urge official action; (8) a paid expert witness whose testimony is requested by the body before which the witness is appearing, but only to the extent of preparing or delivering testimony; or (9) a party or the party's representative appearing to present a claim to the legislature and communicating to legislators only by the filing of a claim form and supporting documents and by appearing at public hearings on the claim. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 10A.01.

 

An individual who volunteers personal time to work without pay or other consideration on a lobbying campaign, and who does not spend more than $3,000, need not register as a lobbyist. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 10A.01.

 

An individual who provides administrative support to a lobbyist and whose salary and administrative expenses attributable to lobbying activities are reported as lobbying expenses by the lobbyist, but who does not communicate or urge others to communicate with public or local officials, need not register as a lobbyist. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 10A.01.

Mississippi

“Lobbying” means: (i) Influencing or attempting to influence legislative or executive action through oral or written communication; or (ii) Solicitation of others to influence legislative or executive action; or (iii) Paying or promising to pay anything of value directly or indirectly related to legislative or executive action. Miss. Code. Ann. § 5-8-3.

 

“Lobbyist” means: (i) An individual who is employed and receives payments, or who contracts for economic consideration, including reimbursement for reasonable travel and living expenses, for the purpose of lobbying; (ii) An individual who represents a legislative or public official or public employee, or who represents a person, organization, association or other group, for the purpose of lobbying; (iii) A sole proprietor, owner, part owner or shareholder in a business who has a pecuniary interest in legislative or executive action, who engages in lobbying activities; or (iv) Any individual described in subparagraphs (i), (ii) or (iii) of this paragraph (l) who is employed by or has contracted with any agency, legislative or public official or public employee, or any other public entity for the purpose of providing any type of consulting or other similar service but also engages in any type of lobbying activities. Miss. Code. Ann. § 5-8-3.

Missouri

Lobbyist. Any natural person defined as an executive lobbyist, judicial lobbyist, elected local government official lobbyist, or a legislative lobbyist. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 105.470.

 

Legislative lobbyist. Any natural person who acts for the purpose of attempting to influence the taking, passage, amendment, delay or defeat of any official action on any bill, resolution, amendment, nomination, appointment, report or any other action or any other matter pending or proposed in a legislative committee in either house of the general assembly, or in any matter which may be the subject of action by the general assembly and in connection with such activity, meets the requirements of any one or more of the following: (a) Is acting in the ordinary course of employment, which primary purpose is to influence legislation on a regular basis, on behalf of or for the benefit of such person's employer, except that this shall not apply to any person who engages in lobbying on an occasional basis only and not as a regular pattern of conduct; or (b) Is engaged for pay or for any valuable consideration for the purpose of performing such activity; or (c) Is designated to act as a lobbyist by any person, business entity, governmental entity, religious organization, nonprofit corporation, association or other entity; or (d) Makes total expenditures of $50 or more during the twelve-month period beginning January first and ending December thirty-first for the benefit of one or more public officials or one or more employees of the legislative branch of state government in connection with such activity. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 105.470.

 

For definitions of executive lobbyist, judicial lobbyist, and elected local government official lobbyist, refer to Mo. Ann. Stat. § 105.470.

Montana

“Lobbying” means: (i) the practice of promoting or opposing the introduction or enactment of legislation before the legislature or legislators; and (ii) the practice of promoting or opposing official action of any public official or the legislature. Mont. Code Ann. § 5-7-102.

 

Lobbying does not include actions described above when performed by a public official, an elected local official, an elected federal official, or an elected tribal official while acting in an official governmental capacity. Mont. Code Ann. § 5-7-102.

 

“Lobbyist” means a person who engages in the practice of lobbying. Mont. Code Ann. § 5-7-102.

 

Lobbyist does not include: (i) an individual acting solely on the individual's own behalf; (ii) an individual working for the same principal as a licensed lobbyist if the individual does not have personal contact involving lobbying with a public official or the legislature on behalf of the lobbyist's principal; or (iii) an individual who receives payments from one or more persons that total less than $2,150 (adjusted for inflation from 2004) in a calendar year. Mont. Code Ann. § 5-7-102 & 5-7-112.

Nebraska

Lobbying shall mean the practice of promoting or opposing for another person, the introduction or enactment of legislation or resolutions before the Legislature or the committees or the members thereof, and shall also include the practice of promoting or opposing executive approval of legislation or resolutions. Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 49-1433.

 

Lobbyist means a person who is authorized to lobby on behalf of a principal and includes an officer, agent, attorney, or employee of the principal whose regular duties include lobbying. Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 49-1434.

