Policies

Office of the President



Lobbying in New York State



POLICY:

In order to comply with the New York State Lobbying Act, Utica College requires the following:

  • Faculty, staff, and paid lobbyists may not communicate with any elected or appointed state or municipal (local) official for the purpose of lobbying as defined by this policy unless such communication has been previously coordinated with and approved, in writing, by the vice president for institutional advancement.
  • Students, volunteers, and other individuals who plan to similarly communicate on behalf of the College but are not paid to do so must also notify the vice president for institutional advancement
  • No one affiliated with the College may give gifts of any kind to elected or appointed state or local officials without approval in advance from the vice president for institutional advancement. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved in advance by the President of Utica College. (See Exceptions to the no-gift rule)
  • In the event of unanticipated communication with any state or municipal elected or appointed official, if that communication constitutes lobbying on behalf of the College as defined by this policy, the individual must report that activity to the vice president for institutional advancement after the fact.
  • Other activities involving elected or appointed officials, as well as candidates running for office, may be subject to Utica College’s Political Activity policy.

SCOPE:

This policy applies to all Utica College faculty and staff members, students, and lobbyists hired by the College. This policy also applies to all volunteers, including alumni and trustees, who have been asked to lobby on behalf of the College and who have registered as lobbyists for other organizations. The New York State Lobbying Act applies only to lobbying within New York State. Individuals who plan to communicate with or give gifts to federal officials need not follow the procedures outlined in this policy, but may wish to consult with the vice president for institutional advancement for assistance.

REASON FOR POLICY:

This policy was established to comply with the Guidelines to the Lobbying Act which governs the lobbying of all elected or appointed public officials in the State of New York. The legislature deems it necessary that in order “to preserve and maintain the integrity of the governmental decision-making process in this state, it is necessary that the identity, expenditures and activities of persons and organizations retained, employed or designated to influence the passage or defeat of any legislation by either house of the legislature or the approval, or veto, of any legislation by the governor and attempts to influence the adoption or rejection of any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law or the outcome of any rate making proceeding by a state agency, and the attempts to influence the passage or defeat of any local law, ordinance, or regulation be publicly and regularly disclosed.” Failure to comply with the New York State Lobbying Act may result in substantial penalties and fines for the College.

In all instances where the College’s annual cumulative costs for lobbying activities and expenses exceed $5,000 in a calendar year, the College is required to register with the New York Commission on Public Integrity, and both Bi-Monthly and Client Semi-Annual Reports must be submitted to the New York Commission on Public Integrity. This report must include a listing of persons who, as part of their paid responsibilities, lobby on behalf of the College for the express purpose of advancing the College’s programs or activities through legislation.

DEFINITIONS:

Gifts – Anything having a more than nominal monetary value given to an elected or appointed public official in any form, including, but not limited to, money, service, loan, travel, lodging, meals, refreshments, entertainment, discount, forbearance, or promise, unless that gift is also offered to the general public at no cost. For exceptions to the No-Gift Rule.

Lobbying – Any and all interaction with elected or appointed state or municipal (city, county, and town) officials for the purpose of attempting to influence the passage or defeat of state or local legislation, rule or regulation having the force of law, or any state or local executive order, rate-making proceeding, governmental procurement, that directly or indirectly benefits Utica College.

Lobbyist – Any person who is paid by the College and who engages in lobbying with elected or appointed municipal or state officials in the State of New York. This potentially includes faculty and staff, as well as lobbyists hired by the College.

Public Officials – Under the New York State Lobbying Act, the following and their staffs: the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Comptroller, Attorney General, state agency heads (including the State Education Department), all members of the State Legislature (New York State Senate and Assembly), and the New York State Board of Regents, all members and staff of non-compensated state boards, as well as public authorities, public benefit corporations and commissions. The term also include municipal (local) officers and employees, whether paid or unpaid, and local administrative boards, agencies, and commissions.

PROCEDURE:

1. Requirements for Individuals who Engage in Lobbying Activities on Behalf of Utica College

  1. All College faculty, staff, students, volunteers, and paid lobbyists seeking to meet or otherwise communicate with any elected or appointed state or local official with the intent of discussing matters that would directly or indirectly benefit the College must submit the Lobbying Request Form to the vice president for institutional advancement and obtain his/her approval before engaging in that activity. The written request must include:

    1. Name of the official with whom the requester wishes to meet
       
    2. Date and time when the interaction will take place
       
    3. Purpose of such contact and the intended outcomes
  2. At the conclusion of the interaction, faculty, staff, students, and paid lobbyists must provide a written report to the vice president for institutional advancement stating:

    1. Name of the individual engaged in the lobbying activity
       
    2. Name of the person or entity lobbied
       
    3. Date, location, and subject matter of the lobbying activity, including any bill numbers of pending legislation, or in the case of rules or regulations, those identifying numbers
       
    4. Amount of time spent lobbying
       
    5. Any expenses incurred traveling to, during, or returning from the lobbying activity
      vi. Whether the lobbying activity was, or was not, the sole purpose of the travel
  3. Individuals lobbying on behalf of the College may not give gifts to elected or appointed state or local officials. State lobbying laws stipulate that no legislator can receive a gift of any value, unless that gift is also offered to the general public at no cost.
     
