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42.17A.630  <<  42.17A.635 >>   42.17A.640

RCW 42.17A.635

Legislative activities of state agencies, other units of government, elective officials, employees.

(1) The house of representatives and the senate shall report annually: The total budget; the portion of the total attributed to staff; and the number of full-time and part-time staff positions by assignment, with dollar figures as well as number of positions.

     (2) Unless authorized by subsection (3) of this section or otherwise expressly authorized by law, no public funds may be used directly or indirectly for lobbying. However, this does not prevent officers or employees of an agency from communicating with a member of the legislature on the request of that member; or communicating to the legislature, through the proper official channels, requests for legislative action or appropriations that are deemed necessary for the efficient conduct of the public business or actually made in the proper performance of their official duties. This subsection does not apply to the legislative branch.

     (3) Any agency, not otherwise expressly authorized by law, may expend public funds for lobbying, but such lobbying activity shall be limited to (a) providing information or communicating on matters pertaining to official agency business to any elected official or officer or employee of any agency or (b) advocating the official position or interests of the agency to any elected official or officer or employee of any agency. Public funds may not be expended as a direct or indirect gift or campaign contribution to any elected official or officer or employee of any agency. For the purposes of this subsection, "gift" means a voluntary transfer of any thing of value without consideration of equal or greater value, but does not include informational material transferred for the sole purpose of informing the recipient about matters pertaining to official agency business. This section does not permit the printing of a state publication that has been otherwise prohibited by law.

     (4) No elective official or any employee of his or her office or any person appointed to or employed by any public office or agency may use or authorize the use of any of the facilities of a public office or agency, directly or indirectly, in any effort to support or oppose an initiative to the legislature. "Facilities of a public office or agency" has the same meaning as in RCW 42.17A.555 and 42.52.180. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to the following activities:

     (a) Action taken at an open public meeting by members of an elected legislative body to express a collective decision, or to actually vote upon a motion, proposal, resolution, order, or ordinance, or to support or oppose an initiative to the legislature so long as (i) any required notice of the meeting includes the title and number of the initiative to the legislature, and (ii) members of the legislative body or members of the public are afforded an approximately equal opportunity for the expression of an opposing view;

     (b) A statement by an elected official in support of or in opposition to any initiative to the legislature at an open press conference or in response to a specific inquiry;

     (c) Activities that are part of the normal and regular conduct of the office or agency;

     (d) Activities conducted regarding an initiative to the legislature that would be permitted under RCW 42.17A.555 and 42.52.180 if conducted regarding other ballot measures.

     (5) Each state agency, county, city, town, municipal corporation, quasi-municipal corporation, or special purpose district that expends public funds for lobbying shall file with the commission, except as exempted by (d) of this subsection, quarterly statements providing the following information for the quarter just completed:

     (a) The name of the agency filing the statement;

     (b) The name, title, and job description and salary of each elected official, officer, or employee who lobbied, a general description of the nature of the lobbying, and the proportionate amount of time spent on the lobbying;

     (c) A listing of expenditures incurred by the agency for lobbying including but not limited to travel, consultant or other special contractual services, and brochures and other publications, the principal purpose of which is to influence legislation;

     (d) For purposes of this subsection, "lobbying" does not include:

     (i) Requests for appropriations by a state agency to the office of financial management pursuant to chapter 43.88 RCW nor requests by the office of financial management to the legislature for appropriations other than its own agency budget requests;

     (ii) Recommendations or reports to the legislature in response to a legislative request expressly requesting or directing a specific study, recommendation, or report by an agency on a particular subject;

     (iii) Official reports including recommendations submitted to the legislature on an annual or biennial basis by a state agency as required by law;

     (iv) Requests, recommendations, or other communication between or within state agencies or between or within local agencies;

     (v) Any other lobbying to the extent that it includes:

     (A) Telephone conversations or preparation of written correspondence;

     (B) In-person lobbying on behalf of an agency of no more than four days or parts thereof during any three-month period by officers or employees of that agency and in-person lobbying by any elected official of such agency on behalf of such agency or in connection with the powers, duties, or compensation of such official. The total expenditures of nonpublic funds made in connection with such lobbying for or on behalf of any one or more members of the legislature or state elected officials or public officers or employees of the state of Washington may not exceed fifteen dollars for any three-month period. The exemption under this subsection (5)(d)(v)(B) is in addition to the exemption provided in (d)(v)(A) of this subsection;

     (C) Preparation or adoption of policy positions.

     The statements shall be in the form and the manner prescribed by the commission and shall be filed within one month after the end of the quarter covered by the report.

     (6) In lieu of reporting under subsection (5) of this section, any county, city, town, municipal corporation, quasi municipal corporation, or special purpose district may determine and so notify the public disclosure commission that elected officials, officers, or employees who, on behalf of any such local agency, engage in lobbying reportable under subsection (5) of this section shall register and report such reportable lobbying in the same manner as a lobbyist who is required to register and report under RCW 42.17A.600 and 42.17A.615. Each such local agency shall report as a lobbyist employer pursuant to RCW 42.17A.630.

     (7) The provisions of this section do not relieve any elected official or officer or employee of an agency from complying with other provisions of this chapter, if such elected official, officer, or employee is not otherwise exempted.

     (8) The purpose of this section is to require each state agency and certain local agencies to report the identities of those persons who lobby on behalf of the agency for compensation, together with certain separately identifiable and measurable expenditures of an agency's funds for that purpose. This section shall be reasonably construed to accomplish that purpose and not to require any agency to report any of its general overhead cost or any other costs that relate only indirectly or incidentally to lobbying or that are equally attributable to or inseparable from nonlobbying activities of the agency.

     The public disclosure commission may adopt rules clarifying and implementing this legislative interpretation and policy.

[2010 c 204 § 808; 1995 c 397 § 7; 1986 c 239 § 1; 1979 ex.s. c 265 § 1; 1977 ex.s. c 313 § 6; 1975 1st ex.s. c 294 § 12; 1973 c 1 § 19 (Initiative Measure No. 276, approved November 7, 1972). Formerly RCW 42.17.190.]

Notes:

     Effective date -- Severability -- 1977 ex.s. c 313: See notes following RCW 42.17A.005.