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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

February 2013


Akron Roundtable – Bringing the World to Akron

One of the first events I attended when I moved to Akron in 1993 was Akron Roundtable. It was a bargain at $6 for a great lunch, great speaker, and we even had a silent prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. I lived in the DC area for 12 years and never started a program with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Now, 20 years later I serve on this great board. Akron Roundtable was started in 1976 as a community forum to encourage and bring bold, creative, and new ideas to the region. To date, more than 400 major corporate executives, writers, government officials, artists, and civic leaders from around the country have addressed the Akron Roundtable audience.

And, on April 18th, we will have David Adkins, Executive Director of the Council of State Governments, as our speaker. CSG is the country’s only organization serving all three branches of state government. It is a region-based forum, which fosters the exchange of insight and ideas to help state officials shape public policy. David is a former Kansas state senator and served as vice chancellor for External Affairs at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Many of us know David from our work with State Government Affairs Council and being a CSG Associate. This is the first time CSG has been represented at Akron Roundtable.

State and Federal Communications will hold a reception for David Adkins and the CSG family after the Akron Roundtable program. Its offices are across the street from the event. For more information about attending the program go to www.akronroundtable.org.

Until next month, make your reservations to be in Akron on April 18th. It will be a great day with David in town. And, if you have to spend the night—and who wouldn’t want to—John Lithgow is part of the University of Akron’s speaker series that evening at EJ Thomas Hall. If we can be of assistance in planning your day, please do not hesitate to contact me at ebartz@stateandfed.com.

Thank you.  

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO

 


North Carolina – New Lobbying Rules

by Shamus Williams, Esq.
Research
Associate

The North Carolina State Ethics Commission has adopted four new rules concerning lobbying that went into effect on January 1, 2013.

The first rule details when non-lobbyist employees must register as a lobbyist. In North Carolina, an employee must register as a lobbyist if a significant part of that employee’s job duties include lobbying. The new rules stipulate that this threshold is met if at least five percent of an employee’s duties include direct or goodwill lobbying during any rolling 30 day period. Once this threshold is met, the employee must register as a lobbyist within one business day.

The second rule explains what must be included when providing a description of a reportable expenditure for the lobbyist reports. The description must identify what was given, who the third party was that received the expenditure, and the name of the event or meeting where the expenditure was given.

The third rule describes how to determine the immediate family member who is connected with a reportable expenditure. On the reports, the name of the designated individual or immediate family member connected with the expenditure must be reported. The person that must be indentified is the person who either received or benefited from the expenditure, or who requested the expenditure be made on someone’s behalf.

The fourth and final rule effecting lobbying details what must be reported in connection with a lobbying event. The entire cost of a lobbying event must be reported, rather than just the costs of any gifts given. Examples of the non-gift expenditures that must be reported include supplies, facility rental, food, name badges, flowers and other decorations, planning services, and all other expenses and charges incurred in connection with the lobbying event.
 


Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations

by John Cozine, Esq.
Research Manager
 

BOYNTON BEACH, FLORIDA: The city passed a law rescinding its lobbying ordinance and adopting the Palm Beach County lobbying ordinance. The city no longer regulates lobbyists. Any person lobbying Boynton Beach officials or employees must now register with Palm Beach County.

ILLINOIS: The Illinois State Board of Elections increased contribution limits at the start of the new year. Under the updated limits, a candidate political committee may accept, over the course of an election cycle, no more than $5,300 from an individual, $10,500 from a corporation, labor organization, or association, and $52,600 from a political action committee. A political party committee and a political action committee may accept no more than $10,500 from an individual, $21,100 from a corporation, labor organization, or association, and $52,600 from a political action committee.

CALIFORNIA: The California Fair Political Practices Commission made upward adjustments to gift and contribution limits using a formula provided in the Political Reform Act. On January 1, 2013, the maximum value of a gift allowed to be accepted by an elected official increased to $440. The maximum contribution a legislative candidate can receive from an individual or corporation increased to $4,100, while candidates for governor may now accept $27,200. The commission also adopted new rules concerning the public tracking of who is paying to qualify ballot measures and how much is being spent independently of candidates.