 

Principal or lobbyist does not include: (a) A public official or employee of a branch of state government, except the University of Nebraska, or an elected official of a political subdivision who is acting in the course or scope of his or her office or employment; (b) Any publisher, owner, or working member of the press, radio, or television while disseminating news or editorial comment to the general public in the ordinary course of business; (c) An employee of a principal or lobbyist whose duties are confined to typing, filing, and other types of clerical office work; (d) Any person who limits his or her activities (i) to appearances before legislative committees and who so advises the committee at the time of his or her appearance whom he or she represents or that he or she appears at the invitation of a named member of the Legislature or at the direction of the Governor or (ii) to writing letters or furnishing written material to individual members of the Legislature or to the committees thereof; (e) Any individual who does not engage in lobbying for another person; or (f) An employee of a political subdivision whose regular employment duties do not ordinarily include lobbying activities as long as such employee is not additionally compensated for such lobbying activities, other than his or her regular salary, and is not reimbursed for any lobbying expenditures except his or her travel, lodging, and meal expenses and the meal expenses for members of the Legislature. Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 49-1434.

Nevada

“Lobbyist” means a person who: (a) Appears in person in the Legislative Building or any other building in which the Legislature or any of its standing committees hold meetings; and (b) Communicates directly with a member of the Legislative Branch on behalf of someone other than himself or herself to influence legislative action whether or not any compensation is received for the communication. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 218H.080.

 

“Lobbyist” does not include: (a) Persons who confine their activities to formal appearances before legislative committees and who clearly identify themselves and the interest or interests for whom they are testifying. (b) Employees of a bona fide news medium who meet the definition of “lobbyist” only in the course of their professional duties and who contact Legislators for the sole purpose of carrying out their news gathering function. (c) Employees of departments, divisions or agencies of the state government who appear before legislative committees only to explain the effect of legislation related to their departments, divisions or agencies. (d) Employees of the Legislature, Legislators, legislative agencies or legislative commissions. (e) Elected officers of this State and its political subdivisions who confine their lobbying activities to issues directly related to the scope of the office to which they were elected. (f) Persons who contact the Legislators who are elected from the district in which they reside. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 218H.080.

New Hampshire

Registration as a lobbyist is required where the person, partnership, firm, or corporation is employed: to promote or oppose any legislation pending or proposed before the general court, or any action by the governor, governor and council, or any state agency, where such action concerns legislation or contracts pending or proposed before the general court. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15:1.

 

Registration not required when: employed to represent another only in an adjudicative proceeding or nonadjudicative process other than a rulemaking proceeding or process related to the purchasing of goods or services by the state, and who files an appearance with the authority conducting the matter, or is an owner or employee of a business seeking to do business with the state or communicating with an executive branch official or employee, a state agency, or administrative official of the general court regarding goods or services that are or may be purchased by the state. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15:1. Other exceptions provided for in N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15:1.

New Jersey

“Lobbyist” means any person or organization that uses the services of any governmental affairs agent to influence legislation, regulation or governmental processes. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 52:13C-20.

 

“Governmental affairs agent” means any person who receives or agrees to receive anything of value including reimbursement of his expenses where such reimbursement exceeds $100.00 in any three-month period, to influence legislation, to influence regulation or to influence governmental processes, or all of the above, by communication with, or by  any expenditures providing a benefit to, a member of the Legislature, legislative staff, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Governor's staff, or any officer or staff member of the Executive Branch, or who holds himself out as engaging in the business of influencing legislation, regulation or governmental processes, or who incident to his regular employment engages in influencing legislation, regulation or governmental processes, by such means. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 52:13C-20. 

 

A person shall not be deemed a governmental affairs agent who, in relation to the duties or interests of his employment or at the request or suggestion of his employer, communicates with a member of the Legislature, with legislative staff, with the Governor, with the Lieutenant Governor, with the Governor's staff, or with an officer or staff member of the Executive Branch concerning any legislation, regulation or governmental process, if such communication is an isolated, exceptional or infrequent activity in relation to the usual duties of his employment. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 52:13C-20.

New Mexico

“Lobbying” means attempting to influence (1) a decision related to any matter to be considered or being considered by the legislative branch of state government or any legislative committee or any legislative matter requiring action by the governor or awaiting action by the governor; or (2) an official action. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 2-11-2.

 

“Lobbyist” means any individual who is compensated for the specific purpose of lobbying; is designated by an interest group or organization to represent it on a substantial or regular basis for the purpose of lobbying; or in the course of his employment is engaged in lobbying on a substantial or regular basis. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 2-11-2.

