RIGA - Saeima today supported in the final reading a bill on interest representation transparency or the so-called lobbying bill.
The bill on transparency in lobbying will establish a framework for decision-making in the public interest and communication between decision-makers and interest representatives, as well as ensure transparency in the decision-making process of public authorities. Latvia has been repeatedly criticized by international institutions for the lack of such regulation.
The bill will determine interest representatives' obligation to register for the purpose of interest representation and declare their activities, as well as duties and restrictions that will have to be observed in the process of interest representation.
The bill provides liability for providing false information and violations of law. It also determines the basic principles of the interest representation process and achieving the objectives of the law.
The bill also stipulates establishment of a register of interest representatives who intend to contact public authorities to influence public decisions.
Pursuant to the bill, interest representation means any direct or indirect communication of a private individual with a public authority representative in order to influence the initiation, adoption or application of a public decision.
On the other hand, communication aimed at obtaining or exchanging information, meetings of public authority representatives and communication with representatives of political parties as part of public discourse will not be considered interest representation.
Deputies' meetings and communications with the electorate, activities of sworn attorneys in the provision of legal assistance, performance of the duties of diplomatic and consular missions and activities of professional advisers will not be considered interest representation insofar as their purpose is not to influence the public authorities' decision-making and actions.
Communication or representation of any person concerning administrative proceedings, legal proceedings or mediation proceedings will also not be considered interest representation, as well as communication with public authorities or their representatives for the purpose of providing and receiving information, including requests for information from the press and other media.