ADVISORY OPINION PROCEDURE of the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission
(AMENDED AND ADOPTED at public meeting of August 28, 2009)
The Commission has adopted this Advisory Opinion Procedure in an effort to better serve those who are governed by the lobby disclosure statute. The Commission will accept written comments about this procedure for 30 days following its publication in the Indiana Register. Such comments may be sent to Indiana Lobby Registration Commission, 10 W. Market St., Suite 1760, Indianapolis, IN 46204. (317) 232-9860.
One of the functions of the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission (Commission) is to assist the public by rendering Advisory Opinions with respect to the interpretations and applicability of Indiana Code Section 2-7. In furtherance of this role, and pursuant to Indiana Code 2-7-1.6- 5(a)(6), the Commission has adopted the following guidelines with regard to the issuance of Advisory Opinions.
Each Advisory Opinion represents a formal policy determination of the Commission and may be relied upon in making filing and reporting decisions. Oral advice provided by staff of the Commission is intended to help citizens to analyze their particular circumstances and to make decisions on their own about compliance with the lobby registration law. There should be no specific reliance on oral advice of this kind.
§1. (a) The Commission will render advisory opinions with respect to the interpretation and applicability of Indiana Code 2-7 and, in appropriate circumstances, other statutes or rules governing the registration and reporting of lobbyists. There is no right to an Advisory Opinion and the Commission will render Advisory Opinions as a matter of discretion.
(b) An Advisory Opinion may be requested by any lobbyist, legislator, the Executive Director & Counsel of the ILRC, any other interested party, or may be issued by the Commission of its own initiative.
( c) Requests for Advisory Opinions shall be in writing, signed by the person making the request, and shall be titled, “Request for Advisory Opinion.”
(d) A request for an Advisory Opinion shall state all material facts necessary for the Commission to understand the circumstances and make a complete analysis. Typically, the request for an Advisory Opinion must be based on actual facts and circumstances confronting the person making the request. Persons also may ask the Commission to issue Advisory Opinions with respect to hypothetical cases. It is less likely that the Commission will exercise its discretion to issue an Advisory Opinion in response to hypothetical cases. Only if the matter seems to be of general interest will the Commission exercise discretion to issue an Advisory Opinion.
(e) In requesting an Advisory Opinion, it is not necessary that an agent disclose the name of its principal which may be a matter of attorney-client privilege. The agent making the request should be prepared to certify that there is an undisclosed principal.
(f) Upon receipt of a Request for Advisory Opinion, the Executive Director shall send an information copy to each Commissioner for review in preparation for the next meeting of the Commission.
(g) At that next meeting, the Commission will determine whether it will exercise its discretionary powers to issue an Advisory Opinion on the matter set forth in the request.
(h) Requests for Advisory Opinions must be received at the Commission office at least 10 days prior to the meeting of the Commission at which it is expected to be considered. The decision to include a request for an Advisory Opinion on the agenda is a matter of discretion with the Commission. Generally, that decision of the Commission will be made by the Chair, but the Chair will ordinarily honor the request of any member of the Commission to place a matter on the agenda.
(I) If a request for an Advisory Opinion is placed on the agenda for a Commission meeting, the Executive Director will give notice of the agenda, as well as the time and place of the meeting, to the person who requested the Advisory Opinion. It is the responsibility of the person who requested the Advisory Opinion to appear at the scheduled Commission meeting to address the request. A failure on the part of the person requesting an Advisory Opinion to attend the meeting of the Commission will militate against the issuance of an Advisory Opinion.
(j) The Commission may decide on an Advisory Opinion in the public meeting in which the request for an Advisory Opinion is presented or may take the matter under advisement. When a matter is taken under advisement, it must come back to a public meeting of the Commission for further discussion and resolution.
(k) Following a decision by the Commission to issue and Advisory Opinion, the Executive Director shall prepare the written expression of the Advisory Opinion and send a copy to each Commissioner for comment. If, during the period of comment by Commissioners, it appears that there is a material disagreement over the manner in which the Advisory Opinion is to be presented, the Executive Director will ask the Chair to place the request for an Advisory Opinion on the agenda for the next scheduled meeting of the Commissioners. If there is no material disagreement over the draft of the Advisory Opinion, the Executive Director will forward the opinion for publication in the Indiana Register in the form of a proposed Advisory Opinion.
(l) The Commission will accept written comment on any proposed Advisory Opinion for 30 days after the date of its publication in the Indiana Register. At its next following meeting, the Commission will consider any commentary that has been made during the 30-day period and will vote whether to ratify the Advisory Opinion as written or whether to amend it. If the Advisory Opinion is amended in that meeting of the Commission, it will be published in the Indiana Register under the procedure outlined above and held available for an additional comment period of 30 days.
(m) When the Commission ratifies a proposed Advisory Opinion, the final Advisory Opinion will be published in the Indiana Register. The vote of each Commissioner will be recorded by way of a signature on the Final Advisory Opinion. The Executive Director shall also sign Final Advisory Opinions prior to submission to the Indiana Register.
(n) The Commission will permit any person to submit memoranda, briefs, or other relevant written material or to provide oral testimony on any subject that is to be incorporated in an Advisory Opinion.
(o) Any Final Advisory Opinion, until amended or revoked, may be relied upon by all persons.
(p) Within fifteen (15) days of ratification of an Advisory Opinion, the Executive Director shall send a written copy of the Opinion to the party who requested it.
Request for Reconsideration from Final Advisory Opinion
§ 2 (a) The person who made the inquiry and any person directly affected by the Commission’s Advisory Opinion may request reconsideration or clarification from the Commission of the Advisory Opinion.
(b) Any such request for reconsideration shall be made, in writing, to the Commission within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the Advisory Opinion sent pursuant to §1(p) of this statement.
§3 (a) The Commission staff will periodically publish the accumulated Advisory Opinions in an appropriate format.
(b) A summary of the Commission’s Advisory Opinions will be included and published in the annual report.