New ordinance moves on to second reading.
Lobbyists in Santa Clarita are one step closer to being required to formally register with the City.
After some requests by the public and Councilmember TimBen Boydston, the Santa Clarita City Council directed staff to prepare a registration process for lobbyists. A plan was introduced at the Council’s December 13th meeting and it included an annual fee of $120 for lobbyists.
Under the ordinance, the definition of a lobbyist is one who is employed specifically to influence City staff or elected officials. All registrants would be required to list all of their employers, and a $25 amendment fee would be implemented each time they update that list in the given year.
There is also a component of the plan that prohibits former members of the City Council, City commissions or City staff from acting as lobbyists within one year of their last date employed by the City.
Mayor ProTem Bob Kellar said that the whole process is unnecessary, as there are only a handful of lobbyists in the City and their presence is widely known. He added that adding another bureaucratic process is not the best idea. Despite that fact, he went on to say that he would vote in favor of the ordinance anyway. “It's one of those things ‘lord help me if you don’t say yes, you’re probably trying to cover something up’…so I’ll vote yes,” he said.
Councilmember TimBen Boydston however, disagreed. “We are growing by leaps and bounds as a City. To put an ordinance like this in is an excellent thing to do,” he stated. “People who are playing by the rules would have nothing to fear from this ordinance, and it would be a good thing for our city to have.”
The Council voted unanimously to pass the ordinance on to a second reading.
Other issues discussed at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting included a unanimous decision to consider a new annexation policy for the City, and a 4-1 vote in favor of extending the deadline to file for the Citizen’s Financial and Audit Committee Panel for the Open Space Preservation District.