 

“Lobbyist” does not include: (1) an individual who appears on his own behalf in connection with legislation or an official action; (2) any elected or appointed officer of the state or its political subdivisions or an Indian tribe or pueblo acting in his official capacity; (3) an employee of the state or its political subdivisions, specifically designated by an elected or appointed officer of the state or its political subdivision, who appears before a legislative committee or in a rulemaking proceeding only to explain the effect of legislation or a rule on his agency or political subdivision, provided the elected or appointed officer of the state or its political subdivision keeps for public inspection, and files with the secretary of state, such designation; (4) any designated member of the staff of an elected state official, provided the elected state official keeps for public inspection and files with the secretary of state such designation; (5) a member of the legislature, the staff of any member of the legislature or the staff of any legislative committee when addressing legislation; (6) any witness called by a legislative committee or administrative agency to appear before that legislative committee or agency in connection with legislation or an official action; (7) an individual who provides only oral or written public testimony in connection with a legislative committee or in a rulemaking proceeding and whose name and the interest on behalf of which he testifies have been clearly and publicly identified; or (8) a publisher, owner or employee of the print media, radio or television, while gathering or disseminating news or editorial comment to the general public in the ordinary course of business. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 2-11-2.

New York

“Lobbyist” shall mean every person or organization retained, employed or designated by any client to engage in lobbying. N.Y. Legis. Law § 1-c.

 

“Lobbyist” shall not include any officer, director, trustee, employee, counsel or agent of the state, or any municipality or subdivision thereof of New York when discharging their official duties; except those officers, directors, trustees, employees, counsels, or agents of colleges, as defined by section two of the education law. N.Y. Legis. Law § 1-c.

 

The term “lobbying” or “lobbying activities” shall mean and include any attempt to influence: (i) the passage or defeat of any legislation or resolution by either house of the state legislature including but not limited to the introduction or intended introduction of such legislation or resolution or approval or disapproval of any legislation by the governor; (ii) the adoption, issuance, rescission, modification or terms of a gubernatorial executive order; (iii) the adoption or rejection of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law by a state agency; (iv) the outcome of any rate making proceeding by a state agency; (v) any determination: (A) by a public official, or by a person or entity working in cooperation with a public official related to a governmental procurement, or (B) by an officer or employee of the unified court system, or by a person or entity working in cooperation with an officer or employee of the unified court system related to a governmental procurement; (vi) the approval, disapproval, implementation or administration of tribal-state compacts, memoranda of understanding, or any other tribal-state agreements and any other state actions related to Class III gaming, except to the extent designation of such activities as “lobbying” is barred by the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, by a public official or by a person or entity working in cooperation with a public official in relation to such approval, disapproval, implementation or administration; (vii) the passage or defeat of any local law, ordinance, resolution, or regulation by any municipality or subdivision thereof; (viii) the adoption, issuance, rescission, modification or terms of an executive order issued by the chief executive officer of a municipality; (ix) the adoption or rejection of any rule, regulation, or resolution having the force and effect of a local law, ordinance, resolution, or regulation; or (x) the outcome of any rate making proceeding by any municipality or subdivision thereof. N.Y. Legis. Law § 1-c.

 

A lengthy list of exceptions to what qualifies as lobbying or lobbying activities is available at N.Y. Legis. Law § 1-c.

North Carolina

Lobby or Lobbying: a. Influencing or attempting to influence legislative or executive action, or both, through direct communication or activities with a designated individual or that designated individual's immediate family. b. Developing goodwill through communications or activities, including the building of relationships, with a designated individual or that designated individual's immediate family with the intention of influencing current or future legislative or executive action, or both. Exception: communications or activities as part of a business, civic, religious, fraternal, personal, or commercial relationship which is not connected to legislative or executive action, or both. N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 163A-250.
Lobbyist: An individual who engages in lobbying for payment and meets any of the following criteria: a. Represents another person or governmental unit, but is not directly employed by that person or governmental unit. b. Contracts for payment for lobbying. c. Is employed by a person and a significant part of that employee's duties include lobbying. Exceptions: an employee if in no 30-day period less than 5% of employee's actual duties include engaging in lobbying; individuals who are specifically exempted or registered as liaison personnel. N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 163A-250. A complete list of exempted individuals is available at N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 163A-365.


Lobbyist principal and principal: The person or governmental unit on whose behalf the lobbyist lobbies and who makes payment for the lobbying. If a lobbyist is paid by a law firm, consulting firm, or other entity retained by a person or governmental unit for lobbying, the principal is the person or governmental unit whose interests the lobbyist represents in lobbying. In the case of a lobbyist employed or retained by an association or other organization, the lobbyist principal is the association or other organization, not the individual members of the association or other organization. Exception: those designating registered liaison personnel under Part 5 of this Article. N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 163A-250.

