New bill demands more transparency in state expenditures

Local News

A new law is shining the light on a multi-million dollar industry.  A bill signed into law today increases transparency when it comes to lobbying.  

House bill 1175 signed into law today changes the Lobbyist Disclosure Law which was designed to let the public know who’s influencing their government.  The lawmaker behind this bill says it should go a long way in restoring the public’s faith in their elected officials.  

Governor Tom Wolf saying, “To govern effectively, we need to rebuild trust in government.”  And Wolf believes that House Bill 1175, which he signed into law Wednesday, will do just that.  He says, “This legislation addresses a very big concern among Pennsylvania citizens; that Harrisburg politicians are more interested in the opinions of special interests than in their constituents.”

The bill amends the 2007 Lobbyist Disclosure Law.  Penalties against lobbyists who don’t file expenditure reports to the Department of State are doubled, from $2,000 to $4,000.  Daily fines for failing to report are also increased up to $200 per day after 20 days. 

Robert Torres, Acting Secretary of the Department of State, says, “It helps improve government operations, reduces Commonwealth expenses, and advances the law’s most important value, transparency.”

Making the lobbying process more transparent by requiring the Department of State to post all lobbying disclosures online within seven days so you know who the lobbyists are, what they’re doing, and how they’re spending their money.  

Representative Bryan Cutler of Lancaster County says, “If people believe in what we do, they have to believe in the process. This makes the process more accountable, this makes it more transparent.”

The new penalties are effective immediately.  The electronic filing changes take effect in 60 days.

–Matt Heckel, Jet 24 Action News

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