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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

November 2012


And, you thought 2012 was busy. Wait until 2013!

 

Sing with me. The 2012 election is almost over…and our work is D O N E!

Kyrie Eleison

Down the Road that I must travel

Kyrie Eleison

Through the darkness of the night

Kyrie Eleison

Where I’m going will you follow

Kyrie Eleison

On a highway in the night.

Wait a minute. Do you know what follows a presidential election? That’s right, all 50 states have a 2013 legislation planned session. Every one of them—Yes, Nevada, Kentucky, and Texas, too.   

Are you ready for it?

This is just a reminder our website at www.stateandfed.com has all of the legislative sessions included and we update it every month because there are changes, extensions, and our favorite sine die days. Very soon you will easily see the legislative sessions for every individual state on its Home Page, which will make it easier for you to know whether a lobbying report is due and whether you can make a political contribution during the time the legislature is session.

Once again, our goal for 2013 is to make our website 100% accurate and 100% easier for our clients to use. And, you know if you have a suggestion, all you have to do is call me at 330-761-9960 and I would love to listen to it.

My name is Elizabeth Bartz…And, I approve this message.

Back to singing with Mr. Mister!

When I was young I thought of growing old

Of what my life would mean to me

Would I have followed down my chosen road

Or only wished what I could be.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO

 

Los Angeles Enacts Campaign Finance Reform

by Michael Beckett, Esq.
Research
Associate

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed companion ordinances approved by city council regarding campaign finance reform for candidates and political committees. Ordinance No. 182264 amends Article 9.7 of the Municipal Code and Ordinance No. 182265 amends Chapter 2 of Division 24 of the Administrative Code. The changes include raising contribution limits to candidate campaigns from $500 to $700 in council races and from $1,000 to $1,300 in citywide races.  Beginning next year, candidates will also be eligible for increased matching funds, including four public dollars for every dollar contributed during the general election and two dollars for every dollar contributed during the primary. Donors will also be able to give to campaigns via text message. Beginning in 2015, public matching funds will be given only for donations raised within city limits. To be eligible for the city money, candidates will have to collect contributions from at least 200 people living in the district they hope to represent.

These changes result from a year-long review by the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission in response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, 131 S. Ct. 2806 (2011). Arizona’s matching fund scheme provided additional funds for publicly funded candidates when expenditures by privately financed candidates and independent groups exceeded the funding initially allotted to the publicly financed candidate. The Court held the scheme substantially burdened political speech and was not sufficiently justified by a compelling interest to survive First Amendment scrutiny. The new city ordinance increases the rate at which eligible candidates receive matching funds and repeals the likely unconstitutional trigger provisions in the matching funds program. Other changes include clarifications for independent expenditure communications, improved disclaimers for political communications, and increased disclosures by city committees.   

The new ordinance became effective on October 29, 2012, and, except for the 2015 provisions, will govern the upcoming 2013 municipal elections. The ethics commission has offered educational materials and additional information available at ethics.lacity.org in order to help participants in city elections understand and comply with the new laws.


Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations

by John Cozine, Esq.
Research Manager
 

FEDERAL: On September 18, 2012, in Center for Individual Freedom v. Van Hollen, a U.S. appellate court reversed Van Hollen v. FEC, vacated the district court’s prior judgment, and remanded the case to the district court. Presently, under the jurisdiction of the district court, the FEC must pursue rulemaking to address the issues brought by the lawsuit or defend 11 C.F.R. §104.20(c)(9) in court against the parties bringing the action. The FEC has not publicly declared its next course of action.

MONTANA: The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a district court decision that had ruled Montana’s contribution limits unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The appellate court found the state was likely to succeed on appeal. James Murry, the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, stated the contribution limits are in effect and will be enforced.

WEST VIRGINIA: The West Virginia Supreme Court has struck down the state's public campaign financing pilot program. The program, similar to other programs invalidated in Arizona and Nebraska, provided additional public financing to candidates whose privately-financed opponents made expenditures beyond a certain amount. The court held that West Virginia's program violated privately-financed candidates' free speech rights by essentially preventing them from making expenditures in order to avoid their opponents' receipt of additional funds.

