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Unpaid Lobbyists No Longer Have To Register With SD City

The San Diego City Council has voted to change the city’s ethics rules so unpaid volunteers do not have to register as lobbyists.

This was one of the rare issues where the council split down the middle -- 4-to-4.

Some members said unpaid lobbyists are often the most influential. They didn’t want to water down the lobbying ordinance by exempting those people from registering.

But Councilwoman Sheri Lightner defended the first amendment rights of the average citizen to speak to an elected official without having to register.

“If this comes to pass,” Lightner said, “everyone I talk to, even my husband would have to register, would he not? There are rights we have as citizens, and that doesn’t mean we have to register every time we express our opinion."

The council eventually settled on wording by the city attorney that requires only paid lobbyists to register.

Carl DeMaio and Marti Emerald argued councilmembers should take more initiative to disclose all their ex-parte communications before voting on issues. Currently council members have to publish their calendars just once a year.

Audio

Aired 11/10/09

The San Diego City Council has voted to change the city’s ethics rules so unpaid volunteers do not have to register as lobbyists.

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