WUC Government Relations Update by Erik Ross
Water Utility Council Update
Erik A. Ross
Milliron & Goodman Government Relations, LLC
200 North 3rd Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
All WUC meetings will be held at 9:30am at PMAA in Wormleysburg except for the meeting which will be held at the annual conference.
PMAA office at 1000 North Front Street, Wormleysburg, Michael D. Klein is a member in the Harrisburg, PA, and Washington D.C. offices of Cozen O’Connor. Michael practices in the areas of utility and environmental law in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at [email protected] and 717-703-5903. Joshua L. Belcher, an attorney with Cozen O’Connor, assisted in the preparation of the article.
Submission of comments to proposed regulations considered lobbying In a recent advisory opinion issued in November 2013, the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission determined that providing public comment on proposed regulations would constitute “lobbying” for purposes of the Lobbying Disclosure Law at 65 Pa. C.S. § 13A01 et seq. Specifically, the submission of written public comment on a proposed regulation prepared by a department of state government during the public comment period would constitute “an effort to influence administrative action in the Commonwealth.” As is the case with all such advisory opinions, this opinion is strictly limited to the facts submitted by the requester of the opinion, in this case the Pennsylvania Section of the American Water Works Association (PA-AWWA). Importantly, the Commission found that because PA-AWWA engaged in other lobbying activities, a statutory exception available for those who limit their lobbying activities to comments on regulations would not apply. Nevertheless, it is clear that the Lobbying Disclosure Law is broadly applied. As a result, entities that comment on legislative initiatives and agency rulemakings as well as engage in other lobbying activities should take care that they are fully compliant with the reporting and registration requirements of the Lobbying Disclosure Law.