Title 42
State Affairs and Government

Chapter 139.1
The Rhode Island Lobbying Reform Act

R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-139.1-3

§ 42-139.1-3. Definitions.

(a) For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:

(1) “Appointed” or “engaged” means receiving compensation from another for lobbying.

(2) “Compensation” means any remuneration or earnings received or to be received for services rendered as a lobbyist, including any fee, salary, forbearance, forgiveness, or any other form of recompense, and any combination of these, but does not include reimbursement for incidental expenses.

(3) “Lobbying” means acting directly or soliciting others to act for the purpose of promoting, opposing, amending, or influencing any action or inaction by any member of the executive or legislative branch of state government or any public corporation.

(4) “Lobbying firm” means a business entity that receives compensation for lobbying.

(5) “Lobbyist” means any of the following:

(i) “Contract lobbyist” means any person who engages in lobbying as the appointed or engaged representative of another person; or

(ii) “In-house lobbyist” means any employee, officer, director, or agent of a corporation, partnership, or other business entity or organization whose job responsibilities include lobbying; or

(iii) “Governmental lobbyist” means any employee of any federal, state, or local government office or agency or any public corporation who engages in lobbying.

(6) “Money” and “anything of value” means any fee, salary, commission, expense allowance, forbearance, forgiveness, royalty, rent, capital gain, gift, loan, reward, favor or service, gratuity or special discount, or any other form of recompense that constitutes income under the Federal Internal Revenue Code, but shall not include campaign contributions.

(7) “Person” means an individual, firm, business, corporation, association, partnership, or other group.

(8) “Public corporation” means a body corporate and politic acting as a public corporation, which has been organized pursuant to law and granted certain powers, rights, and privileges by the general laws, but which has a separate and distinct legal existence from the state, and is not a department of the state.

(9) “Secretary” means the Rhode Island secretary of state.

(b) The following persons shall not be deemed “lobbyists” for purposes of this chapter:

(1) Licensed attorneys who:

(i) Represent a client in a contested administrative proceeding, a licensing or permitting proceeding, or a disciplinary proceeding; and

(ii) Engage 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 in this section.

(2) A qualified expert witness testifying in an administrative proceeding or legislative hearing, either on behalf of an interested party or at the request of the agency or legislative body or committee;

(3) Any member of the general assembly, general officer of the state, municipal elected or appointed official, head of any executive department of state government, and/or head of any public corporation, or a duly appointed designee of one of the foregoing offices acting in the official capacity of said office, and any judge of this state acting in their official capacity;

(4) Persons participating in a governmental advisory committee or task force;

(5) Persons appearing on behalf of a business entity by which they are employed or organization with which they are associated, if that person’s regular duties do not include lobbying or government relations;

(6) Persons appearing solely on their own behalf;

(7) Employees or agents of the news media who write, publish, or broadcast news items or editorials which directly or indirectly promote or oppose any action or inaction by any member or office of the executive or legislative branch of state government;

(8) Individuals participating in or attending a rally, protest, or other public assemblage organized for the expression of political or social views, positions, or beliefs;

(9) Individuals participating in any proceeding pursuant to chapter 35 of this title;

(10) Individuals, other than employees or agents of the news media, involved in the issuance and dissemination of any publication, including data, research, or analysis on public policy issues that is available to the general public, including news media reports, editorials, commentary, or advertisements; and

(11) Individuals responding to a request for information made by a state agency, department, legislative body, or public corporation.

History of Section.
P.L. 2016, ch. 62, § 3; P.L. 2016, ch. 69, § 3.