Support for 2022 HB 59, Registration of Lobbyists

Support for 2022 HB 59, Registration of Lobbyists

Here is Maryland House of Delegates testimony I submitted this year, in support of legislation introduced by Delegate Al Carr (District 18) —

Chair Lierman and Land Use and Ethics Subcommittee Members,

I support HB0059, legislation requiring lobbying registration and establishing provisions for local governments.

This legislation addresses an actual issue and will boost transparency and accountability, key attributes of good government.

I served two terms as an elected member of the Takoma Park City Council. I can think of three instances when paid lobbyists interacted with me and with city officials in private or testified before the council as a whole, without public disclosure:

  • A container-company regional vice president, accompanied by a government-relations contractor, lobbied me and colleagues in opposition to a community-initiated city ban on polystyrene food serviceware.
  • A pesticide-industry association representative lobbied me and colleagues in opposition to city legislation, again initiated by community members, to ban lawncare pesticides.
  • Real-estate attorneys and a government-relations firm approached city officials and lobbied council members regarding a pending development proposal that faced community opposition.

These are simply examples. These lobbyist activities and others like them should have been formally registered and disclosed, but they weren’t as there was no municipal requirement.

HB0059 would create much needed lobbying provisions for Maryland local governments. Please give this legislation a favorable subcommittee report and vote to pass it out of committee.

Thank you for your consideration.

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