ASSEMBLY, No. 3757

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 24, 2011

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  DANIEL R. BENSON

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires governmental affairs agents retained by government entities to file certain reports with ELEC; requires certain government entities retaining governmental affairs agents to file annual reports with ELEC.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act requiring certain disclosures by governmental affairs agents and government entities that retain such agents, and supplementing and amending P.L.1971, c.183 (C.52:13C-18 et seq.).

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New section)  a.  A governmental affairs agent who is employed, retained, or engaged by a department, division, agency, board, bureau, office, commission, authority, or other instrumentality of the government of this State or of a political subdivision of this State shall file a notice of representation pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1971, c.183 (C.52:13C-21), quarterly reports specific to that representation pursuant to section 5 of P.L.1971, c.183 (C.52:13C-22), and annual reports specific to that representation pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1981, c.150 (C.52:13C-22.1).  This requirement shall not be deemed to require filings by a person performing services as an officer or employee of the government entity.

     b.    A department, division, agency, board, bureau, office, commission, authority, or other instrumentality of the government of this State or of a political subdivision of this State that employs, retains, or engages a governmental affairs agent who is required to file the notice and reports specified in subsection a. of this section shall file, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1981, c.150 (C.52:13C-22.1), annual reports with regard to that representation by the agent.  In addition to the information required to be provided in such an annual report, the report shall: describe the justification and purpose for retaining the agent; explain why an officer or employee of the government entity cannot provide the same service as the agent; explain why other available resources or means, such a cooperative efforts among government entities, cannot provide the same service as the agent; describe the terms of the agreement with the agent, including total anticipated cost of the agreement; explain why the schedule or method of payment set forth in the agreement was deemed appropriate; and describe the result achieved by the agent.

     A government entity shall not be permitted to designate a governmental affairs agent to file a report on its behalf.

 

     2.    Section 10 of P.L.1971, c.138 (C52:13C-27) is amended to read as follows:

     10.  This act shall not apply to the following activities:

     a.     the publication or dissemination, in the ordinary course of business, of news items, advertising which does not constitute communication with the general public, editorials or other comments by a newspaper, book publisher, regularly published periodical, or radio or television station, including an owner, editor or employee thereof;

     b.    acts of an officer or employee of the Government of this State or any of its political subdivisions, or of the Government of the United States or of any state or territory thereof or any of their political subdivisions, in carrying out the duties of their public office or employment, except as provided in section 10 of P.L.2009, c.308 (C.18A:3B-55) or in section 1 of P.L.      , c.    (C.       )(pending before the Legislature as this bill);

     c.     acts of bona fide religious groups acting solely for the purpose of protecting the public right to practice the doctrines of such religious groups;

     d.    acts of a duly organized national, State or local committee of a political party;

     e.     acts of a person in testifying before a legislative committee or commission, at a public hearing duly called by the Governor on legislative proposals or on legislation passed and pending his approval, or before any officer or body empowered by law to issue, promulgate or adopt administrative rules and regulations in behalf of a nonprofit organization incorporated as such in this State who receives no compensation therefor beyond the reimbursement of necessary and actual expenses, and who makes no other communication with a member of the Legislature, legislative staff, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Governor's staff, or an officer or staff member of the Executive Branch in connection with the subject of his testimony;

     f.     acts of a person in communicating with or providing benefits to a member of the Legislature, legislative staff, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Governor's staff, or an officer or staff member of the Executive Branch if such communication or provision of benefits is undertaken by him as a personal expression and not incident to his employment, even if it is upon a matter relevant to the interests of a person by whom or which he is employed, and if he receives no additional compensation or reward, in money or otherwise, for or as a result of such communication or provision of benefits;

     g.     with regard to influencing governmental processes as defined in subsections t. and u. of section 3 of P.L.1971, c.183 (C.52:13C-20) any communications, matters or acts of an attorney falling within the attorney-client privilege while engaging in the practice of law to the extent that confidentiality is required in order for the attorney to exercise his ethical duties as a lawyer; and

     h.     with regard to influencing governmental processes as defined in subsections t. and u. of section 3 of P.L.1971, c.183 (C.52:13C-20) any communications, matters or acts involving collective negotiations, or the interpretation or violation of collective negotiation agreements, of a labor organization of any kind which exists or is constituted for the purpose, in whole or in part, of collective bargaining, or of dealing with employers concerning the grievances, terms or conditions of employment, or of other mutual aid or protection in connection with employment.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.308 s.47)

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     The purpose of this bill is to require a governmental affairs agent who is retained or engaged to represent a department, division, agency, board, bureau, office, commission, authority, or any other instrumentality of the government of this State or of a political subdivision of the State, to file with the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) a notice of that representation, and quarterly and annually reports on the activities and expenditures specific to that representation.  The requirement applies only to governmental affairs agents who are retained to influence legislation, regulations or governmental processes; it does not apply to persons performing services in the course of employment as an officer or employee of the governmental entity, nor does it affect their activities.  Current law, the “Legislative and Governmental Process Activities Disclosure Act,” (N.J.S.A.52:13C-18 et seq.), requires such reports for governmental affairs agents who are employed, retained or engaged to influence legislation, regulations or governmental processes.  The law does, however, exclude the activities of governmental affairs agents retained by public entities in this State.

     The bill also requires government entities that retain governmental affairs agents to file annual reports with regard  to representation by such agents.  In addition to the information required to be provided in such an annual report, the report must: 1) describe the justification and purpose for retaining the agent; 2) explain why an officer or employee of the government entity cannot provide the same service as the agent; 3) explain why other available resources or means, such a cooperative efforts among government entities, cannot provide the same service as the agent; 4) describe the terms of the agreement with the agent, including total anticipated cost of the agreement; 5) explain why the schedule or method of payment set forth in the agreement was deemed appropriate; and 6) describe the result achieved by the agent.