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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

June 2012


A Top Women-Owned Business in Ohio

Great news from DiversityBusiness.comState and Federal Communications has been named one of the top women-owned businesses in Ohio. This is the fourth time we have received the award and this year, we ranked 49th in the state. We were selected for our overall leadership and economic achievements.

This is a testament to the hard work of our 30 employees and their willingness to adapt to change and meet the challenges of a competitive marketplace.  I am very happy we are recognized once again by DiversityBusiness.com.

DiversityBusiness.com honors those independently owned companies founded or currently led by women, minorities, or people with disabilities. “We have a great future ahead of us, especially as entrepreneurs continue to reinvent products and services that transform the way we live,” says Kenton Clarke, CEO of Computer Consulting Associates International, the company which founded DiversityBusiness.com. “Our nation’s business leaders are relentless. It isn’t a mere coincidence to see our competitive spirit still alive and endure under any circumstance.”

I know there have been economic challenges, but we continue to persevere. Our business continues to thrive and we have hired two people since the first of the year and promoted two others. We are always meeting people who, through no fault of their own, have lost jobs because of the current economic downturn. While we are based in northeast Ohio, our business is national and international, and we continue to seize new opportunities to serve our clients.

We are truly an All American Company in one of the All American Cities.

Enjoy your summer.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
 


Kentucky Amends Executive Lobbying Law to Include Placement Agents

by Jennifer Zona, Esq.
Research
Associate

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed House Bill 300 into law on April 11, 2012. The bill amended the definition of executive agency lobbyist to include placement agents and unregulated placement agents.  A placement agent is an individual or firm who is compensated or hired by an employer or other real party in interest for the purpose of influencing an executive agency decision regarding the investment of Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) or Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System assets. An unregulated placement agent is a placement agent who is prohibited by federal securities laws and regulations from receiving compensation for soliciting a government agency. This law became effective upon signing.

The law is the result of a state audit of KRS, which found that the relationships between placement agents and KRS lacked transparency.  One particular placement agent, Glen Sergeon, earned nearly $6 million in fees as a result of a then-undisclosed relationship with KRS’ Chief Investment Officer Adam Tosh.  Tosh resigned in 2010 after being questioned about Sergeon’s fees in an internal audit.  The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is conducting an inquiry after a KRS trustee filed a whistleblower complaint regarding the use of placement agents.  The SEC is taking an increased interest in the role of placement agents after their use led to pay-to-play scandals in other states.

Placement agents are now required to register as lobbyists with the Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission if they make direct contact twice in a calendar year for the purpose of influencing an executive agency decision involving state funds of at least $5,000.  Placement agents required to register as lobbyists are subject to the same disclosure and reporting requirements as other executive agency lobbyists.  Executive agency lobbyists must disclose any expenditures made to or on behalf of executive agency officials but are not required to report their compensation, meaning that any fees a placement agent receives as a result of doing business with KRS would remain undisclosed under the new law.


Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations

by John Cozine, Esq.
Research Manager
 

BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY: The Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders issued a memorandum clarifying its pay-to-play ordinance adopted last year. In the section of the ordinance concerning the prohibition on awarding contracts to certain contributors, the phrase “any candidate for elective office in the County of Bergen or holder of elective office in the County of Bergen” is used. The board’s memorandum states the phrase is limited to persons “who run for, or are elected to" county offices. The phrase does not include candidates for a municipal office held in the county, statewide candidates for the assembly or senate, or federal candidates whose districts include Bergen County.

VIRGINIA: A new electronic lobbyist registration system is now available. All lobbyists, including those already registered for 2012-2013, will need to create new account at https://solutions.virginia.gov/Lobbyist and complete a new lobbyist registration. New accounts must be activated through the confirmation e-mail sent from the state. Lobbyists will also receive a confirmation e-mail when their electronic registrations have been approved by the state.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK: The New York City Campaign Finance Board is adding a reporting requirement for independent spenders engaging in political advertising. The reporting requirement will be triggered once an independent spender makes covered expenditures aggregating $1,000 during an election cycle for communications referring to a candidate or ballot proposal. Once the requirement is triggered, all expenditures of $100 or more referring to a candidate or ballot proposal must be included in a disclosure statement. This rule will not affect any elections occurring prior to August 13, 2012.