AKRON, OHIO: The city council increased the city's campaign contribution limits for the council elections in 2013. The limit for mayoral and at-large candidates increased to $650 and the limits for ward council candidates increased to $400.

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OHIO: The county passed Ordinance O2012-0026, establishing a debarment law, a debarment review board, and debarment procedures. The ordinance prohibits debarred vendors from submitting bids, contracting with the county, or subcontracting on county contracts. Five-year, three-year, and 18-month debarment periods have been established, depending on the severity of the violation. The ordinance became effective immediately upon its passage in December.


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 252 43 19 233 0
Political Contributions 450 46 43 407 0
Procurement Lobbying 277 42 35 241 1

 


W  E  B  S  I  T  E     T  I  P

Quick Reference Information

Every month subscribers to the State and Federal Communications website receive the Summary of Changes, which is a list of all of the changes and additions made to the website in the course of the prior month. One of the features of the Summary of Changes is the Legislation Updates, found in the left-hand column of the state updates. But what information is contained in those updates? The legislation updates follow the bills relevant to the particular publication from introduction to final disposition. When the bills are first listed in the Summary of Changes, a very brief description of the bill is included. In subsequent months the bill will provide, in parentheses, the month and year of the Summary of Changes document that the bill was first listed, followed by the current status of the bill. The bill will continue to be listed until it is signed into law, carries over to the next session, or dies. Timelier updates, as well as a more complete description and the original text of the bill can be found on the State and Federal 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.

We’ve had some disagreement internally within our organization – please help.  As a federal registrant employing in-house lobbyists, are we only required to report the time and expenses associated with our “registered” lobbyists? 

A.

It’s a good question.  The answer to which often gets lost amongst the efforts to report lobbyists’ activities. Federal registrants are certainly required to make best efforts to track, capture, and report the lobbying activities and expenses of those employees who meet the 20% threshold standard (lobbyist employee).  In addition, registrants are equally required to track, capture, and report expenditures associated with employees who do not meet the 20% threshold but still engage in lobbying activities during the course of the quarter (non-lobbyist employees.)  The names of non-lobbyist employees are not included on the report and neither is information related to what issues they addressed or contacts they made.  That said, the Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the House have consistently advised that all employee time spent engaged in lobbying activities should be included when determining an organization’s lobbying expenses, even when the employee(s) does not meet the statutory definition of being a lobbyist.  In line with the best efforts standard, then, it is important to have in place reasonable, demonstrable processes to capture both lobbyist and non-lobbyist activities. 

February's Expert - Rebecca South, Federal Compliance Associate


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

2012 COGEL Conference, Columbus, Ohio
State and Federal Communications, Inc. was happy to sponsor the efforts of the COGEL 2012 Conference held in December in Columbus, Ohio.
 
The staff attending the COGEL Conference arrived
a day early to assist with bag stuffing.
Carol Laham - Wiley Rein and Elizabeth Z. Bartz enjoyed their discussion at the COGEL Conference held in the Sheraton Columbus in Capital Square in Columbus, Ohio.
 
The State and Federal Communications staff arrived with
totes we donated to COGEL.
Part of our staff that attended the COGELConference 2012 in Columbus, Ohio.  [L to R - [front row -George Ticoras, Esq., Susan Stofka, Sarah Kovit, Esq., Joe May.  back row- Jim Sedor, Megan Huber, John Cozine, Esq., and Ken Kelewae.

 


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

February 5-8, 2013 2013 National Grassroots Conference  - SPONSOR Live Twitter Board
Key West, Florida

February 22-25, 2013

NGA Winter Meeting
Washington, D.C.

February 26, 2013

Akron/Canton SMEI 41st Distinguished Sales and Marketing Award
Akron, Ohio

March 4-7, 2013 2013 National PAC Conference  -  SPONSOR Conference Wi-Fi Access
Miami Beach, Florida
March 6, 2013 Ohio Birthday Party  -  SPONSOR
Washington, D.C.
March 13-15, 2013 SGAC Annual Meeting
Savannah, Georgia

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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/

 

www.stateandfed.com