View Full Print-Friendly Version

 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

July 2013

We are 20!

Today we celebrate our 20th anniversary. It has been an amazing journey...

And, all I have to say is...

  

Watch what we do next!

 

Thank you for being a part of State and Federal Communications history
and our future.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO


Florida Enacts Ethics Package

by Jen Zona, Esq. Research Associate 

The major themes of the 2013 Florida legislative session were ethics and campaign finance. Two expansive bills made it to Governor Rick Scott’s desk by the end of the session, and he signed both on May 1.

The first of the two bills, Senate Bill 2, unanimously passed both houses of the legislature. It prohibits members of the legislature from acting as lobbyists for compensation before an executive branch agency, agency official, or employee for two years after leaving office, although a previous version of the bill would have prevented legislators from becoming lobbyists or principals of lobbying firms lobbying the legislature. The bill also adds vendors to the list of individuals covered by the gift restrictions for reporting individuals and procurement employees, and extends additional enforcement powers to the state ethics commission, including fines of up to $5,000 for executive branch lobbyists who fail to disclose required material facts or knowingly provide false information. The bill also allows the ethics commission to investigate whether a lobbyist has made a prohibited expenditure if a complaint is filed. These reforms became effective upon Governor Scott’s signature.

Reforms from the second bill, House Bill 569, will take effect later this year. The most talked-about reform in Florida’s campaign finance law eliminates committees of continuous existence, or CCEs, frequently used by legislators as “slush funds.” CCEs will be prohibited from accepting contributions after August 1, and will have their certifications revoked as of September 1. Other reforms will take effect beginning November 1, including significant increases in contribution limits from $500 to $3,000 for a candidate for statewide office or retention as a justice of the state supreme court and from $500 to $1,000 for a candidate for legislative office, retention as a judge of a district court of appeal, or circuit judge. The bill also adds more frequent reporting requirements in the months and weeks leading up to an election and eliminates limits on contributions to political committees.
 


Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations

by John Cozine, Esq.
Research Manager
 

ALABAMA: The Alabama Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, major changes to the state's Fair Campaign Practices Act. The most significant change is the elimination of limits on corporate contributions to candidates and political action committees. Under the new law, corporations will be permitted to contribute in the same manner as individuals, who are not subject to any contribution limits, with the exception of retaining the state's pay-to-play prohibition on contributions to the Public Service Commission by utilities the commission regulates. The bill also makes 527 organizations subject to the ban on PAC-to-PAC transfers and adds enforcement and penalty provisions. The Secretary of State's office will release information regarding the effective date of these provisions because the law must first receive Department of Justice preclearance before it becomes enforceable.

MAINE: The Maine State Legislature passed, and Governor Paul LePage signed, Legislative Document 184. The bill requires legislators to wait one year after their terms end before engaging in activities requiring registration as lobbyists or lobbyist associates.. Exempted from this prohibition are those former legislators who wish to engage in lobbying activities, but do not receive compensation. If a legislator does engage in compensated lobbying activities during the restricted period, he or she is subject to a $1,000 civil penalty. The law will not take effect until the start of the 127th Legislature, which will begin in December 2014.

WASHINGTON: Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill into law increasing disclosure in political advertising. Senate Bill 5258 requires a series of political advertisements supporting or opposing ballot measures sponsored by the same political committee, each of which is under $1,000, to include information on the advertisement’s top five contributors once the cumulative value of the advertisements reaches $1,000. Under the current law, information on the top five contributors is only required for individual advertisements in excess of $1,000. This law will take effect on July 28, 2013

OREGON: Governor John Kitzhaber signed a bill to change regulations for lobbyist registration and reporting. House Bill 2078 modifies the time frame for registration and tightens the period for registration renewals. Compensated lobbyists will need to register within 10 days of meeting a threshold or after agreeing to lobby. Currently, lobbyists only have three days to register, but the clock does not begin after agreeing to lobby. Registration renewals will be required by January 31 of even-numbered years, moving from the current March 31 deadline. An entity with more than one lobbyist will have to report expenditures for each lobbyist. The bill becomes effective January 1, 2014.

MONTANA: Governor Steve Bullock named a new commissioner of political practices. Jonathan Motl began service as the commissioner to complete the final three years of a six-year term left vacant by prior unconfirmed appointees. A Senate confirmation hearing for the position will not be held until early 2015.


