HB 306 is a bill that will silence the voices of any public citizen’s group but will enable corporate interests to wine and dine legislators without allowing any contrary position to set forth inside the General Assembly…..

It tells legislators… you can only listen to “these” people…..

It is an anti-lobbying bill that primarily affects those who don’t lobby too often, but when they do it is for causes benefiting regular citizens, and not those corporate interests trying to minimize their rights…

Again, it is a progressive bill sponsored by progressives unaware that in Delaware, everyone has to sign up as a lobbyist if they want to visit a legislator in the General Assembly and discuss pertinent legislation….

Although some lobbyists are indeed “fat cats” with multiple clients with much net worth, by numbers most lobbyists are just lobbyists for certain causes… If you missed a previous post illuminating those causes, please go here… 

This bill sets fines for late reporting….  Fines which are steep and not in line with those who most likely will fall short.. Most likely the fine will be $100, but it is set for $25 the first day, and $10 for each subsequent day…

Under the description these fines are supposed to cover costs caused by late filing.  But the system is computerized… there are no costs!!!  The computer erases access for any lobbyist not current until he makes himself current….  So the only costs involved are the same as your computer has at home… zero…  Your computer cost is the same whether you are looking at lobbyists transactions or watching something on YouTube…

Apparently legislators envisage hundreds of people pouring over paperwork, checking boxes to see who is current or not…. The administrator can find that out with one quick click….

Dismissed:  the notion there is any cost associated with late fees. Which is why this portion of the bill is silly:  “The fee(s) is payable through the Public Integrity Reporting System database maintained by the Commission.  All revenue generated by the late filing fees shall be deposited in an appropriated special fund account for the Commission.  These funds shall be used to fund all costs necessary to defray the expenses of administration of 29 Del. C. § 5835.”

Translated…. this money goes into the general fund.

Secondly, is whom is hurt….

If you make your business lobbying, chances are you have alarms, bells and whistles informing you of the approaching deadline… If you have kids in school, a demanding boss, teenagers at home, pets that pee on the carpet, there is a pretty good chance that if I asked you when the window for re-registering as a lobbyist, you might respond with at the end of every quarter, but I would be that without a calendar, you couldn’t recite each of the dates.

For those that don’t know, here is how the process works.  If you are an public advocate, you sign up as a lobbyist… Under the law you have to report how much money you spent each quarter and for you… it is always zero… … So in the midst of your daily life,  you have to wait for the window of access to open, and then look up your  login or password since it has been 3 months last since it was last used, then find the right page, type in 3 successive lines of zeros, log out and you are done…..

So the entire procedure for advocates of We, the People, is very Kafkaesque….   You have to wait for a certain moment of time, and then report that you did nothing, … If you miss the window, you are not a lobbyist any more….   It used to be you were not a lobbyist until you logged on and filed a report.  Now, you will pay, … probably $100 dollars … for not being able to jump through that window during the short time it was open…..

Every lobbyist gets an email reminding them of their responsibility… Depending on your daily traffic, it is one of 250 a day, or 7500 a month…. On the email there is a link…. you click the link and get notice the website will be active starting the 20th of this month… Crap! You have to now wait 10 days…. The window is from the 20th to the 1st of the month…  If there are two weekends and you file from work, you have only 6 days in which to remember to file…  If you remember on the second of the next month 30 days after your reminder… you have an outstanding balance of $25 dollars… (Now will you have to report this on the next quarter as an expense?)… If you remember on the third, the aggregate total is then $35 dollars.  If you remember on the fourth…  (July 4th weekend is right after a lobby reporting time)… $45 is what you owe… The 5th, $55 dollars….

Most people who advocate for causes, perhaps their autistic son, can better spend $55 dollars…..  If what is most likely to happen, they can’t afford $55 dollars, they can no longer talk to any legislator about autism or any connected bill affecting their child… They are expelled….

That is why this is a bad bill….  the people we need to hear from the most… are the ones who will be punished…

There are changes that can be made….  Amendments…  One saying this only applies to lobbyists who will be shown to have had expenses…  That is fair, whether of public advocates or fat cats.  Because chances are, if you are spending money on legislators,… it is on top of your mind…   it is not like getting fined for not reporting in a timely fashion, you had no activity.

Or one can do the same, but with a threshold…. This requirement only applies to those lobbyists reporting expenses over $1000 a quarter…. 

Both of these would maintain the character of the bill, which is to make sure Mr. Byrd reports all his dealings while the General Assembly is in session, and not months after it has closed up shop, at which point we then find how Darryl Scott was bribed to sponsor all those horrendous pieces of educational legislation he and Dave Sokola have introduced regarding Charter Schools…

And it would protect those who only got involved because a school bus needed to have a stop sign that unfolded when its red lights came on and an extension bar out front so a driver could see if all children had crossed in front of his vehicle…. or other similar pieces of legislation….

