TN Lobbyist Association Urges Members To Action Against Lobbying Transparency Legislation (Update 3/24/22)
***Update 3/24/22 – HB2485 was taken off notice in the House Public Service Subcommittee due to lack of a motion and second. The bill sponsor, Representative Todd Warner, told the Tennessee Conservative that he was notified by the chairman of the committee, Representative Esther Helton, on Tuesday afternoon that the bill would not pass or have a motion or second during the committee’s meeting.
Warner said, “With a Republican majority up here it is very sad to see the lack of support for true conservative legislation from my peers.”
Image Credit: Daniel Huizinga / CC
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
On March 18th, the Tennessee Lobbyist Association (TLA) sent an email to all their members urging their action to lobby against ‘transparency for taxpayer-funded lobbying’ legislation currently being considered in the General Assembly.
The legislation that TLA hopes to block is House Bill 2485 (HB2485), sponsored by Representative Todd Warner (R-Chapel Hill- District 92) and Senate Bill 2687 (SB2687), sponsored by Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon-District 17). As introduced, the Act would require employers of lobbyists to include with their employer disclosure report filed with the ethics commission, the aggregate total amount of all employer expenses that were funded in whole or in part from taxpayer money, including expenses for lobbying, consulting, advocacy, and third-party associations utilized by the employer for such services.
Americans For Prosperity -TN State Director Tori Venable said, “This is a simple transparency bill that will allow regular Tennesseans to see the amount of their tax dollars being used to pay for lobbyists. Public funding should require public accountability. Since taxpayers are picking up the tab for these lobbying decisions they should be privy to how much they are spending and on what.”
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The letter sent to all TLA members had the call to action in the subject line “TLA Alert: Action Required for Bill Targeting Govt. Employers of Lobbyists”
The letter opened with another call to action for members, “Lobbyist/Clent Contacts Needed for Senate State and Local Committee & House Public Service Subcommittee”
The letter went on to list the Bill numbers and sponsors, and the body read:
This bill, backed by Americans for Prosperity (AFP), is ostensibly to provide transparency, but this could be the first step toward denying local boards, agencies and commissions the ability to employ outside lobbyists. Over the past dozen or so years, AFP, an interest group employing lobbyists, has been at the forefront of such efforts.
A new amendment rewrites the bill and requires that such employers must post electronic copies of their lobbyist employee’s contract on the entity’s website. Further, the Ethics Commission must create a new, easily searchable database for government lobbyists that includes their contracts and other financial info.
Link to Amendment HERE.
The letter goes on to state – “Even if you are not a government lobbyist, you could be next! The members of the committees below need to hear from as many lobbyists as possible. Even if you only stop them in the hall, ask them to vote no on the Warner/Pody bill next week.”
The letter then lists the Senate State and Local Government Committee and House Public Service Committee members.
If you support passage of this legislation, you can work against the lobbyists and contact the Republican members of the Committees listed below.
House Public Service Subcommittee – bill will be heard today (3.23.22) at 9:00AM Central Time
Esther Helton (chair) – email@example.com – (615) 741-1934
Rebecca K. Alexander – firstname.lastname@example.org – (615) 741-2251
Curtis Johnson – email@example.com – (615) 741-4341
Kelly Keisling – firstname.lastname@example.org – (615) 741-6852
Pat Marsh – email@example.com – (615) 741-6824
Senate State and Local Government Committee – bill will be heard today (3.23.22) at 3:00PM Central Time
Richard Briggs (Chair) – firstname.lastname@example.org – (615) 741-1766
Todd Gardenhire (1st Vice-Chair) – email@example.com – (615) 741-6682
Page Walley (2nd Vice-Chair) – firstname.lastname@example.org – (615) 741-2368
Ed Jackson – email@example.com – (615) 741-1810
Brian Kelsey – firstname.lastname@example.org – (615) 741-3036
Bill Powers – email@example.com – (615) 741-2374
Ken Yager – firstname.lastname@example.org – (615) 741-1449
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com
One thought on “TN Lobbyist Association Urges Members To Action Against Lobbying Transparency Legislation (Update 3/24/22)”
Just like Democrats they don’t want transparency! Dealings under the table in the middle of the night.