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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

 March 2011

SGAC Professional Development

I am a proponent of professional development. Sitting in front of a computer all day long can help in the knowledge department, but getting out and meeting folks is the best way to show initiative and sharpen your skills.

One of the best is the Annual Meeting from the State Government Affairs Council. This year, the program will be held March 30th to April 1st (no foolin’) in Austin, Texas. Sessions include:

  • Secret Language of Success: The Importance of Nonverbal Communication;

  • Effective Advocacy Tools;

  • Challenging the Myth of Work-Life Balance: How to have the Time of your Life and Get Work Done Too;

  • Social Media in Action;

  • Associations and Members: Working as Partners;

  • Achieving Success with Coalition Advocacy;

  • Navigating the New Legislature with Texas Senator Leticia Van de Putte; and

  • Election Law and Government Ethics with former FEC Commissioner Michael Toner.

You can obtain information about the program, SGAC, and its new lobbying certificate program at www.sgac.org.

Until next month, think of the ways you can sharpen the saw. (Yes, I have been to one too many Franklin Covey programs!)

Thank you.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.stateandfed.com


 Legislation We Are Tracking

At any given time, more than 1,000 legislative bills, which can affect how you do business as a government affairs professional, are being discussed in federal, state, and local jurisdictions. These bills are summarized in the State and Federal Communications’ digital encyclopedias for lobbying laws, political contributions, and procurement lobbying, and can be found in the client portion of the State and Federal Communications' website.

Summaries of major bills are also included in monthly e-mail updates sent to all clients. The chart below shows the number of bills we are tracking in regards to lobbying laws, political contributions, and procurement lobbying.

  Total bills Number of Jurisdictions Passed Died Carried over
to 2012
Lobbying Laws 57 24 0 12 0
Political Contributions 124 25 0 43 0
Procurement Lobbying 52 13 0 14 0

 


Texas Introduces Pay-to-Play Bill

by Zachary H. Hoying, Esq.
Research Associate

The absence of pay-to-play statutes in the Texas Election Code may be a thing of the past if one Texas legislator is able to rally support for a bill introduced for consideration during the 2011 legislative session. State Senator Wendy Davis has introduced Senate Bill 110, portions of which relate to political contributions by state contractors and committees established or administered by state contractors.

According to the bill, the Texas Election Code would be amended by adding section 253.064. This section would apply to any individual who, as an individual, partner, or owner of a privately held business, or as a board member or executive officer of a business, submits a competitive bid or proposal for a contract with a state agency. Such individual would not be permitted to make a political contribution to a candidate for statewide office, a statewide officeholder, or a specific-purpose committee for supporting or opposing a candidate for statewide office or assisting a statewide officeholder, during the period beginning with the date the bid or proposal is submitted and ending when the contract is awarded to another person, or the 30th day after the bidder is awarded the contract.

Further, the bill would add section 253.105 to the Texas Election Code. Affected by this section would be a corporation submitting a competitive bid or proposal for a contract with a state agency. Under this section, a general-purpose committee established or administered by a corporation would be prohibited from making a political contribution to the same persons and committees as proposed in section 253.064. Similarly, the periods in which the prohibitions would be in effect would be the same.

If passed in current form, the provisions of the bill would take effect September 1, 2011.


Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations

by John Cozine, Esq.
Research Manager
 

WEST VIRGINIA: The state supreme court declared a special gubernatorial election must be held this year. Under West Virginia law, if a Governor vacates the office, the President of the Senate becomes "acting Governor" but may only do so for one year or less. Last year, after the passing of Senator Byrd, then-Governor Manchin won a special election for the vacant Senate seat. Current "acting Governor" Earl Ray Tomblin and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant have each indicated they will be candidates in the October 4, 2011 election.

QUEBEC: The first of numerous recent changes to Quebec's campaign finance law went into effect with the turn of the calendar into 2011. Touted as the first major reform in financing Quebec's political parties since 1977, Assembly Bill 113 effectively lowered the contribution limit a voter may contribute to a party or candidate from $3,000 to $1,000 effective on January 1, 2011. Additional changes are set to take effect on May 1, 2011. Included in these changes is a requirement for all contributions to first pass through the province's Chief Electoral Officer, who will then distribute the contribution as directed. Further, in an effort to prevent companies from making contributions in the names of employees, all persons making a contribution will now be required to declare the contribution is made out of the person's own property voluntarily. Finally, additional penalties have been created, including a prohibition for three years on the ability of any natural or legal person convicted of a campaign finance offense to acquire a public contract.

INDIANA: Sarah Nagy, Executive Director and General Counsel for the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission, was placed on paid administrative leave. She received notice of the leave by e-mail the day before the state’s legislative lobbying registration renewals became due. Ms. Nagy, who has held both jobs for 14 years, said she did not understand why she was put on leave.

MARYLAND: An Advisory Committee on Campaign Finance created by Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler issued a report recommending changes to the state’s campaign finance laws. Among the 25 recommendations are treating LLC clusters and all other legal entities with common ownership or control as single entities for contribution limit purposes, requiring disclosure from any non-political party group making independent expenditures for the election or defeat of a candidate, and requiring loan-related violations of campaign contribution limits to be assessed against candidates as well as lenders. The committee suggested further study for issues regarding how campaign finance laws apply to “new media,” including requiring the reporting of sub-vendor information to prevent covert campaigning by candidates and their committees through anonymous sources.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: City Council has approved a ballot measure proposed by the Los Angeles Ethics Commission creating a ban on pay-to-play contributions. If passed on March 8th, the Charter amendment will prohibit companies bidding on city contracts from giving campaign donations to city candidates. Companies found in violation of the ban would be barred from doing business with the city for one to four years.


