TAVARES — At its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners approved an ordinance that aims to track how often lobbyists contact County Commissioners and certain County employees.
The ordinance defines a lobbyist as "any person, partnership, corporation or other business entity that receives compensation to lobby on behalf of a principal. Further, lobbyist means an employee of a principal when governmental relations, acting as a governmental liaison, or communicating with governmental agencies is a primary or substantial part of the employee's ongoing job responsibilities."
The ordinance, which will go into effect on Monday, Oct. 15, requires lobbyists to register every time when contacting a County Commissioner, a department director, a division director or any employee of County Attorney's Office or County Manager's Office. A lobbyist can register a visit by signing a logbook, located in the receiving area of any County department or office. If a contact is made outside of County offices, including contact initiated by e-mail, telephone or written communication, a lobbyist is required to report this to the County Attorney's Office within seven calendar days of the activity.
When logging a contact, a lobbyist is required to provide the following information:
• Name & business address
• Name & business address of each principal represented
• Topic of lobbying contact
• Name of each person contacted
Those who violate the new lobby ordinance could be fined $250, and repeat offenders could be prohibited from lobbying County officials and employees for one to two years.
For more information about the Lake County Lobbying Ordinance, call the County Attorney's Office at (352) 343-8787.