HARRISBURG - A special state panel stamped its approval yesterday on regulations that will provide more detailed guidance to employers of Pennsylvania's more than 1,000 lobbyists as they fill out quarterly reports required by the state's year-old disclosure law.
The bipartisan panel of state lawyers, legislators and one lobbyist spent most of this year refining the proposed rules, which are now subject to a final round of regulatory and legislative review. They are expected to go into effect in early 2008.
"We're obviously going to fast-track it," said Nils Fredericksen, a spokesman for state Attorney General Tom Corbett, whose office oversaw the development of the regulations.
The law that took effect in January ended Pennsylvania's five years as the only state without a lobbyist disclosure law. Interim guidelines were adopted in May to guide the more than 1,300 companies and groups that employ lobbyists in reporting their expenditures.
The Associated Press reported in October that spending on efforts to influence state officials for the first half of 2007 totaled $37 million - reflecting what is likely to be a sharp increase from the $52 million reported for all of 2001, the last previous year for which disclosure was required.
The lobbying total included nearly $1 million worth of meals, plane tickets, hotel rooms and other gifts for lawmakers and other officials.