State Lobbying Law Update: Kansas and Texas
By Carol A. Laham and Stephen J. Kenny
Kansas recently raised its threshold for qualifying as an expenditure lobbyist. Previously, Kansas required anyone who made expenditures in an aggregate amount of $100 or more in a calendar year for lobbying, exclusive of personal travel and subsistence expenses, to register as a lobbyist. The new threshold is now $1,000. Kansas also raised the registration fee for expenditure lobbyists to $425.
For its part, Texas has added an additional exception to its lobbyist registration requirements. Under existing law, a person must register if he or she made lobbying expenditures over $500 in a calendar quarter or was entitled to receive compensation or reimbursement over $1,000 in a calendar quarter for lobbying. In addition to the exception for lobbyists who spend no more than 5% of their compensated time in a calendar quarter engaged in lobbying activity, a provision recently went into effect that adds a 26-hour registration threshold. A person that spends 26 hours or less on lobbying in a calendar quarter—inclusive of preparatory activity—is not required to register as a lobbyist. The legislation authorizes the Texas Ethics Commission to alter this threshold. The legislation also provides that the ceiling for the amount of time per day that may count toward the threshold is eight hours.
Texas also recently extended the ban on contingency lobbying to independent contractors of vendors involved in purchasing decisions. Effective January 1, 2016, independent contractors lobbying an agency in connection with purchasing decisions must register as lobbyists.