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Key Takeaways:

  • New York State’s newly created Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (COELIG) rolled out new mandatory ethics training requirements last week.
  • Although previous training requirements applied only to lobbyists, the new training mandate applies to in-house and retained lobbyists as well as Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) of client entities.
  • Although the training will claim a large portion of your day (it’s estimated to take 60to 90 minutes to complete), there is a silver lining: the training is only required once every three years.

As lobbying groups and clients in the Empire State collectively breathed a sigh of relief following the completion of several stacked deadlines recently (such as 2023-2024 biennial registrations, Client Semi-Annual Reports, and November-December Periodic Lobbying Reports), the newly-created Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (COELIG) was preparing another email blast. On January 18th, the Commission unveiled new mandatory training requirements pursuant to the Ethics Commission Reform Act of 2022. Although the upcoming change was publicized for months ahead of time, the Commission remained tight-lipped about the specific requirements of the training. 

The new self-guided training, while not substantially different in form and content from its older counterpart, is designed to be more interactive and engaging. It contains more detail on prohibited activities, action buttons, and short quizzes throughout to help you test your knowledge. Ultimately, the goal is increased transparency, honesty, and accuracy in reporting, and the Commission intends to report quarterly compliance metrics to both the Governor and the Legislature. 

Does the Requirement Apply to Me?

In the past, training requirements imposed by the now-defunct Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) only applied to lobbyists. But the new requirements apply to all in-house and retained lobbyists as well as Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) of client entities. The requirement also applies to newer lobbyists who recently completed the now-outdated training in 2022

Still Not Sure?

COELIG makes it easy to know whether you are required to complete the training - on January 18th, an email went out to all users affected by the mandate, and nightly email reminders will continue to go out to all individuals subsequently registered from that day. You can also check your status by simply logging into your individual account, viewing your user profile, and selecting “Training” from the top menu. A banner at the top of the screen will tell you whether you are in a “Training Required Role.”

Completing the Training

If the new mandate applies to you, start by accessing the self-guided presentation. COELIG estimates that it will take 60-90 minutes to complete, but it will depend on your familiarity with the subject matter. When you are finished, log into your individual account and select “Report Training” from the Quick Start menu. Check the box to indicate that you completed the training, enter the date, and press Submit. You will then receive a confirmation email from COELIG. 

If you were registered to lobby or your lobbying firm submitted a registration in New York State on or before January 18th, you must complete the training by March 18th. If you register to lobby or hire a lobbying firm after January 18th, you will have 60 days from your registration date to complete it. 

The good news? The training is only required once every three years - and, if you are a MultiState client, we are here to guide you through the process and make sure you remain in compliance. Reach out to our team with questions!