CALIFORNIA: Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1001, which doubles the registration fee paid by approximately 2,000 lobbyists in California. The bill also charges a new $50 annual fee to political campaign committees. The estimated $600,000 in increased revenue will help maintain the state's Cal-Access website, which tracks lobbying activity and campaign finance reports. The law takes effect January 1, 2013.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: The board of county commissioners passed an amendment to the county's lobbying ordinance on September 6, 2012. Expenditure reports are no longer required if a lobbyist had no expenditures during the reporting period. The ordinance previously required expenditure reports to be filed even if no lobbying expenditures were made. The ordinance became effective on September 16, 2012.

 


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 2013
Lobbying Laws 247 43 18 138 0
Political Contributions 447 46 41 208 0
Procurement Lobbying 275 42 34 145 1

 


W  E  B  S  I  T  E     T  I  P

Looking for a way to get information about all 50 states without going to each state separately?

We have created Resource Pages for our Lobbying Laws, Political Contributions, and Procurement Lobbying publications that allow you to access charts that bring together answers to commonly-asked questions. These charts draw from the same database as the rest of our subscriber website, so they are continually updated. Topics include legislative session information, contingency lobbying, lobbyist registration fees, the permissibility of direct corporate contributions, and the lobbyist registration requirements for those engaging in procurement activities. The Resource Pages can be accessed from the "landing" page you are sent to upon logging into our website.

 


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.

Q.

I am a registered lobbyist who was asked to make an in-kind contribution on behalf of my company for an event to be held by a state political party. Is this permissible?

A.

As a registered lobbyist, your contributions may be governed by two sets of laws: campaign finance and lobbying.

First, you must determine whether the state would consider the in-kind payment to be a contribution or a lobbying expenditure.

If the in-kind payment is determined by the state’s governing body to be a contribution, then this contribution must be compliant with the campaign finance laws. You must first determine if the amount and source of funding are permissible. Assuming permissibility of the contribution, potential restrictions on contributions facilitated by lobbyists and the reportability of contributions facilitated by lobbyists will need to be reviewed. In some states, once the in-kind contribution is made, the lobbyist and the lobbyist’s principal may not have additional involvement with the planning of the event, but will be permitted to attend.

Where the state considers the in-kind payment to be a lobbying expenditure and not a political contribution, you must ensure that the expenditure will not exceed the state’s gift limit. The pro-rata share of the expenditure attributable to all public officials who attend the event may be reportable on a disclosure report.

While this analysis will vary from state to state, it is important to be cautious when making in-kind payments.

November's Expert - Sarah Kovit, Esq.


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.

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

 



State and Federal Scrapbook

 
Elizabeth Bartz was honored as the 2012 recipient of the most prestigious William D. Taylor Award; Kent State University's highest distinction presented to a Journalism School alum for his/her preeminent contribution to their profession & life's work.  Congratulations!

Elizabeth Z. Bartz with the 2011 William D. Taylor Award
winner, Stephanie Smith.  Both started college at
Kent State University Trumbull Campus.

 

Members of the Professional Advisory Board for the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

[l to r:  Tom Duke, Elizabeth Z. Bartz, David Meeker, and Bill Miller]

 


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.

                     Events
 

  November 17-20, 2012

SGAC Leaders' Policy Conference
Santa Monica, California


  November 28-30, 2012

ALEC States and Nation Policy Summit
Washington, D.C.


  December 2-5, 2012

COGEL Annual Conference 2012
Columbus, Ohio


  December 3, 2012

WGR PPG Conference
TBD

 


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State and Federal Communications, Inc. | Courtyard Square | 80 South Summit St., Suite 100 | Akron, OH 44308 | 330-761-9960 | 330-761-9965-fax | 1-888-4-LAW-NOW| http://www.stateandfed.com/


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/

 

www.stateandfed.com