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.
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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.
Texas Introduces Pay-to-Play Bill
Zachary H. Hoying,
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
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.
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