Philadelphia lobbyists must register in January

The City of Philadelphia Board of Ethics has announced that the city’s first lobbying registration law finally will take effect in January.

City Council enacted the lobbying law more than a year ago, but a suit by lawyers and other technical objections led to revisions this year. Then there was the challenge of getting software in place allowing lobbyists to file reports electronically and make them available to citizens online.

Lobbyists are on notice they have to register for the first time in January, said Shane Creamer, ethics board executive director. But if the computer issues aren’t resolved, they might have to do it the old-fashioned way.

“It might mean paper filings, but only for a very short period of time,” Creamer said. “We’re hopeful that we’re going to have an electronic system up and running by Jan. 3.”

Once the system is place, it will be possible to tell who’s lobbying for what–and those who hire lobbyists will have to disclose what they’re spending to influence Philadelphia government.

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