ASK THE EXPERTS

State and Federal Communications’ Experts Answer Your Questions

Here is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc. You can directly submit questions for this feature, and we will select those most appropriate and answer them here. Send your questions to: marketing@stateandfed.com. (Of course, we have always been available to answer questions from clients that are specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call or e-mail us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies to your questions are not legal advice. Instead, these replies represent our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.

 

Question

Now that Illinois has semi-monthly reporting, are there any changes to the contents of the report?

 

Answer 

As of January 1, 2011, Illinois requires disclosure reports to be submitted on the 5th and 20th of each month.  This new schedule began on January 20, 2011.  The Secretary of State’s Office issued a 2011 Expenditure Report Filing Guide concerning how to disclose reportable activity on the Activity Detail Report.  This guide contains some changes for client or lobbying entity reporting.

Individual expenditures made on behalf of covered officials must be itemized with expanded information.  Lobbying entity reports must itemize for each individual expenditure or transaction:

  • The name of the official for whose benefit each expenditure was made;

  • The name of the client on whose behalf the expenditure was made;

  • Whether the expenditure was made on behalf of a client;

  • The total amount of the expenditure;

  • A description of the expenditure;

  • The vendor or purveyor to whom the expenditure was made;

  • The address and location of the expenditure if the expenditure was for an intangible item such as lodging;

  • The date on which the expenditure occurred; and

  • The subject matter of the lobbying activity, if any.

As in previous years, the expenditure reports must also include reporting of lobbying activity that is unrelated to an itemized expenditure.  This requirement is satisfied by identifying:

  • Names of any lobbyists who conducted lobbying activities;

  • The name of the state agencies lobbied;

  • Whether the lobbying action was executive, legislative, or administrative; and the subject matter or description of the lobbying activity.

Please note a lobbying entity or client does not report activity undertaken on its behalf by a contractual lobbying firm.  The contractual lobbying firm has the responsibility of disclosing activities for each of its clients.

When completing the description of lobbying action, the subject matter must identify a substantive issue or a legislative proposal.  Descriptions which are too general, such as “lobbied on behalf of client’s interests,” are not acceptable.  If lobbying is not associated with an expenditure, the subject matter cannot be described as “goodwill.”  The space available for describing lobbying activity is limited to 1,500 characters.  Therefore, brief descriptions may be necessary and logical abbreviations are permissible when needed.

The following is an example of how lobbying unrelated to an expenditure should be reported.  ABC Company has two exclusive lobbyists, Jane Smith and John Doe.  During the covered period, Ms. Smith lobbied Senator Jones concerning Senate Bill 100.  The authorized agent for ABC Company will go through the following steps on the Illinois Lobbyist Registration and Reporting System:

  1. Select Jane Smith as the lobbyist who acted on ABC Company’s behalf.
    John Doe should not be selected.;

  2. General Assembly Members should be checked as the state agency lobbied;

  3. Select Legislative Action as the type of lobbying conducted; and

  4. Enter SB100 as the subject matter or description.

While there are not numerous changes to the content of the report, understanding the nuances is important in order to comply with the state’s new reporting guidelines.  Finally, do not forget individual lobbyists are required to complete the mandated Lobbyist Ethics Training within 30 days of their registration date.  Authorized agents and lobbyists will be notified about this requirement via email.


Wealth of Information at www.lobbycomply.com

Want to interact with your fellow government affairs and procurement colleagues? Then jump into the State and Federal Communications, Inc. blog at www.lobbycomply.com.

Once there, you can join the exchange of ideas and view solutions to common challenges and problems. Also, State and Federal Communications continually adds content to the blog, including ‘hot topics,’ which are summaries of important news items you need to know about.

Join the conversation, and make use of this valuable information resource.

 


State and Federal Scrapbook


U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown [Ohio] spoke at the January Akron Roundtable Luncheon with Elizabeth Z. Bartz and staff.
State and Federal Communications had the honor of sponsoring the event.

 

Elizabeth Z. Bartz with U.S. Representative Betty Sutton [Ohio-13]
enjoying the Akron fellowship at the Roundtable Luncheon.

Congressman Tim Ryan [Ohio-17] joined Elizabeth Z. Bartz at Akron Roundtable welcoming Senator Brown.

 

Dr. Jack Gargan [Elizabeth's Professor of
Political Science at Kent State University.]

Dr. John Greene [University of Akron Bliss Institute], Joel Bailey [First Energy],
Tony Alexander [First Energy], and Elizabeth Z. Bartz.


See Us in Person

Plan to say hello at future events where State and Federal Communications will be attending and/or speaking regarding compliance issues.

March 2, 2011

Ohio Birthday Celebration, Washington, D.C.

March 30-April 1, 2011

SGAC Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas

April 3-5, 2011

NASPO, Boston, Massachusetts

April 14-16, 2011 NCSL Spring Forum, Washington, D.C.

April 20, 2011

DiversityBusiness.com Award, Washington, D.C.

May 5-7, 2011

NCSL Spring Executive Committee Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts

May 23-25, 2011

US Chamber Small Business Summit, Washington, D.C.


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The Mission of State and Federal Communications is
to make sure that your organization can say, "I Comply."

We are the leading authority and exclusive information source
on legislation and regulations surrounding campaign finance
and political contributions; state, federal, and municipal lobbying; and procurement lobbying.

 

Contact us to learn how conveniently our services will allow you to say "I Comply" for your compliance activities.

http://www.stateandfed.com/