to enjoy a new lunch choice for a day. Businesses nearby and University of Akron students enjoyed this great surprise
in downtown Akron.
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F L O R I D A – 2014 PAC CONFERENCES
I really can't
stay - Baby it's cold outside
We all love the holidays with the lights, songs, and snow…But, it sure is cold out there. So this is a perfect time to plan your professional development for 2014, especially the Public Affairs Conference Grassroots and Political Action Committee conferences.
The Grassroots conference is in Miami Beach, February 3-6, and is full of programs. This year there are four new tracks to help with your needs—Core, Creative Solutions, Communications, and Challenges. The list of sessions includes:
The PAC conference is in South Beach, March 3-6, and also has four learning tracks—PAC Management, Communications Strategies, Fundraising Tools, and PAC Plus. The list of sessions includes:
I know it can be difficult to convince supervisors that conferences in Florida are a good investment. But, these really are a good investment of funds and time. Check out www.pac.org for more information.
On behalf of the staff at State and Federal Communications, we wish you a very Happy New Year. We look forward to continuing to be your trusted advisers in 2014.
Elizabeth Z. Bartz
Look for your 2014 Guidebook in the beginning of January!
Proposed Changes in Canadian Lobbying Laws
by Jen Zona, Esq. Research Associate
If you’re planning to lobby north of the border, there are a number of changes on the horizon you should be aware of. This fall saw quite a bit of activity for Canadian lobbying legislation, with two provinces introducing laws to create a lobbyist registration framework and one making substantial changes to its existing law.
Saskatchewan’s Lobbyist Act would create a registrar of lobbyists, provide requirements for filing returns, which is the Canadian term for the filing for both registrations and reports, and establish definitions and penalties. The act also provides for online filing of returns. The legislation is based on the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs and Justice issued in 2012.
Similarly, New Brunswick’s Lobbyists Registration Act establishes a basic framework for filing returns and penalties for violations. Prior attempts at creating a lobbyist registry failed in both 2007 and 2011. Saskatchewan and New Brunswick are two of the last three Canadian provinces without lobbying laws; the three Canadian territories also do not have lobbying laws. Both governments cited a desire for providing more transparency for their citizens as the impetus for the legislation.
Ontario introduced an Act to Amend the Lobbyists Registration Act, giving a new definition for grassroots lobbying, giving more specificity on what constitutes an undertaking to lobby, requiring in-house lobbyists to file monthly reports if the lobbying is directed at a high level public office holder, and adding a requirement to report campaign contributions made under the Election Finances Act. Additional changes include revolving door restrictions and changes to penalties. The bill is currently in the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills.
Summary of Changes UPDATE
by John Cozine, Esq., Research Manager
TRENTON, NEW JERSEY: Trenton’s recently established Ethics Board passed the city’s first code of ethics in November. The long-awaited code outlines behavioral guidelines for elected officials, city employees, and representatives serving on city boards. Included are provisions regarding conflicts of interest, receipt of gifts, and financial disclosure. Additionally, the code permits the Ethics Board to investigate possible ethics violations. The code will go to the state Department of Community Affairs before it is enacted and added to the code book.
TEXAS: An Ethics Commission rule delineating the state’s document retention policy for treasurers of political committees took effect on December 3, 2013. Rule 20.18, which was adopted on October 31, 2013, spells out the records needed to be kept for at least two years. The rule also outlines what documentation and actions are required of a treasurer in order to remain in compliance with the state’s retention law. Two other rules passed by the commission dealing with the reporting of contribution pledges and political expenditure disclosures take effect on January 1, 2015.
OHIO: The Ethics Commission issued a new rule clarifying when another party may pay or reimburse a public official or employee for travel expenses. A public official or employee may accept a thing of value if it "is not of such a character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence on the traveler with respect to that person's duties." A two-prong test has been put in place for determining whether travel expenses or reimbursements are of such character. The rule overturns portions of two previously issued Ohio Ethics Commission advisory opinions. It also requires public officials or employees to disclose the source and amount of all travel expenses and reimbursements.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: The Ethics Commission approved a regulation providing a method for candidates and campaign committees to comply with due diligence requirements of the pay-to-play restrictions. Code section 1.126 prohibits a city or county contractor from contributing to a candidate who can determine whether a contract is awarded. Regulation 1.126-7 will require the contributor to certify he or she is not an not an owner, director, officer, or named subcontractor of any entity currently negotiating or recently awarded a contract with the city, county, or other covered agency. The regulation becomes effective January 24, 2014.
MASSACHUSETTS: The 2014 state primary has been moved up one week from September 16 to September 9 due to the passage of House Bill 3764. This bill only changes the 2014 primary date and does not affect future state primary dates. The bill was introduced and passed by the House on November 18, 2013, passed by the Senate the following day, and signed by the governor a week later.
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.
W E B S I T E T I P
Quick Reference Information - THE CLASSROOM
A fantastic new addition to the State and Federal Communications website is the Classroom. The Classroom contains tutorial videos providing training to users on how to utilize the features of the subscriber website. More videos will be added over time to touch on all aspects of the new website. The Classroom can be accessed from your customized User Dashboard, which is the first page you see after logging in to the website. The link to the Classroom is on the lower left side of the screen, immediately under the Bookmarks.
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: email@example.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.
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