Last month was a good month to be a lobbyist in Philadelphia - and perhaps the last one for a while.
Thank Mayor Nutter for pushing his sweetened-drink beverage tax, which Council rejected but not before the beverage industry and its political allies hired advocates of all stripes and colors to help them defeat the proposal.
Who were they? How much did they shell out to beat back Nutter's tax?
Many of those answers would have been known if this skirmish had played out under the city's new lobbyist registration law, which was supposed to have taken effect Friday.
But the Philadelphia Board of Ethics, which is charged with implementing the law, passed a resolution June 15 saying it needed more time because a computerized system to manage the registration rules was not yet up and running.
The Philadelphia Bar Association added another wrinkle last week with a lawsuit, seeking to exempt lawyers from the new rules. Common Pleas Court Judge Albert W. Sheppard Jr. issued a stay of the law and scheduled a hearing for this Friday on whether the stay should continue.
The technical work on the lobbyist registration system is being handled by the city's Division of Technology, which in April hired a vendor to create the software. Ethics Board employees were expected to begin testing it last week, and it should be ready for a formal launch July 18.
Depending on Sheppard's rulings, that's when people getting paid to lobby city officials or employees will have to start disclosing whom they are lobbying, for what reason, and on whose behalf. They will also have to submit photographs of themselves, as well as quarterly reports detailing how much they or their firms were paid for their work.
With all the new light shining on the lobbying industry, maybe the only remaining question will be whether the mayor tries again to pass his tax. - Marcia Gelbart
Nutter takes leave of sick-time supporters
Nutter has deftly handled hecklers and swatted away the insults of both Street brothers without too much sweat. But he wasn't about to deal with the 30 or so protesters who crashed his news conference last week to announce the veto of the paid-sick-leave bill.
And who could blame him? The proponents of the bill have been some of the most active all year, appearing at multiple Council hearings and employing a number of tactics to gather attention and support for paid sick time.
When they learned of Nutter's news conference at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (the leading opponent of the bill), the activists filled the hallway near the elevators, right where Nutter's people had set up a lectern and microphone.
They parried the efforts of a man from building security who said they constituted a fire hazard and tried to persuade all but a handful to move to the Broad Street sidewalk. "What's the capacity?" one man demanded to know.
But Nutter had more tricks up his sleeve: The press event was moved into a conference room, away from the masses.
On his way out, though, he had to hear the chant, "Philadelphia needs sick time," and one woman who told him, "You should be ashamed of yourself." - Troy Graham