North Dakota

Lobbyist. Any person who, in any manner whatsoever, directly or indirectly, performs any of the following activities: a. Attempts to secure the passage, amendment, or defeat of any legislation by the legislative assembly or the approval or veto of any legislation by the governor of the state. b. Attempts to influence decisions made by the legislative management or by an interim committee of the legislative management. N.D. Cent. Code Ann. § 54-05.1-02.

 

Does not apply to any person who is: a legislator; a private citizen appearing on the citizen's own behalf, an employee, officer, etc. of the state or its political subdivisions whether elected or appointed and whether or not compensated, who is acting in that person's official capacity; invited by the chairman for the purpose of providing information; an individual who appears before a legislative committee for the purpose of presenting testimony on behalf of a trade or professional organization or business or industry if the individual is introduced by the registered lobbyist for the trade or professional organization or business or industry. N.D. Cent. Code Ann. § 54-05.1-02.

Ohio Uses the term legislative agent as other states might use the term lobbyist. “Legislative agent” means any individual, except a member of the general assembly, a member of the staff of the general assembly, the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer of state, or auditor of state, who is engaged during at least a portion of the individual's time to actively advocate as one of the individual's main purposes. An individual engaged by the Ohio casino control commission, a member of the commission, the executive director of the commission, or an employee or agent of the commission to actively advocate is a “legislative agent” even if the individual does not during at least a portion of the individual's time actively advocate as one of the individual's main purposes. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 101.70.
Oklahoma

Incorporates definitions from the Rules of the Ethics Commission. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 74, § 4249.


“Legislative lobbying” means any oral or written communication with the Governor or with a member of the Legislature or with an employee of the Governor or the Legislature on behalf of a lobbyist principal with regard to the passage, defeat, formulation, modification, interpretation, amendment, adoption, approval or veto of any legislation, rule, regulation, executive order or any other program, policy or position of state government. As used in this Rule, “employee of the Governor or the Legislature” includes any state officer or employee who advises the Governor, a legislator or the Legislature on legislation other than legislation that affects only his or her agency. Ethics Rule 5.2.
“Legislative lobbying” shall not mean testimony given before, or submitted in writing to, a committee or subcommittee of the Legislature, nor a speech, article, publication or other material that is widely distributed, published in newspapers, magazines or similar publications or broadcast on radio or television. Ethics Rule 5.2.


“Legislative lobbyist” means any individual who is employed or retained by another for financial or other compensation to perform services that include legislative lobbying, other than an individual whose lobbying activities are only incidental to, and are not a significant part of, the services provided by such individual to the client. Ethics Rule 5.2.


The following individuals shall not be considered lobbyists: (a) an individual appearing before the Governor or a meeting of a legislative body who receives no compensation for his or her appearance other than reimbursement from the state for expenses and who engages in no further lobbying; (b) a federal official acting in his or her official capacity; (c) any person exercising his or her constitutional right to petition the government who receives no compensation or anything of value for lobbying. Ethics Rule 5.2.

Oregon

“Lobbying” means influencing, or attempting to influence, legislative action through oral or written communication with legislative officials, solicitation of executive officials or other persons to influence or attempt to influence legislative action or attempting to obtain the goodwill of legislative officials. Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 171.725.

 

“Lobbyist” means: (a) Any individual who agrees to provide personal services for money or any other consideration for the purpose of lobbying. (b) Any person not otherwise subject to paragraph (a) of this subsection who provides personal services as a representative of a corporation, association, organization or other group, for the purpose of lobbying. (c) Any public official who lobbies. Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 171.725.

Pennsylvania

“Lobbying.” An effort to influence legislative action or administrative action in this Commonwealth. The term includes: (1) direct or indirect communication; (2) office expenses; and (3) providing any gift, hospitality, transportation or lodging to a State official or employee for the purpose of advancing the interest of the lobbyist or principal. 65 Pa. Stat. and Cons. Stat. Ann. § 13A03.

 

“Lobbyist.” Any individual, association, corporation, partnership, business trust or other entity that engages in lobbying on behalf of a principal for economic consideration. The term includes an attorney at law while engaged in lobbying. 65 Pa. Stat. and Cons. Stat. Ann. § 13A03.

Puerto Rico

Unable to locate any relevant statute defining "lobbyist" or "lobbying." 

Rhode Island

“Lobbying” means acting directly or soliciting others to act for the purpose of promoting, opposing, amending, or influencing any action or inaction by any member of the executive or legislative branch of state government or any public corporation. 42 R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 42-139.1-3.

