Grassroots Lobbying means hiring or engaging one or more third parties for the express purpose of soliciting others to communicate with a Commission official or employee to influence a Commission Action.
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Lobbying means any communication, written or oral, undertaken for compensation that is directed to a Commissioner or Planning Board member, or employee of the Commission for the purpose of directly or indirectly influencing any Commission Action, including any Grassroots Lobbying Activity.
A Commission Action is any executive, administrative, legislative, or quasi-legislative action taken formally by the Commission, the Planning Boards, an officer or other official so designated by the Commission. Commission Actions include:
a) Authorizing a grant, credit, or other subsidy from the Commission,
b) Awarding a procurement contract,
c) Preparing and adopting resolutions, rules, regulations, and policies to direct the operation of the Commission, the Planning Boards, and other agency functions,
d) Making recommendations for the General Plan, area master plans, functional master plans, sector or small area plans, and any amendments to any such plans; revisions to the Subdivision Regulations and Zoning Text Amendments; as well as sectional and district map amendments.
All Lobbyists are required to register unless the individual or entity (i) qualifies for one of the seven (7) Exemptions OR (ii) does not exceed one of five (5) Spending Thresholds listed below.
An individual or entity is not required to register during a reporting period if one of the following exemptions applies:
1. Government and Related Entities. The individual or entity is a government entity, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Maryland Association of Counties, the Maryland Municipal League, a comparable quasi-governmental agency designated by the Executive Director for this purpose by giving written notice in advance, or an employee of such an organization acting within the scope of their official duties;
2. Certain Public Interest Organizations. The individual or entity is a news organization, religious institution, or not-for-profit independent college or university that is not attempting to influence a Commission Action related to the regulation of its property or interests related to its property, or an employee of such an organization acting within the scope of their official duties;
3. Educational Purposes. The individual or entity is a student or educator Lobbying as part of a course or student activity undertaken by an elementary, secondary, or post-secondary school student or student organization;
4. Work for Hire or By Commission Request. The individual or entity’s only communications are (a) limited to work for hire by the Commission, or (b) pertaining to a particular Commission Action undertaken at the request of an agency employee or official authorized to make such request;
5. Personal Communications. The communications undertaken by the individual or entity are limited to communications directly with, and for hire by, a Commission official or employee acting in their personal capacity to obtain personal legal advice, professional services, or other information for reasons that do not involve official Commission business or a Commission Action;
6. Sales People. The individual or entity is an employee or bona fide sales agent promoting sales of goods or services for a commercial entity before the Commission and has advertised or otherwise solicited bids or proposals for a specific procurement transaction.
7. Hiring Third-Party Lobbyists. With respect to a particular Commission Action, the individual or entity does not engage directly in Lobbying but hires one or more third-parties to engage in Lobbying on its behalf, provided, that every such third-party registers timely as a Lobbyist in compliance with this Practice.
II. Spending Thresholds
An individual or entity that engages in any Lobbying and does not qualify for an exemption is required to register only if they exceed any of the expenditure thresholds specified, as follows:
1. Compensation Received. The individual or entity actually or constructively receives Compensation for Lobbying from one or more sources totaling $2,500 or more during a reporting period (calendar year);
2. Compensation Paid. The individual or entity pays or incurs obligations to pay one or more third-parties for Lobbying totaling $2,500 or more during a reporting period;
3. Grassroots Spending. The individual or entity pays or incurs obligations to pay for Grassroots Activities totaling $1,000 or more during the reporting period;
4. Gifts. In connection with or for the purpose of influencing Commission Action, the individual or entity pays or incurs expenses for gifts having an aggregate fair market value of at least $100, including meals, beverages, or special events during the reporting period; or
5. Miscellaneous Expenses. In connection with or for the purpose of influencing Commission Action, the individual or entity pays or incurs other expenses for postage, telecommunications services, electronic services, advertising, printing, and delivery services, or similar business expenses having a fair market value of at least $500.
A. How and when should I register as a Lobbyist? Individuals or entities who are seeking to influence Commission Action and otherwise meet the criteria for a Lobbyist pursuant to M-NCPPC Administrative Practice 5-61: must complete and submit the Lobbying Registration Form within 5 days of qualifying as a Lobbyist.
B. Every individual or entity required to register with the Commission must disclose the following information on a form linked here:
1. The Lobbyist’s name and permanent address;
2. The name and permanent address of any individual or entity who will Lobby on behalf of the Lobbyist;
3. The name, address, and nature of business of an individual or entity who compensates the Lobbyist; and
4. The identification, by formal designation, if known, of each matter on which the Lobbyist expects to Lobby or employs someone to Lobby.
C. A Lobbyist must register separately for each employer.
D. Each registration, if applicable, shall include the authorization required under M-NCPPC Administrative Practice, Section III.
E. Each Lobbyist may file a notice of termination within 30 days after:
1. Ceasing any Lobbying activity; and
2. Filing the Activity Reports required under this Practice.
The Lobbying Activity Reports must be completed and submitted no later than January 31st for all Lobbying activity conducted during the prior calendar year (January 1 through December 31).
Lobbyists may access a blank Activity Report by clicking on the link provided: here