Many long past their active involvements ….   Imagine that one day they get a bill from the state saying they owe $100 for failing to say they did nothing during he course of these past 3 month….  And that because they did nothing without reporting they did nothing, they now must pay $100 they have in arrears…

Amend this bill, or vote it down……

AS is, this is a bad bill for the following organizations…..

  1. Delaware Estuary
  2. Stand Up For What’s Right And Just
  3. National Popular Vote
  4. Girl Scouts of Chesapeake Bay
  5. Associated Community Talents
  6. Delaware Association of Non Profit Agencies
  7. 9-12 Delaware Patriots
  8. Kent County Progressives
  9. Center for Inland Bays
  10. Delawareans for Social and Economic Justice
  11. Delawind
  12. Delaware Repeal Project
  13. Delaware Jobs Now
  14. American Lung Association
  15. Common Cause/ Delaware
  16. Pilot’s Association for the Delaware River
  17. Burris Firm
  18. NAACP
  19. Concerned Black Men, Inc.
  20. Wilmington Tug
  21. Blue Hen, Inc.
  22. Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee
  23. Delaware ACLU
  24. Center for Popular Democracy
  25. Council on State Taxation
  26. Marijuana Policy Project
  27. Delaware Audubon Society
  28. Delaware Sleep Society
  29. American Traffic Solutions
  30. League of Women Voters
  31. Chimes Delaware
  32. PTA Delaware Congress
  33. Delaware Rural Water Association
  34. Brandywine Sprouts, Roots, and Shoots
  35. Delaware Council on Gambling Problems
  36. Autism Delaware
  37. Delaware Auctioneer Association
  38. Delaware Police Chief’s Council
  39. Save our Society From Drugs
  40. Greenwatch Institute
  41. Sierra Club
  42. Delaware Defensive Driving
  43. March of Dimes
  44. Consortium of Non-medical Privately Owned Healthcare
  45. City of Wilmington
  46. Volunteer Hose Company of Middletown
  47. Delaware Volunteer Fireman’s Association
  48. Delaware Coalition For Open Government
  49. Delaware School Boards Association
  50. Consumer’s Union of US Inc.
  51. AIDS Delaware
  52. Delaware Nature Society
  53. Delaware River Stevedores, Inc
  54. Council on State Taxation
  55. Bridgeville Rifle and Pistol Club
  56. Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families
  57. American Lung Association of the Mid Atlantic
  58. Delaware Society for Respiratory Care
  59. Humane Society of the United States
  60. Horizon House
  61. American Cancer Society Action Network and It’s Affiliates
  62. Consumer Health Products Association
  63. Best Friends
  64. Wilmington Fire Foundation
  65. Film Delaware
  66. Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau
  67. Easter Seals
  68. Rodel
  69. Mid Atlantic Education Alliance
  70. Christina River, LLC
  71. Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition
  72. Recycling Reinvented
  73. Delaware State Lodge  FOP
  74. Police Athletic League of Delaware
  75. Kind to Kids Foundation
  76. Delaware State Funeral Directors Association
  77. Delaware Tourism Alliance
  78. Commercial Industrial Reality Council
  79. Cigar Association of America
  80. Scientific Games Corporation
  81. Delaware Auctioneer Association
  82. Save our Delaware Byways
  83. Delaware Solar Energy Coalition
  84. Fort Miles Historical Association
  85. Atlantic Pawn
  86. Delaware Asian American Business Association
  87. City of Newark
  88. Alternative Energy Researching and Consultation
  89. Gift of Life Donor Program
  90. Delaware Cemetaries for Consumer Choice
  91. Gun Rights Across America
  92. White Clay Creek Watershed Management Association
  93. Rehoboth Art League
  94. WHYY Inc
  95. Delaware Association of Surveyors
  96. National Campaign to Reform State Juvenile Judicial System
  97. Sussex Technical School District
  98. National Guard Association of Delaware
  99. OSG Ship Management Inc.
  100. St. Francis Hospital/Catholic Health East
  101. Westown Movie Theater
  102. Red Frog, Events LLC
  103. Woodlawn Trustees
  104. Prestige Academy
  105. Communities in Schools of Delaware
  106. Punkin’ Chunkin’
  107. CRI
  108. Arcadia Wind Power
  109. National Association of  Professional Surplus Lines Offices LLC
  110. Teach For America
  111. Civic League for New Castle County

Most likely if this bill is passed, they will have a hard time getting anyone to take up their cause… unless that person has very deep pockets already….

This is a bad bill.