(HARRISBURG) – The State Senate has unanimously passed bi-partisan legislation to improve access to lobbying disclosure data, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).
Scarnati, the sponsor of Senate Bill 695, explained that the bill requires lobbyists and lobbying firms to register and file reports electronically through the computerized system developed by the Pennsylvania Department of State. In addition, the Department will be required to post on its Lobbyist Disclosure website all lobbying registration and reporting documents it receives within a week of the filing.
“In the past, it has often taken months after lobbyist disclosure documents were completed and filed before the information was posted on the Department’s website,” Scarnati said. “Timely internet publication of all lobbying documents is an important part of improving transparency in state government and providing taxpayers with increased access to information.”
Scarnati explained that currently, lobbyists may register and file reports with the Department on paper forms through traditional mail. In some cases this has led to delayed posting of the information on the Department’s publicly accessible website.
“Last session identical legislation was passed by the Senate, but was never considered by the House of Representatives,” Scarnati stated. “Senate Bill 695 will now be sent to the House, where I am hopeful it will receive swift consideration this session.”