January 02, 2024

The Public Disclosure Commission unanimously voted Dec. 7 to adopt new rules on grassroots lobbying activities.

The term grassroots lobbying can sometimes lead to confusion. Unlike traditional lobbying, in which an individual or a group attempts to influence legislators directly on issues, grassroots lobbying is indirect, focusing instead on encouraging members of the public to support or oppose an issue, indirectly influencing action in the Legislature or state agency. The term “grassroots” refers to the type of lobbying, not the kind of group undertaking the effort.

The approved rules include definitions of grassroots lobbying activities, information on how sponsors should report their activities, and more. The new rules, which go into effect January 8, amend WAC 390-20-125.

PDC staff presented the commission with draft rules, as directed with the passage of House Bill 1317 in 2023. The bill implemented some new requirements in the statute, such as a grassroots lobbying campaign’s duty to register within 24 hours of its formation during legislative session. The bill directed the agency to create additional rules and add clarifications in rules in the Washington Administrative Code.   

The new rules are intended to allow the public to more easily see how organizations work together to promote policies and legislation.  

The Commission also approved new inflationary adjustments to lobbying reporting thresholds in December.