Did I Miss the Deadline? And So What if I Did?
As I discussed last week, states have different qualifications that determine when a person needs to register as a lobbyist. The states also vary in regards to the amount of time a person is given to register after he or she has met the qualifications for registration.
Fourteen states require lobbyists to register before actually engaging in any lobbying. Four additional states require lobbyists to register before lobbying or within 30 days of being hired to lobby. As seen below, other time windows that are frequently imposed by the states include five, seven, ten, or fifteen days.
- Before Lobbying: 14 states
- Before Lobbying or 30 Days after Being Hired to Lobby: 4 states
- Five Days: 11 states
- Seven Days: 4 states
- Ten Days: 6 states
- Fifteen Days: 5 states
Six states have unique time windows, ranging from “immediately” in Arkansas, to 48 hours in Vermont, to three days in Oregon.
Fifteen days is the maximum leeway time any state gives a lobbyist to register. By contrast, on the federal level a person who has met the lobbyist threshold for registration has 45 days to actually register as a lobbyist.
The federal system also does not impose late fees, while a majority of the states do. Daily fees range from $5 with a cap of $100 in Minnesota, to $100 per day with a cap of $4,500 in Indiana. Other states have different systems for imposing late penalties. For example:
- Illinois considers every day a registration is late to be an individual violation of the state’s lobbying regulations, which results in a fine of up to $10,000 per violation.
- Michigan has a daily late fee of $10 with a cap of $300, and after 30 days the lobbyist is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $1,000.
- Vermont levies an automatic $25 fee once a registration is late, then adds $10 for each day the registration is late, with a cap of $175.
- Lastly, Maine imposes a late fee of $200 per month that the registration is late.
UPDATE: Reps. Quigley and Polis introduced legislation today that would reduce the federal grace period to 5 days, among other changes.