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Bill to curb lobbyist contracts paid by governmental entities stalls in committee

Published: Thursday, March 7 2013 7:05 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to prohibit government entities from from contracting with lobbyists to represent them on Capitol Hill has been returned to the House Rules Committee.

The House Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to request that HB383 be included in the Utah Legislature's list of issues to be studied during the body's interim session.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, said he introduced the legislation "to touch a nerve."

While he agrees that cities and counties need a means to address lawmakers on issues that affect them, Ray said Utahns deserve to know how taxpayer dollars are spent on contracting with lobbyists who represent governmental entities.

"I'm willing to go to interim with this and bring out a transparency bill," he said.

Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, said while Ray's rationale for sponsoring SB383 was transparency, "I see it as a prohibition."

As originally introduced, the bill would have applied to governmental entities such as the Utah Transit Authority.

Ray said he was attempting to bring fairness to all cities and municipalities, particularly small cities that have fewer resources to hire lobbyists to represent their interests.

Marjorie Cortez

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