An ordinance proposed by Supervisor Cindy Chavez that would toughen up Santa Clara County's lobbyist regulations won unanimous approval on Tuesday from the rest of the Board of Supervisors, who directed staff to bring back a draft law next year.

Chavez brought up the idea for an online lobbyist registration system in August, at her first supervisors meeting since being elected in July to replace disgraced former Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr.

While the county has an existing lobbying ordinance, it is not as stringent as many of the other versions in at least 26 cities and counties throughout the state, and California itself.

Santa Clara County currently requires lobbyists to identify themselves when speaking to the board or staff in regards to county matters, and applicants for permits, contracts or other county business must disclose "names of individuals or firms paid $100 or more to present the petition."

Cities with lobbying ordinances include San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, Milpitas and Los Angeles.

The laws vary between municipalities, with differing definitions of what constitutes a lobbyist, a public official, and lobbying activity.

According to a staff report, models used by San Jose, San Francisco, Santa Rosa and the state will be considered in drafting a new ordinance. The models vary, with California's being the most complex and Santa Rosa the most streamlined, the others falling in between.

Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at