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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

November 2014  

Plan now for your 2015 Professional Development

Readers of Compliance NOW know how important professional development is to me. Everyone at State and Federal Communications knows from Day #1 they need to take advantage of the opportunities we provide for such development and are encouraged to also find other programs. We have all learned a lot from a popular seminar on grammar and many of us have attended the Disney Institute on working with our customers.

There are two Public Affairs Council programs in February 2015 you should consider attending.

National Grassroots Conference from February 3rd through 6th is the largest and really the most comprehensive conference of its kind. The speakers are corporate and association government affairs professionals who implement grassroots programs. You will learn strategies to improve your communications and increase your success.

National PAC Conference—or as we refer to it PAC PAC—from February 23rd to February 26th is definitely the leading program for a PAC professional. It combines the important skills training you need for the important elections facing our country.

There is one other plus to attending these conferences—you know, other than all the information you will learn and bring back to your organization—is they are both in Florida at a time when we could use a double dose of Vitamin D. The National Grassroots Conference is in Key West and the PAC PAC Conference is in Orlando at Universal’s Portofino Bay property. If this brings up questions, remind everyone the days start early in Florida and networking goes on through the evenings.

State and Federal Communications will be in attendance at both conferences—as we have been for years—and look forward to seeing you there. If you do have questions about either of these programs, please do not hesitate to give me a call. I would be happy to provide additional information.

Until next month, think about how you can sharpen your skills for the upcoming active legislative and election year.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
@elizabethbartz

North Carolina Governor Signs Elections Bills

by Elizabeth Cummins, Esq., Research Associate

On August 6, 2014, Gov. Pat McCrory signed Senate Bill 403 into law. The bill requires treasurers of political committees with contributions, expenditures, or loans totaling more than $10,000 in an election cycle to electronically file campaign finance reports. North Carolina law already requires electronic filing for political committees making contributions in excess of $5,000 to candidates for statewide office or making independent expenditures in excess of $5,000 affecting contests for statewide office. This provision of the bill takes effect January 1, 2017. Senate Bill 403 further amends the state’s election law related to when counties may hold special elections. The bill requires counties, municipalities, and special districts to schedule special elections for new sales taxes, bond issuance, and other similar measures when a general or primary election is already scheduled or when there is a general election requiring all county precincts to be open. This provision of the bill takes effect January 1, 2015, and applies to all special elections held on or after that date.

Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations
 

by John Cozine, Esq., Research Manager 

COOK COUNTY: The Board of Commissioners passed a new ordinance banning registered lobbyists from attempting to communicate with commissioners for the purpose of discussing any matter of county business while the commissioners are present on the floor during public meetings. The ordinance does not affect lobbying outside of county chambers or lobbying in the boardroom after a meeting is brought to a close. Moreover, the new rule applies only to registered lobbyists and makes no mention of those engaged in lobbying activity who are not yet registered with the county.

DELAWARE: On September 4, 2014, Gov. Jack Markell signed House Bill 13 into law. Under the bill, any person who served as a member of the Delaware General Assembly is prohibited from acting as a lobbyist for one year after the person's term of office is completed. The bill takes effect January 1, 2017.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND: County Council voted to enact public financing for county elections beginning with the 2015-2018 election cycle. Bill 16-14 establishes a public election fund, regulates participating candidates, and authorizes the Maryland State Board of Elections to enforce the provisions. To qualify, candidates for county executive or council must demonstrate viability by raising a specific number of small individual contributions between $5 and $150. Candidates for county executive need at least 500 contributions totaling $40,000. At-large council candidates must collect 250 donations worth $20,000. Maryland lawmakers included a public funding option for counties as part of a 2013 campaign finance reform bill. Montgomery is the first county to pass such a public campaign financing measure.

NEW YORK: The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has developed online ethics training, as required by the New York Legislative Law. All registered lobbyists, including principals, must complete the online training. All lobbyists registered for both the 2011-2012 and 2013-2014 biennia must complete the online training by December 31, 2014. Beginning in 2015, all registered lobbyists will be required to complete the training once every three years.

WISCONSIN: A federal judge entered a preliminary injunction in favor of a conservative group challenging the state’s limits on the amount candidates can collect from political action committees. The group argued the limits infringed upon its First Amendment free speech rights. The judge agreed and issued a preliminary injunction preventing the Government Accountability Board from enforcing the limit.

