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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Johnny Méndez asks for approval of Lobbyist Registry in House

Minority leader for the NPP delegation in the House of Representatives, Carlos ‘Johnny’ Méndez.

By The Star Staff

The minority leader for the New Progressive Party delegation in the House of Representatives, Carlos ‘Johnny’ Méndez, asked the Senate to approve House Bill 31, which he authored, and which creates the Registry of Lobbyists of the Government of Puerto Rico.

The measure was unanimously endorsed in the Lower House on May 11, 2021 and since May 13, two days later, it has been in the Senate Government Committee.

“For several years I have been fighting for the establishment of a detailed Registry of Lobbyists of the Government of Puerto Rico to become law, one that includes the two branches (Executive and Legislative) and where these professionals operate with the objective of providing a greater degree of transparency and confidence of the people in public service. At this moment Bill 31 is in the Senate, I call on its President, Jose Luis Dalmau, to act on this measure as soon as possible. The Registry of Lobbyists can be a reality if it is approved in this session,” commented the NPP leader in the Lower House.

The registry obliges the lobbyist to submit detailed reports on each of his actions, including which legislator or head of agency he visited, as well as to reflect in that report the results of the same.

“Our bill would require every lobbyist, so registered with the Secretariats of the appropriate Legislative Bodies, as well as with the State Department for Executive Branch lobbyists, to submit a notarized quarterly report describing their activities, who hires them, who they meet with, and the results. To ensure that the process is clean and transparent, no government contractor, whether in the Executive or Legislative, will be able to exercise the functions of lobbyist. This project is vital,” said the former Speaker of the House

The profession of the lobbyist has its genesis in the essays known as ‘The Federalist Papers’ that were published in 1788 by the Fathers of the Constitution of the United States.

In that historic writing, men of the stature of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison stated that lobbyists are essential in real democracies and that if it is necessary to restrict them, these restrictions must be achieved through full competition between different groups and through the application of rules so that their presence in governmental spheres is orderly.

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