#1. Why a lobbying policy?
Most of the policy is about the technicalities of lobbying. The key is to treat legislators and legislative staff with respect and to remember that our time belongs to the taxpayer, so we must spend it carefully and strategically.
The original Department of Administrative Services policy and guidelines were developed in response to legislator concerns about state agency personnelís activities in the Capitol building.
By following the policy, Department of Human Services employees can protect themselves from any perception of impropriety.
#2. What is lobbying?
Lobbying is defined as "influencing, or attempting to influence, legislative action through oral or written communication with legislative officials, solicitation of others to influence legislative action or attempting to obtain the good will of legislative officials."
#3. What isnít lobbying?
Doing staff work on the agencyís budget or testimony is not lobbying. Simply providing facts isnít lobbying. The tricky part is the definition includes "attempting to obtain the good will of legislative officials." This is a broad definition.
#4. What about constituent work?
The definition of lobbying applies to work in the legislative arena. If a legislator calls you for information about a client, case or program and there is no legislative context, answering the question isnít lobbying.
#5. Does it matter who initiates the contact?
If your activities meet the definition of lobbying, youíre lobbying. It doesnít matter if the legislator or legislative official initiated the contact. Once you attempt to influence the outcome of a legislative process (bill or budget), youíre lobbying.
#6. Who can lobby?
Department of Human Services employees must have permission of their manager before they lobby. When in doubt, check with your cluster legislative coordinator.
#7. What about members of advisory boards and commissions?
Members of advisory boards and commissions are subject to lobbying laws and rules, too. Department employees who staff these groups should share information about the laws and rules. If the board is lobbying its own legislative agenda (not the Departmentís), then it must register lobbyists who meet the reporting requirements and file its own entity expenditure reports.
#8. What about lobbying on my own time?
Many employees have a personal interest in issues being considered by the Legislature. Employees may use their own time to lobby. However, itís important to clarify for legislators which hat youíre wearing.
Department employees should think about their roles in the department as they make decisions about lobbying as a private citizen. Personal lobbying may impair an employeeís ability to represent the agency effectively at the Capitol.
#9. Why do DHS and its employees have to report the time spent lobbying?
State law requires entities that lobby to report. See ORS 171.730
When the Department of Human Services, as an employer, reports to the Government Standards and Practices Commission, we must include all lobbying expenses. The chief lobbying expense of the Department is staff time, so calculating the value of that time is a critical part of complying with the reporting requirement.
Any one who lobbies for the department, registered or not, must report their time.
Weíve made this process easier with a couple of forms. See DHS-010-002-02, Lobbyist Registration and Termination procedure.
10. Who has to report hours?
Any department employee who lobbies must report their time.
11. Where do I report my lobbying time?
The following individuals are responsible for each clusters expenditure reports:
If you have a question that isnít answered here, please contact your clusterís legislative coordinator or the Legislative and Intergovernmental Relations Manager
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Oregon Department of Human Services
500 Summer St. NE E25, Salem, OR 97301-1098
Phone: (503) 945-5944
Fax: (503) 378-2897
TTY: (503) 947-5330