 

“Lobbyist” means any of the following: (i) “Contract lobbyist” means any person who engages in lobbying as the appointed or engaged representative of another person; or (ii) “In-house lobbyist” means any employee, officer, director, or agent of a corporation, partnership, or other business entity or organization whose job responsibilities include lobbying; or (iii) “Governmental lobbyist” means any employee of any federal, state, or local government office or agency or any public corporation who engages in lobbying. 42 R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 42-139.1-3.

 

The following persons shall not be deemed “lobbyists” for purposes of this chapter: (from 42 R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 42-139.1-3)

  • (1) Licensed attorneys who: (i) Represent a client in a contested administrative proceeding, a licensing or permitting proceeding, or a disciplinary proceeding; and (ii) Engage in any communications with an executive branch official or office if those communications are incidental to the attorney's representation of their client rather than lobbying activities as defined in this section.
  • (2) A qualified expert witness testifying in an administrative proceeding or legislative hearing, either on behalf of an interested party or at the request of the agency or legislative body or committee;
  • (3) Any member of the general assembly, general officer of the state, municipal elected or appointed official, head of any executive department of state government, and/or head of any public corporation, or a duly appointed designee of one of the foregoing offices acting in the official capacity of said office, and any judge of this state acting in their official capacity;
  • (4) Persons participating in a governmental advisory committee or task force;
  • (5) Persons appearing on behalf of a business entity by which they are employed or organization with which they are associated, if that person's regular duties do not include lobbying or government relations;
  • (6) Persons appearing solely on their own behalf;
  • (7) Employees or agents of the news media who write, publish, or broadcast news items or editorials which directly or indirectly promote or oppose any action or inaction by any member or office of the executive or legislative branch of state government;
  • (8) Individuals participating in or attending a rally, protest, or other public assemblage organized for the expression of political or social views, positions, or beliefs;
  • (9) Individuals participating in any proceeding pursuant to chapter 35 of this title;
  • (10) Individuals, other than employees or agents of the news media, involved in the issuance and dissemination of any publication, including data, research, or analysis on public policy issues that is available to the general public, including news media reports, editorials, commentary or advertisements; and
  • (11) Individuals responding to a request for information made by a state agency, department, legislative body, or public corporation.
South Carolina

“Lobbying” means promoting or opposing through direct communication with public officials or public employees: (a) the introduction or enactment of legislation before the General Assembly or the committees or members of the General Assembly; (b) covered gubernatorial actions; (c) covered agency actions; or (d) consideration of the election or appointment of an individual to a public office elected or appointed by the General Assembly. S.C. Code Ann. § 2-17-10.

“Lobbying” does not include the activities of a member of the General Assembly, a member of the staff of a member of the Senate or House of Representatives, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, or a member of the executive staff of the Governor or Lieutenant Governor acting in his capacity as a public official or public employee with regard to his public duties. S.C. Code Ann. § 2-17-10.

 

“Lobbyist” means any person who is employed, appointed, or retained by another person to influence by direct communication with public officials or public employees: (i) the action or vote of any member of the General Assembly, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, or any other statewide constitutional officer concerning any legislation; (ii) the vote of any public official on any state agency, board, or commission concerning any covered agency actions; or (iii) the action of the Governor or any member of his executive staff concerning any covered gubernatorial actions. S.C. Code Ann. § 2-17-10.

 

“Lobbyist” also means any person who is employed, appointed, or retained, with or without compensation, by a state agency, college, university, or other institution of higher learning to influence by direct communication with public officials or public employees: (i) the action or vote of any member of the General Assembly, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, or any other statewide constitutional officer concerning any legislation; (ii) the vote of any public official of any state agency, board, or commission concerning any covered agency actions; or (iii) the action of the Governor or any member of his executive staff concerning any covered gubernatorial actions. S.C. Code Ann. § 2-17-10.

