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Oregon Bill Would Require Lobbyists To Publicly State Positions On Measures

<p>The Oregon State Capitol in Salem on March 18, 2017.</p>

Bradley W. Parks

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The Oregon State Capitol in Salem on March 18, 2017.

Lobbyists in Oregon would have to publicly disclose their positions on bills they're trying to influence under a measure approved by the state House Thursday.

Corvallis Democratic Rep. Dan Rayfield is the chief sponsor of the measure.

"I believe the public deserves to know about what is influencing the development of policy within this building," he said during a brief floor debate.

The lobbyist disclosures would be available online for the public to sort through.

Opponents said the information could be confusing, since lobbyists often change positions after a bill is amended.

"The reporting requirements in this bill will flood the public with lists of positions from the lobby, and those positions of the lobby are subject to changing frequently," said Rep. Bill Kennemer, R-Oregon City.

The head of the Capitol Club, an organization which represents lobbyist interests in Salem, testified against the measure when it was before the House Rules Committee.

The measure passed 52-3 and now heads to the Oregon Senate.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.