  4. Individuals who have unanticipated communication with any state or municipal elected or appointed official should report that communication to the vice president for institutional advancement following the procedure outlined in paragraph b above, if that communication constitutes lobbying on behalf of the College as defined by this policy.
     
  5. Individuals who have questions regarding whether their communication with state or municipal elected or appointed officials constitutes lobbying, or whether a presentation to a state or municipal elected or appointed official constitutes a gift, should contact the vice president for institutional advancement.
2. Reporting Lobbying Compensation and Expenditures

Should the College reach the annual $5,000 threshold for reportable lobbying compensation and expenditures, the President will designate one individual to serve as the official reporting agent for the College. The official agent would then submit a biennial registration to the New York State Commission on Public Integrity listing all College personnel responsible for lobbying on behalf of the College. The official agent would also prepare and submit an official College letter signed by the President designating all faculty and staff members whom the College anticipates will be lobbying on its behalf. The College’s official reporting agent would update the list of designees at any time by modifying the online registration form.

Once registered with the Public Integrity Commission, through a lobbyist biennial registration process, the College would also file Bimonthly Lobbyist reports with the Commission on Public Integrity, regardless of whether any state or local lobbying activity had taken place for those periods.

The College would also be required to file two Client Semi-Annual Reports each year. Due to the severity of the penalties that would be imposed if the College is found to be in non-compliance with the Lobbying Act, the College once registered, must be scrupulous in filing all required reports.

Calculation of Reportable Expenses

Both the bi-monthly and client semi-annual reports require that expenses incurred in lobbying activities be detailed. Faculty and staff compensation shall be calculated by dividing each individual’s yearly salary by 1,990 hours and multiplying that number by the number of hours spent lobbying. Expenses for costs related to lobbying must also be reported, such as invitations, refreshments, and material handouts for receptions. Time and expenses traveling to and from lobbying activities must also be reported unless some other activity takes place in addition to the lobbying activities on those trips.

RESPONSIBILITY:

It is the responsibility of all members of the Utica College community who lobby on the College’s behalf to request permission to engage in, and provide documentation of, all lobbying activities, and to refrain from giving gifts that do not meet the New York State Commission on Public Integrity’s guidelines for permissible items, and to confer with the vice president for institutional advancement if there is any question as to whether an interaction with a state or municipal elected or appointed official constitutes lobbying and/or gift-giving. It is the responsibility of the vice president for institutional advancement to review requests and either give or deny permission to speak to public officials, and to inform the reporting agent of all such activities. It is the responsibility of the reporting agent to file reports as required by state law.

ENFORCEMENT:

Enforcement of Utica College policies is the responsibility of the office listed in the Resources/Questions section of each policy. The responsible office will contact the appropriate authority regarding faculty or staff members, students, vendors, or visitors who violate policies.

Utica College acknowledges that College policies may not anticipate every possible issue that may arise. The College therefore reserves the right to make reasonable and relevant decisions regarding the enforcement of this policy. All such decisions must be approved by an officer of the College (i.e. president, vice president for academic affairs, or vice president for financial affairs).

RESOURCES/QUESTIONS:

Related Utica College policies include the Political Activity policy.

Please note that other Utica College policies may apply or be related to this policy. To search for related policies, use the Keyword Search function of the online policy manual.

For any questions or additional information, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Institutional Advancement. Copies of the New York State Lobbying Act that includes the actual legislation and guidelines for its use and application, as well as detailed protocol for interactions with any municipal or state official, can be accessed through this URL http://www.nyintegrity.org/law/lobbying.html.

A copy is additionally on file at the Offices of the President, the Vice President for Institutional Advancement, and the General Counsel.  
 

Exceptions to the No-Gift Rule

  1. Complimentary attendance (including food or drink, provided that food is not part of a meal, and that such food and drink is provided to all attendees) at bona fide charitable events, where the College is the sponsor of the event, or at “widely attended events,” where attendance by the public official is part of his or her official duties, or where the public official performs a ceremonial functions, such as participation in a panel or as the speaker, etc.;
     
  2. Meals or refreshments when participating in an educational program;
     
  3. Awards, plaques or other ceremonial items, provided these are presented publicly;
     
  4. Honorary degrees;
     
  5. Promotional items such as mugs, pens, tee shirts, calendars or hats that bear the name or logo of the College that have no substantial resale value; and
     
  6. Travel reimbursement, including transportation, meals and accommodations at informational events held by college or universities on campus in certain instances and with certain restrictions.

For further information, refer to Section 1-c (J) of the New York State Lobbying Act

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Effective Date:
04/29/2008
Promulgation Date:
05/02/2008