 

“Lobbyist” does not include: (a) an individual who receives no compensation to engage in lobbying and who expresses a personal opinion on legislation, covered gubernatorial actions, or covered agency actions to any public official or public employee; (b) a person who appears only before public sessions of committees or subcommittees of the General Assembly, public hearings of state agencies, public hearings before any public body of a quasi-judicial nature, or proceedings of any court of this State; (c) any duly elected or appointed official or employee of the State, the United States, a county, municipality, school district, or a political subdivision thereof, or a member of the judiciary when appearing solely on matters pertaining to his office and public duties unless lobbying constitutes a regular and substantial portion of such official's or employee's duties; (d) a person performing professional services in drafting legislation or in advising and rendering opinions to clients as to the construction and effect of proposed or pending legislation; (e) a person who owns, publishes, or is employed by a radio station, television station, wire service, or other bona fide news medium which in the ordinary course of business disseminates news, editorials, columns, other comments, or other regularly published periodicals if such person represents no other person in lobbying for legislation, covered agency actions, or covered gubernatorial actions. This exception applies to the publication of any periodical which is published and distributed by a membership organization to its subscribers at least twelve times annually and for which an annual subscription charge of at least one dollar fifty cents a subscriber is made; (f) a person who represents any established church solely for the purpose of protecting the rights of the membership of the church or for the purpose of protecting the doctrines of the church or on matters considered to have an adverse effect upon the moral welfare of the membership of the church; (g) a person who is running for office elected by the General Assembly or a person soliciting votes on the behalf of a person who is running for office elected by the General Assembly unless such person is otherwise defined as a lobbyist by this section; or (h) an individual who receives no compensation to engage in lobbying and who does not make expenditures or incur obligations for lobbying in an aggregate amount in excess of five hundred dollars in a calendar year. S.C. Code Ann. § 2-17-10.

South Dakota

Lobbyist is a person who seeks the introduction of legislation or to promote, oppose, or influence in any manner the passage by the legislature of any legislation affecting the special interests of any agency, individual, association or business, as distinct from those of the whole people of the state, or to act in any manner as a lobbyist in connection with any such legislation. S.D. Codified Laws § 2-12-1.

Tennessee

“Lobby” means to communicate, directly or indirectly, with any official in the legislative branch or executive branch for the purpose of influencing any legislative action or administrative action. Tenn. Code Ann. § 3-6-301.

 

“Lobby” does not mean communications with officials of the legislative or executive branches by an elected or appointed public official performing the duties of the office held; a duly licensed attorney at law acting in a representative capacity on behalf of a client appearing before an official of the executive branch for the purpose of determining or obtaining such person's legal rights or obligations in a contested case action, administrative proceeding, or rule making procedure; or an editor or working member of the press, radio or television who, in the ordinary course of business, disseminates news or editorial comment to the general public. Tenn. Code Ann. § 3-6-301.

 

“Lobby” does not mean communications by an incumbent or prospective contractor or vendor, or an employee of the contractor or vendor, while engaged in selling or marketing to the state, or any department or agency of the state, by demonstrating or describing goods or services to be provided or by inquiring about specifications, terms, conditions, timing, or similar commercial information. However, the contractor or vendor, or employee of the contractor or vendor, shall be deemed to be a lobbyist, if actively engaged in selling or marketing to an official in the executive branch or an official in the legislative branch whose duty it is to vote for, let out, overlook, or in any manner to superintend any work or any contract so marketed or sold. Tenn. Code Ann. § 3-6-301.

 

“Lobby” does not mean communications by an employee of a school board, municipal utility, utility district, or any department, agency or entity of state, county or municipal government; provided, however, that, if the board, utility, district, department, agency or entity employs, retains or otherwise arranges for lobbyist services in this state by a contractor, subcontractor or other representative who is not an employee of such board, utility, district, department, agency or entity, then “lobby” includes communications by the contractor, subcontractor or other representative, and the contractor, subcontractor or other representative shall comply with the lobbying registration and other provisions of this part pertaining to lobbyists; provided further, however, that the board, utility, district, department, agency or entity that employs the contractor, subcontractor or other representative is not deemed to be an employer of a lobbyist for purposes of this part. Tenn. Code Ann. § 3-6-301.

 

“Lobby” does not mean communications with officials of the executive branch by any person to promote, oppose, or otherwise influence the outcome of a decision related to the issuance or award of a bond, grant, lease, loan or incentive. Tenn. Code Ann. § 3-6-301.

 

“Lobby” does not mean communications with officials of the executive branch by any person to promote, oppose, or otherwise influence the outcome of a decision related to any component of an economic development incentive package; provided, that any person who is otherwise required to register as a lobbyist shall not be deemed to fall within this exception. Tenn. Code Ann. § 3-6-301.

 

“Lobbyist” means any person who engages in lobbying for compensation. Tenn. Code Ann. § 3-6-301.

Texas

Lobbyist required to register if: (1) makes a total expenditure of an amount determined by commission rule but not less than $200 in a calendar quarter, not including the person's own travel, food, or lodging expenses or the person's own membership dues, to communicate directly with one or more members of the legislative or executive branch to influence legislation or administrative action; or (2) receives, or is entitled to receive under an agreement under which the person is retained or employed, compensation or reimbursement, not including reimbursement for the person's own travel, food, or lodging expenses or the person's own membership dues, of more than an amount determined by commission rule but not less than $200 in a calendar quarter from another person to communicate directly with a member of the legislative or executive branch to influence legislation or administrative action. Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 305.003.

