Colorado lobbyists bill turns into constitutional debate

Colorado Politics: A bill to require lobbyists to disclose more information about their clients sooner prompted a debate about free speech on the Senate floor Friday.

Lobbyists currently self-report their information to the Secretary of State’s Office, with little oversight on what’s reported, which includes their clients’ position on the bills the lobbyist is paid to follow and influence.

Lobbying firms sometimes hire contract lobbyists, who then list the original lobbying firm as their client, which the bill seeks to change so it’s more transparent who’s wielding influence on the legislation.

“It’s good information that’s being [disclosed], but now there’s too much of a lag during the session,” said Sen. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, one of the sponsors of House Bill 1248.

The bill got preliminary approval in the Democratic-led chamber Friday, but not before Republicans questioned whether the bill aimed to stifle people’s interest and ability to come to the Capitol to talk to their elected officials.

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