Jurisdictions Added to our Website

The number of municipalities and regional governments our research associates track continues to grow. We now cover more than 230 municipalities and local governments. This is part of a continuous effort to better serve the needs of our clients.

In that effort, we have recently added abridged jurisdictions to our website. These entries, condensed due to the limited number of relevant local laws, provide the core information our clients need for their government relations work.

The new jurisdictions is:

Brooklyn Center, Minnesota


 

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 State and Federal Communications' digital encyclopedias for lobbying laws, political contributions, and procurement lobbying and can be found in the client portion of our website.

Summaries of major bills are also included in monthly email updates sent to all clients. The chart below shows the number of bills we are tracking in regard to lobbying laws, political contributions, and procurement lobbying.

 

  Total bills Number of Jurisdictions Passed Died Carried over
to 2015
Lobbying Laws 309 45 35 156 0
Political Contributions 603 46 64 266 0
Procurement Lobbying 432 49 48 196 0


W  E  B  S  I  T  E     T  I  P

Our website now has 2015 legislative session and key dates information for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the federal government. In the Lobbying Laws publication, the key dates information addresses all of the reports and registrations due in 2015. In the Political Contributions publication, the key dates address the reports due, the scheduled statewide elections, and, where dictated by the state, scheduled local elections. Continue to watch the website for updates to the 2014 and 2015 key dates and for the addition of key dates information for local jurisdictions.

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. Send your questions to experts@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 email us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies are not legal advice, just our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.

I am a registered lobbyist and have been asked to serve on a state board. Are there any laws preventing me from serving?

Generally, there are no laws preventing a registered lobbyist from serving on a state board or commission. However, many states have laws regulating the board service of registered lobbyists.

For example, in South Carolina a lobbyist is prohibited from serving as a member on any state board or commission. Illinois also has a general prohibition; however, their prohibition extends to the spouses and immediate family members of a lobbyist who are living at home. Such individuals are prohibited from serving on a board, commission, authority, or task force authorized by state law or executive order.

Other states only prohibit a registered lobbyist from serving on certain boards or commissions. In Ohio, both legislative and executive branch lobbyists are prohibited from serving on the Ohio Elections Commission. In New York, lobbyists are prohibited from serving as a member of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the Legislative Advisory Council.

Some states only prevent lobbyists from serving on boards that could possibly benefit themselves or their employers. In Tennessee, lobbyists are prohibited from serving as a member of a board, commission, or governmental entity with jurisdiction to regulate the business endeavors or professional activities of any employer of the lobbyist. In Wisconsin, lobbyists are prohibited from serving on a state board or commission related to who and what they are lobbying.

Every jurisdiction’s rules on lobbyists serving on state boards and commissions is different. Before agreeing to serve on a board or commission, you should consult that jurisdiction’s ethics commission.

November's Expert - Shamus Williams, Esq., Compliance Associate

 

 

    

 

Follow Election Results on
LOBBY COMPLY blog

 

State and Federal Communications, Inc. introduces the 2014 Election Coverage - Midterm Mania on Election Night, November 4, 2014, until 9pm ET.

 


 

 
Attending the Akron Project Grad fundraising event, Elizabeth Z. Bartz and John P. Chames display a couple of the many items they donated for auction.   Joe May speaking at the United Way Corporate Volunteer Council meeting in October.  His presentation detailed the company's volunteer participation in the community.
Eric Mansfield, Elizabeth Z. Bartz, and
Mayor Don Plusquellic attending the Akron Roundtable luncheon with Dr. B. Warren, Kent State President, speaking.
Elizabeth Z. Bartz with Leonard Downie,vice president at large and former executive editor of The Washington Post attending the Ben Bradlee memorial at the Newseum in DC.

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

 

Events

November 6 Akron Urban League, Women of Power Luncheon, Akron Ohio
November 7 WASRG Luncheon, Washington, D.C.
November 10 WGR Toastmasters, Washington, D.C.
November 12-15 Women in Government Fifth Annual Healthcare Summit, Washington, D.C.
November 20-21 2014 Conference for Professional Women in Advocacy, Washington, D.C.
November 22 SGAC LPC Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona
December 3 Ohio Society Holiday Party; Washington, DC

 


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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.

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