 

Does not apply to a member of the judicial, legislative, or executive branch of state government or an officer or employee of a political subdivision of the state. Also does not apply to quasi-governmental agencies, subject to exceptions. Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 305.003.

Utah

“Lobbying” means communicating with a public official for the purpose of influencing the passage, defeat, amendment, or postponement of legislative or executive action. Utah Code Ann. § 36-11-102.

 

“Lobbyist” means: (i) an individual who is employed by a principal; or (ii) an individual who contracts for economic consideration, other than reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, with a principal to lobby a public official. Utah Code Ann. § 36-11-102.

 

“Lobbyist” does not include: (i) a government officer; (ii) a member or employee of the legislative branch of state government; (iii) a person, including a principal, while appearing at, or providing written comments to, an administrative hearing; (iv) a person participating on or appearing before an advisory or study task force, commission, board, or committee, constituted by the Legislature or any agency or department of state government, except legislative standing, appropriation, or interim committees; (v) a representative of a political party; (vi) an individual representing a bona fide church solely for the purpose of protecting the right to practice the religious doctrines of the church, unless the individual or church makes an expenditure that confers a benefit on a public official; (vii) a newspaper, television station or network, radio station or network, periodical of general circulation, or book publisher for the purpose of publishing news items, editorials, other comments, or paid advertisements that directly or indirectly urge legislative or executive action; (viii) an individual who appears on the individual's own behalf before a committee of the Legislature or an agency of the executive branch of state government solely for the purpose of testifying in support of or in opposition to legislative or executive action; or (ix) an individual representing a business, entity, or industry, who: (A) interacts with a public official, in the public official's capacity as a public official, while accompanied by a registered lobbyist who is lobbying in relation to the subject of the interaction or while presenting at a legislative committee meeting at the same time that the registered lobbyist is attending another legislative committee meeting; and (B) does not make an expenditure for, or on behalf of, a public official in relation to the interaction or during the period of interaction. Utah Code Ann. § 36-11-102.

Vermont

“Lobby” or “lobbying” means: (A) to communicate orally or in writing with any legislator or administrative official for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action; (B) solicitation of others to influence legislative or administrative action; (C) an attempt to obtain the goodwill of a legislator or administrative official by communications or activities with that legislator or administrative official intended ultimately to influence legislative or administrative action; or (D) activities sponsored by an employer or lobbyist on behalf of or for the benefit of the members of an interest group, if a principal purpose of the activity is to enable such members to communicate orally with one or more legislators or administrative officials for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action or to obtain their goodwill. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 2, § 261.


“Lobbyist” means a person who receives or is entitled to receive, either by employment or contract, $500.00 or more in monetary or in-kind compensation in any calendar year for engaging in lobbying, either personally or through his or her agents, or a person who expends more than $500.00 on lobbying in any calendar year. VT. Stat. Ann. tit. 2, § 261.

Virginia

“Lobbying” means: 1. Influencing or attempting to influence executive or legislative action through oral or written communication with an executive or legislative official; or 2. Solicitation of others to influence an executive or legislative official. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-419.

 

“Lobbying” does not mean: 1. Requests for appointments, information on the status of pending executive and legislative actions, or other ministerial contacts if there is no attempt to influence executive or legislative actions; 2. Responses to published notices soliciting public comment submitted to the public official designated in the notice to receive the responses; 3. The solicitation of an association by its members to influence legislative or executive action; or 4. Communications between an association and its members and communications between a principal and its lobbyists. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-419.

 

“Lobbyist” means: 1. An individual who is employed and receives payments, or who contracts for economic consideration, including reimbursement for reasonable travel and living expenses, for the purpose of lobbying; 2. An individual who represents an organization, association, or other group for the purpose of lobbying; or 3. A local government employee who lobbies. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-419.

 

Some exceptions apply to lobbyist registration requirements, located at Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-420.

Virgin Islands

Unable to locate any statute defining "lobbyist" or "lobbying." 

Washington

“Lobby” and “lobbying” each mean attempting to influence the passage or defeat of any legislation by the legislature of the state of Washington, or the adoption or rejection of any rule, standard, rate, or other legislative enactment of any state agency under the state administrative procedure act. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 42.17A.005.

 

Neither “lobby” nor “lobbying” includes an association's or other organization's act of communicating with the members of that association or organization. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 42.17A.005.

