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Bill would require public listing of lobbyists, companies doing business with Baltimore government

A bill advancing to the full City Council would require greater transparency about who is trying to influence legislation and contracts that are before Baltimore's government.

Legislation sponsored by City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young would require the city's finance department to post on its website a searchable list of all entities that have done business with city government in the past calendar year.

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The legislation also requires the city's ethics board to post on its website a searchable list of all registered lobbyists.

"These are things I feel the public should have access to," Young said. "People can see the big picture of what's going on."

Such lists already exist within city government, but residents must request them.

"This will make it in one place where people can access it," Young said.

The bill gained the unanimous approval of the council's Judiciary and Legislative Investigations committee this week. It will go to the full City Council for a vote next month.

Young said it has widespread support on the council.

A spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake did not respond to a request for comment. The city finance department testified in favor of the legislation.

If the bill is passed, a new mayor will be in office shortly after it takes effect.

Democrat Catherine E. Pugh, Republican Alan Walden and Green Party nominee Joshua Harris are running to replace Rawlings-Blake, who did not seek re-election. Former Mayor Sheila Dixon, a Democrat, is among those waging a write-in campaign. Early voting began Thursday. The new mayor will take office in December.

The legislation also requires the city to alert the ethics board of all new hires who are required to receive ethics training. The city would have to supply the board with the facilities to conduct such training.

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