BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Lobbyists who do business in city officials will now be required to register with Baltimore.
The Transparency In Lobbying Act legislation, introduced by Councilman Zeke Cohen, will track any relationships between lobbyists and city officials.
The act will require lobbyists to identify their clients, file disclosures twice a year rather than annually and allows for a three-year ban for any lobbyists that violate the law.
Mayor Jack Young said the registration process has been streamlined and allows for the city to be transparent with the public.
The ethics board will also have a list online of all the registered lobbyists with the city. The finance department will also have a list online of all the companies that did business with the city during the past year.
“We believe journalists and citizens should have access to what’s happening in city government,” Cohen said. “We should all know what’s happening in our government.”
He also said they have been working on this bill for several months and wanted to do a bill signing with former mayor Catherine Pugh. but “she refused to do that.”
“I now know why,” Cohen said. “We now know why.”
Pugh resigned in May after controversy around her “Healthy Holly” book deal.
“What happened with Mayor Pugh can never happen again,” Cohen said, “and I believe this is an affirmative and important step in making sure we know when folks are meeting with public officials, what they are going in for and what they are doing.”
If lobbyists fail to register, they will have to pay higher fees or could be banned.