Am I a Lobbyist?

Many people hear the word “lobbying” and think it has a negative connotation, however, our system of representative government is based on people’s ability to lobby their government. The Lobbying Reform Act of 2016 simplified the definition of who needs to register their lobbying activities. Many individuals who want to share their concerns with public officials do not have to register with the Department of State, but individuals lobbying on behalf of others or who are being paid to lobby, do.

Below are common examples of some civic and professional activities to help guide whether or not you need to register to lobby. We encourage you to reach out to our Public Information Office with any specific questions you may have about registering to lobby.

Civic Activities

Think about your personal civic engagement.
You do NOT need to register to lobby if:

  • You are appearing solely on your own behalf.
  • You are participating in or attending a political rally, protest, or other public assembly.
  • You are participating in a governmental advisory committee or task force.
  • You are appearing on behalf of an organization you volunteer for. (note: This exemption applies to people who are volunteers and lobby their elected officials occasionally, rather than on a consistent or regular basis.

Professional Activities

Think about what you do professionally.
You do NOT need to register to lobby if you:

  • You are a member of the news media writing about state government.
  • You are a qualified expert witness testifying in an administrative proceeding or legislative hearing.
  • You are responding to a request for information made by a state agency, department, legislative body or public corporation.
  • You are participating in administrative procedures.
  • Your regular duties do not include lobbying or government relations, but you are you appearing on behalf of a business entity by which you are employed or an organization with which you are associated.
  • You are you a Licensed attorney who:
    • Represents a client in a contested administrative proceeding, a licensing or permitting proceeding, or a disciplinary proceeding; and
    • Engages in any communications with an executive branch official or office if those communications are incidental to the attorney’s representation of their client rather than Lobbying activities as defined herein.
  • You produce public policy reports ­–with data, research or analysis–that is available to the general public, including news media reports, editorials, commentary or advertisements.
  • You are either an elected or appointed State or Municipal public official or their appointed designee acting in an official capacity.