Nevada is working to find a solution on lobbyist registrations as the state’s traditional registrations have come to a full stop during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nevada is the only state that requires a person to be physically in the Capitol to be considered a lobbyist and thus required to register.
The legislation is currently being considered by lawmakers in the Nevada Assembly. If enacted, reporting for the current session that started on February 1st will be required, so keeping track of your Nevada time is important in the event that you will be required to retroactively report.
Nevada’s Physical Lobbying Presence Requirement
Nevada’s lobbying laws make a crucial distinction that doesn’t exist in any other jurisdiction: Nevada requires that you must be physically located in the Capitol for your actions to be considered lobbying activity and ultimately to necessitate registering as a lobbyist. The new realities of the government affairs industry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic — where we can’t visit state capitals as much as we did before — have obviously drawn attention to this provision.
This Nevada law has played out interestingly over the last year. In 2020, the state held two special sessions, the 31st and the 32nd for the state, and registrations did not occur for either because of this law. However, the legislature was still meeting, and lobbyists were still interacting with lawmakers, even if it was done remotely. These meetings included legislators and individuals who qualify as lobbyists on every other aspect of the statute except for the fact that they were not physically located in the Capitol. For context, in the 80th Session in 2019, there were 1,204 lobbyists registered and more than 1,200 employers of lobbyists registered. The 81st Session officially started on February 1, 2021. However, the totals of registered lobbyists and lobbyist employers remain at zero as the Capitol is closed.
New Legislation Would Change This Rule
Nevada Assembly Bill 110 would change this by revising the Nevada Lobbying Disclosure and Regulation Act and would remove the language specifically requiring people to register as lobbyists only if they appear in person. Any company acting as a lobbyist employer that is based in Nevada will be impacted, in addition to out-of-state lobbyists appearing virtually before the legislature while lawmakers continue to meet in a hybrid virtual capacity. At this time it is expected that any individual participating in activity that could be considered lobbying will be required to report any prior lobbying activity once the lobbying law has been amended.
At this point, the bill has had one hearing and two more will occur soon. Assembly bills must be passed out of the first chamber by April 20th. If enacted, reporting for the current session that started on February 1st will be required, so keeping track of your Nevada time is important in the event that you will be required to retroactively report. We’ll continue to monitor this legislation, in addition to others that update lobbying laws throughout the country. Read more about our Lobbying Compliance Solution here.