WASHINGTON: Effective June 7, 2012, all political advertisements supporting or opposing ballot measures costing $1,000 or more and sponsored by a PAC must include the names and addresses of the PAC’s top five contributors. Another bill with the same effective date expands coverage of the campaign finance laws to include school board members.

WAYNE COUNTY, MICHIGAN: The Wayne County Ethics Ordinance will take effect on June 4, 2012. On that date, lobbyists will be required to register with the Wayne County Board of Ethics. Lobbyists will also be restricted to giving public servants no more than $100 in food and beverages annually. No other gifts will be permitted.


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 233 43 6 42 0
Political Contributions 409 45 17 85 0
Procurement Lobbying 256 42 16 68 1

 


W  E  B  S  I  T  E     T  I  P

Are you looking for a copy of the statute that was cited on the website?
Do you need a form to file with the state?
Are you looking for the city’s ethics guide?

Every jurisdiction in every publication on our website has a list of resources that is one mouse click away. On the left side of your screen, at the bottom of the list of links, you will see a link to “Statutes, Regulations, Forms…” Click on that link and you will find a list of all of the laws cited in that jurisdiction’s entry, relevant opinions issued by that jurisdiction or courts within that jurisdiction, guides and other helpful information distributed by that jurisdiction, and all of the forms you need to remain in compliance.


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 not currently registered as a lobbyist and I would like to send a letter to all state legislators in support of pending legislation. Do I need to register as a lobbyist?

A.

The act of sending a letter in support of or in opposition to legislation can be enough to trigger the lobbyist registration requirement in a state. Whether or not registration is required is dependent upon the lobbyist registration threshold in any given state.

Some states have thresholds based on the definition of lobbying whereby engaging in a lobbying activity will require lobbyist registration. For example, in a state where registration is required upon receipt of compensation to encourage the passage, defeat, approval, or modification of legislation by members of the legislature, lobbyist registration would be required prior to sending the letter. Iowa is an example of this type of state.  Other states have thresholds based on the amount of time spent lobbying or preparing to lobby. In Maine, an individual is permitted to spend eight hours lobbying before registration is required. In such a state, tracking your time while preparing the letter will be important in determining if registration is required.

Please consult the lobbyist registration threshold in your jurisdiction prior to sending any correspondence to a public official.


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
State and Federal Communications, Inc.'s Nola Werren celebrated her 15th anniversary with the company.  She received a U.S. flag [from the office of Congresswomen Betty Sutton] that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol and a new laptop computer.

No doubt to our readers that the best part of a company milestone is a cake from Leach's Meats and Sweets  [Barberton, Ohio].  We celebrated with a white cake with white buttercream filling and chocolate fudge frosting.  Delicious!

Campaigns & Elections has evolved over the years from the first job Elizabeth held in Washington, D.C.  This conference was filled with great information on technology and social media.  Attending from State and Federal Communications, Inc. were Joe May, Elizabeth Z. Bartz, and Ren Koozer. Staff from State and Federal Communications, Inc. enjoyed the Reds vs Cubs game at the Great American Ball Park. Attending were Elizabeth Z. Bartz, Michael Beckett, Myra Cottrill, Steve Quinn, Ren Koozer, and John Cozine.


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

 June 7-9, 2012

Heartland (COGEL) Conference
St. Louis, Missouri

 June 17 - 20, 2012 BIO Convention
Boston, Massachusetts
 July 12, 2012 Greater Akron Chamber Services Committee
Akron, Oho

 


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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/

 

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