Delays in Implementation of NC's Lobbying Law

North Carolina's lobbying law, which was not scheduled to go into effect until January 2007 anyway, will not be properly enforced. The Secretary of State's office is charged with the enforcement of the law, and now they are claiming that they will not have the money to enforce it until at least July of 2007. From the Charlotte Observer:

Lobbyists attending a class on North Carolina's new lobbying law learned not only about the law, but also that the agency expected to enforce it doesn't have enough money to do so.
The new law is designed to close a loophole that allowed lobbyists to buy dinners, golf trips and other gifts for legislators without reporting them. They also will have to fill out monthly reports and work within new guidelines for how they do their jobs. For the first time, they will have to register if they intend to lobby the executive branch.
"We feel that citizens have a right to know how much money is being spent to influence their legislators," said Bob Phillips, the lobbyist and executive director of Common Cause North Carolina, a group that supported the new law.
Secretary of State Elaine Marshall told the lobbyists that she still doesn't have enough money to carry out the new law, which goes into place in January 2007. She has asked Gov. Mike Easley to shift $250,000 to her office to help.
The request is under review, said Easley spokeswoman Sherri Johnson.
In August, legislators approved hiring nine additional workers for Marshall's office, though money for the jobs isn't scheduled to be available until July.
"It takes folks, it takes money, it takes expertise to manage these laws," she said.

Comments

It's not as though

the Secretary of State's office has no money. Rather, it's a question of priorities. Just because this is the latest unfunded mandate, doesn't mean anything. Executives make decisions every day to do certain things and not do other things.

Marshall has a $9.7 million dollar budget next year -- with nearly $2 million of that going to general administration. Seems to me like it might be worth trimming back some of those admin costs.