 

“Lobbyist” includes any person who lobbies either in his or her own or another's behalf. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 42.17A.005.

West Virginia

“Lobbying” or “lobbying activity” means the act of communicating with a government officer or employee to promote, advocate or oppose or otherwise attempt to influence: (i) The passage or defeat or the executive approval or veto of any legislation which may be considered by the Legislature of this state; or (ii) The adoption or rejection of any rule, regulation, legislative rule, standard, rate, fee or other delegated legislative or quasi-legislative action to be taken or withheld by any executive department. W. Va. Code Ann. § 6B-3-1.

 

“Lobbyist” means any individual employed by a lobbying firm or who is otherwise employed or contracts for economic consideration, other than reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, to communicate directly or through his or her agents with any elective state official, agency official or legislative official for the purpose of promoting, advocating, opposing or otherwise attempting to influence: (i) The passage or defeat or the executive approval or veto of any legislation which may be considered by the Legislature of this state; or (ii) The adoption or rejection of any rule, legislative rule, standard, rate, fee or other delegated legislative or quasi-legislative action to be taken or withheld by any executive department. W. Va. Code Ann. § 6B-3-1.

 

“Lobbyist” does not include: (from W. Va. Code Ann. § 6B-3-1)

  • (i) Persons who limit their lobbying activities to appearing before public sessions of committees of the Legislature, or public hearings of state agencies, are exempt.
  • (ii) Persons who limit their lobbying activities to attending receptions, dinners, parties or other group functions and make no expenditure in connection with such lobbying are exempt.
  • (iii) Persons who engage in news or feature reporting activities and editorial comment as working members of the press, radio or television and persons who publish or disseminate such news, features or editorial comment through a newspaper, book, regularly published periodical, radio station or television station are exempt.
  • (iv) Persons who lobby without compensation or other consideration, other than reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, for acting as lobbyists, who are not employed by a lobbying firm or lobbyist employer, and whose total expenditures in connection with lobbying activities do not exceed one hundred fifty dollars during any calendar year, are exempt. The exemptions contained in this subparagraph and in subparagraph (ii) are intended to permit and encourage citizens of this state to exercise their constitutional rights to assemble in a peaceable manner, consult for the common good, instruct their representatives, and apply for a redress of grievances. Accordingly, such persons may lobby without incurring any registration or reporting obligation under this article. Any person exempt under this subparagraph or subparagraph (ii) may at his or her option register and report under this article.
  • (v) Persons who lobby on behalf of a nonprofit organization with regard to legislation, without compensation, and who restrict their lobbying activities to no more than twenty days or parts thereof during any regular session of the Legislature, are exempt. The Commission may promulgate a legislative rule to require registration and reporting by persons who would otherwise be exempt under this subparagraph, if it determines that such rule is necessary to prevent frustration of the purposes of this article. Any person exempt under this subparagraph may, at his or her option, register and report under this article.
  • (vi) The Governor, members of the Governor's staff, members of the Board of Public Works, officers and employees of the executive branch who communicate with a member of the Legislature on the request of that member, or who communicate with the Legislature, through the proper official channels, requests for legislative action or appropriations which are deemed necessary for the efficient conduct of the public business or which are made in the proper performance of their official duties, are exempt.
  • (vii) Members of the Legislature are exempt.
  • (viii) Persons employed by the Legislature for the purpose of aiding in the preparation or enactment of legislation or the performance of legislative duties are exempt.
  • (ix) Persons rendering professional services in drafting proposed legislation or in advising or rendering opinions to clients as to the construction and effect of proposed or pending legislation are exempt.
Wisconsin

“Lobbying” means the practice of attempting to influence legislative or administrative action by oral or written communication with any elective state official, agency official or legislative employee, and includes time spent in preparation for such communication and appearances at public hearings or meetings or service on a committee in which such preparation or communication occurs. Wis. Stat. Ann. § 13.62.

 

“Lobbyist” means an individual who is employed by a principal, or contracts for or receives economic consideration, other than reimbursement for actual expenses, from a principal and whose duties include lobbying on behalf of the principal. If an individual's duties on behalf of a principal are not limited exclusively to lobbying, the individual is a lobbyist only if he or she makes lobbying communications on each of at least 5 days within a reporting period. Wis. Stat. Ann. § 13.62.

Wyoming

“Lobby” or “as a lobbyist” means to attempt to influence legislation. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 28-7-101.

 

Any person who, on behalf of any other group or interest other than personal, is receiving or has a reasonable expectation of receiving expense reimbursement or compensation in excess of $500 in a reporting period. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 28-7-101.