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Tennessee: New Lobbying Rules Take Effect

November 2006

On October 1, 2006, new lobbying laws took effect in Tennessee, as did emergency regulations promulgated under the new laws and issued by the newly created Tennessee Ethics Commission (TEC). The new rules made a number of changes, which are summarized below.

First, lobbyist employers need to register with the TEC and pay a $150 registration fee. Lobbyist employers also must provide copies of the TEC's Manual for Lobbyists and Employers of Lobbyists to its lobbyists.

Second, lobbyists, even if already registered with the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance (TREF), must re-register with the TEC and pay a $150 registration fee. TREF is no longer responsible for lobbying matters and will focus on campaign finance issues.

Third, lobbyists' employers will now be the persons responsible for filing semiannual lobbying reports with the TEC. Reports are due May 15, 2007 and November 14, 2007.

Fourth, each lobbyist and lobbyist employer must complete an ethics training course each year.

Fifth, the TEC is required by state law to audit 2% of registration statements and disclosure reports.

The TEC's website is located at www.state.tn.us/sos/tec/index.htm. The TEC's Manual for Lobbyists and Employers of Lobbyists can be found at www.state.tn.us/sos/tec/forms/manual.pdf.