Municipal lobbying registration

We’ve previously covered whether you need to register with the State of Ohio as a lobbyist, but, like many of the topics our team discusses, there is a municipal component as well. Many cities, especially larger ones, have their own lobbying registration and reporting requirements.

If you are actively advocating for or against ordinances passed by a city council and signed into law by the mayor, you probably already know to register as a lobbyist and track your activities. However, there are some less common situations that might trigger a city’s lobbying ordinances, too.

For example, in the City of Columbus, some work related to land development – especially when dealing with zoning and land use – results in advocating for the passage of an ordinance. Depending on the amount of time spent advocating for the legislative change, an attorney, consultant or another company employee could meet the definition of legislative agent in Section 2321.54 of the Columbus City Code.

A best practice when engaging in a municipal activity is to do a quick review of the city code, check with the clerk of council or consult with an attorney to ensure you don’t inadvertently run afoul of a local lobbying ordinance.