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 2014
Lobbying Laws 229 46 15 50 38
Political Contributions 503 50 35 71 76
Procurement Lobbying 316 45 33 44 27

 


W  E  B  S  I  T  E     T  I  P

Quick Reference Information

Subscribers to the Lobbying Laws and Procurement Lobbying publications have no doubt noticed that some jurisdictions, such as Kentucky, New York City, and the Federal government, have multiple lobbying registration, reporting, and/or gift rules, designated by colored headings such as "Executive" or "Local." These are known as "branch" jurisdictions, because you need to be cognizant of what branch of government you are dealing with. The classic example is a state like Kentucky, which has completely separate registration, reporting, and gift laws for the legislative and executive branches. Lobbyists and their employers need to be aware that registering with one branch does not cover activity in the other branch, nor do the gift laws of one branch cover officials in the other. Several jurisdictions, including the Federal government, have a unified lobbying law, but have gift laws that differ by branch and, in the case of the Federal government, also by house of Congress. Finally, New York City represents a small subset of jurisdictions with two levels of lobbying and gift laws that must both be followed. In other words, registration and reporting is required by both the state and local authorities. Note that subscribers to Procurement Lobbying do not see legislative branch laws in that publication, as procurement is typically an executive branch function.


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.

As a federal lobbying registrant, we have some employees who engage in a minimal amount of lobbying during the course of the quarter.  What is our obligation to identify these employees and report expenditures associated with their activities?

A.

Under federal lobbying disclosure requirements, registrants are required to include expenditures (i.e. compensation, reimbursed expenses etc…) associated with any employee’s lobbying activity during the quarter.  However, registrants are not required to identify specific employees (by listing them on the LD-2 report) or the issues on which they lobbied unless they meet the statutory definition of a “lobbyist”—which includes spending at least 20% of their time engaged in reportable lobbying activities.

House and Senate guidance is consistent in advising that registrants need to make a good faith effort to capture and include the expenditures associated with non-lobbyist employees.  Establishing a regular process and sound methodology by which to identify lobbying activities of this nature is critical to demonstrating adherence to the good faith standard in this regard.

July's Expert - Rebecca South, Federal Compliance Associate




State and Federal Scrapbook - 2013
 


Chad Wilson, Nationwide, and Nola Werren, Esq.,
Compliance Specialist, at the Nationwide
Memorial Golf Tournament in Columbus, Ohio.
The Staff of State and Federal Communications
planned a surprise "Happy Anniversary" celebration as we
kick-off the 20th Anniversary of the company.

We believe in our community.

100% Participation in the United Way Campaign & Day of Action Involvement.
  

For the 5th year, several of our staff at State and Federal Communications, Inc., have chosen to volunteer for the
United Way Day of Action.  This year the East Akron YMCA was our assignment. 
Participating were: Ken Kelewae, Kimberly Crowley, David Jones, Myra Cottrill, Esq., Joanna Kamvouras, Joe May,
Alessandra Dickos, Cristina Dickos, John Cozine, Esq., Susan Stofka, Michael Beckett, Esq., Sarah Kovit, Esq.,
Shamus Williams, Esq., and Becky Campbell.

 

Welcome to our 2013 Summer Interns of State and Federal Communications!
Alessandra Dickos [The Ohio State University], Cristina Dickos [The Ohio State University],
Kimberly Crowley [Boston College], Zack Koozer [Kent State University], Joanna Kamvouras [Kent State University],
and David Jones [Stark State University].

 


 

State and Federal Communications is participating
in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Team ST8PACS for the Cure
is looking for your support.

To join the team or make a donation,
click on this link.
SUPPORT ST8PACS FOR THE CURE!

Make your checks payable to:
Susan G. Komen
or make your payment online.

Thanks!

 


See Us in Person

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

Events

July 25, 2013

20th Anniversary Celebration at the Washington Nationals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Game  
Washington, D.C.


July 30-August 3, 2013

CSG West  
Las Vegas, Nevada


August 2-5, 2013

NGA Annual Meeting  
Milwaukee, Wisconsin


August 8, 2013

Public Relations Society of America  
Tangiers in Akron, Ohio


August 12-15, 2013

NCSL Legislative Summit Booth 921
Atlanta, Georgia


September 19-22, 2013

CSG National Conference  
Kansas City, Missouri


 

COMPLIANCE NOW is published for our customers and friends. 
To SUBSCRIBE click here, or to UNSUBSCRIBE click here. 
To send us comments regarding the COMPLIANCE NOW e-newsletter, click here.

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