On January 1, 2019, new lobbying regulations go into effect in New York. Developed by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), these regulations apply to organizations and individuals registered as lobbyists or clients of a lobbyist.

JCOPE has stated the intent of the regulations is to provide clarity, address lobbying in the digital age and “close loopholes” that have evolved over time. Their release marks a significant departure from the regulation of lobbying over the last four decades: a patchwork of guidance documents, non-binding advisory opinions and interpretations of New York’s Lobbying Act. The new regulations consolidate prior interpretations of the Lobbying Act into one set of uniform regulations that provide a clearer picture of JCOPE’s interpretation of the Lobbying Act and expectations for compliance among the lobbying community.

The regulations also give JCOPE a stronger foundation for investigatory and enforcement action. While many of the regulations clarify or restate historical policies set forth by JCOPE, there are also new rules that depart from prior practice. Key changes that will take effect January 1 involve:

• Greater specificity in lobbying filings

• Door opening, or preliminary contact

• Lobbying on social media

• Grassroots lobbying

• Online ethics training

• Procurement contracts, including Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs)

• A new application and filing system

Explore key changes in more detail on our Lobbying Compliance landing page.

If you have questions about the matters in this Legal Alert or any other legal issues, please contact Mitchell Pawluk, Karl Sleight or Joan Sullivan at (518) 427-9700, or the Harris Beach attorney with whom you usually work.

This alert does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on specific matters.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York State, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Melville, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse, Uniondale and White Plains, as well as New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.