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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

December 2014  

2015—States and Municipalities…
                                       ... We Have You Covered

If you are in a panic about 2015, relax, we have you covered. The list attached shows all of the jurisdictions included in the State and Federal Communications’ website. Every state in our country will be in session in 2015 and those cities and counties are not going to sit back and do nothing. They will all be busy.

We are happy to report our list of municipalities continues to grow and many more will be added along with the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

So many of our clients are drilling down from the states and going to cities and counties, and those jurisdictions do not always follow state rule. We have always emphasized doing your homework before venturing into a state, and our website can help when you are planning your municipality work.

Stay tuned…We are venturing into unknown territory in 2015 and reviewing international lobbying and campaign finance laws.  Who knows where this will take us.

In the meantime, State and Federal Communications wishes our clients and friends a very happy holiday season and we looking forward to seeing you in the New Year.

click here to view

Thank you,

Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
@elizabethbartz

Arkansas Voters Pass Constitutional Amendment

by Michael Beckett, Esq., Research Associate

On November 4, 2014, Arkansas voters passed a constitutional amendment extending term limits for state lawmakers in exchange for strict ethics laws for lobbyists and corporations. The Arkansas Elected Officials Ethics, Transparency, and Financial Reform Amendment of 2014 bans corporate and union contributions to political campaigns, prohibits gifts from lobbyists to legislative and executive officials, and extends the one-year revolving door prohibition on lobbying to two years for former General Assembly members. The amendment also extends term limits for legislators to at least 16 years. The new provision allows lawmakers to serve 16 years in the same office. Senators winning special two-year terms after each decennial census and redistricting process will be able to serve longer. The amendment became effective November 5, 2014.

Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations
 

by John Cozine, Esq., Research Manager 

CANADA: Commissioner of Lobbying Karen Shepherd has drafted a revised Code of Conduct and invited written submissions on the proposed revisions. The changes focus on the relationship between lobbyists and public officials, while removing rules relating to the relationship between lobbyists and clients. New rules would prohibit a lobbyist from lobbying a public official if the lobbyist has campaigned for or has business interests with the public official. New gift regulations would hold a lobbyist responsible for giving a gift the public official is not allowed to accept. Once Shepherd finalizes the revisions, they will be referred to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics before being published in the Canada Gazette.

OKLAHOMA: As part of the state’s campaign finance overhaul, Oklahoma’s state law will soon usurp local campaign finance rules. Senate Bill 1745 repeals the Political Subdivisions Ethics Act to allow for enforcement of the Local Government Campaign Finance and Financial Disclosure Act. Effective January 1, 2015, the new act prohibits any local regulations overlapping, duplicating, or conflicting with state rules. While local officials will still be responsible for collecting reporting forms, the Oklahoma Ethics Commission will be charged with enforcing election and campaign finance rules, including those related to reporting requirements and contribution limits. The new state law will force some municipalities to revise local ordinances currently in conflict.

PENNSYLVANIA: Gov. Tom Corbett has signed a bill to curtail pay-to-play politics in state procurement contracts. House Bill 201 prohibits individuals who were employed by an offeror within the previous two years from participating in the evaluation of proposals. The new law will prevent recently hired government workers from rewarding their former employers with large state contracts. This provision will go into effect on December 20, 2014.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: The San Diego City Council unanimously adopted new campaign contribution rules to monitor independent and primarily formed committees. Ordinance 2015-37 requires earlier disclosure of large contributors and restricts the ability of a committee to reproduce and distribute campaign advertisements used by a candidate. The ordinance becomes effective January 1, 2015

WASHINGTON: The Washington Legislative Ethics Board held a meeting on October 14, 2014, to finalize rules defining "infrequent occasions" in the context of free meals accepted by state legislators. Section 42.52.150(5) of the Revised Code of Washington allows public officials to accept gifts in the form of food and beverage on infrequent occasions so long as attendance at such a meal is related to the performance of official duties. The board voted unanimously to define infrequent occasions as up to 12 meals total per calendar year. The scope of the rule is limited to food and beverage paid for by a registered lobbyist or lobbyist employer. A qualifying meal under the rule is breakfast, lunch, or dinner, regardless of cost, when the guest would normally be expected to sit down and eat, such as in a restaurant or private residence. The board was careful to maintain the exceptions in the Ethics Act permitting public officials to accept complimentary food and beverages at hosted receptions and in other limited circumstances. This rule takes effect January 1, 2015.

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 are:

Champlin, Minnesota Lucas County, Ohio San Joaquin County, California
Franklin County, Ohio Montgomery County, Ohio Surprise, Arizona
Great Falls, Montana Mountain View, California  

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 312 45 36 158 0
Political Contributions 604 46 73 277 0
Procurement Lobbying 436 49 50 197 0


W  E  B  S  I  T  E     T  I  P

States frequently have restrictions on making contributions that go beyond the usual prohibitions on corporate contributions and limitations on the amount of contributions. Both the Lobbying Laws and Political Contributions publications address restrictions on contributions from lobbyists and restrictions on the timing of contributions. Both publications address these issues in the Restrictions on Contributions from Lobbyists and the Ban on Contributions During Session sections. Be sure to reference these sections before you approve a contribution, as an otherwise acceptable contribution can be illegal when delivered by the wrong person or sent at the wrong time.

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.

For federal income tax purposes, our organization has been using the aggregate amounts reported on our quarterly LD-2 lobbying activity report as our nondeductible lobbying expenses.  Can the expenditures we compile for LDA reporting be used interchangeably for tax purposes?

In a word: maybe – It depends on the method of LDA reporting you’ve opted to follow.  If you file your LD-2 report using the IRC definitions (method C), then the number you compile and report on your LD-2 can be used interchangeably for tax purposes.  However, if you compile and report your quarterly lobbying expenditures using LDA definitions (method A), the results will not accurately reflect nondeductible lobbying expenses as defined by the IRS.  Because the definition of “lobbying” differs between the LDA and the IRC, the two compilation methods will produce very different results.  If you use LDA definitions to compile your quarterly LD-2, your organization must employ a second process by which to determine your nondeductible lobbying expenses for tax purposes.  A lobbying registrant can determine each year which method they will use to compile the LD-2 report.  Once a method has been selected, a registrant must use that method for all four quarterly reports during that year.

December's Expert - Rebecca South, Federal Compliance Associate

 


 

The Akron Urban League Women of Power presentation was held on November 6.
Elizabeth Z. Bartz, [third from the right] was honored as one of the Magnificent Seven of 2014.
While in Scottsdale, Arizona attending the SGAC LPC Conference in November 2014, Elizabeth Z. Bartz, State and Federal Communications, Inc. president and CEO, had the distinct honor of conversing with current client, Tom Ridge, Ridge Policy Group, and Donna Brazille, political strategist and author.

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

 

Events

December 3 Ohio Society Holiday Party; Washington, DC
December 6-10 COGEL, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
December 9-12 NCSL Fall Forum, Washington, DC
January 8-11 NCSL Executive Committee Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana
January 9-11 Women In Government Annual Meeting, St. Petersburg Beach, Florida
January 11-16 Public Affairs Institute, Laguna Beach, California

 


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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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