May 16, 2011

Final push for lobbyist and campaign reporting bills

While redistricting and budgeting are the big issues heading into the Legislative session's home stretch, two bills concerning lobbyist and campaign reforms will be heard in their respective committees today.

SB206, introduced by Sheila Leslie (D., Washoe), would require legislative lobbyists to report on lobbying activities when the Legislature is out of session, and SB125, introduced by Ben Kieckhefer (R., Washoe), would make candidates disclose campaign finance reports earlier to accommodate early voters.

Given the 14 to 1 lobbyist-to-legislator ratio dominating Carson City and the trend of lawmakers becoming lobbyists, SB206 would allow citizens to know who a lobbyist is trying to influence in the interim.

Both bills aim to improve legislative accountability. Citizens should hope lawmakers will take a close look at these bills in between the ongoing budget wars.