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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

October 2015  

Another One Bites the Dust

Another one bites the dust. Another one bites the dust.
And, another one gone, and another one gone. Another one bites the dust.
Hey, I'm gonna get you too. Another one bites the dust.

According to Wikipedia, "Another One Bites the Dust" is a song by the British rock band Queen. Written by bass guitarist John Deacon, the song featured on the group's eighth studio album The Game (1980). The song was a worldwide hit, charting number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, number two on the Hot Soul Singles chart and the Disco Top 100, and number seven on the UK Singles Chart.  The song is credited as Queen's best-selling single, with sales of more than 7 million copies.  

And, if you continue on Wikipedia, the meaning is not what you think either. In the early 1980s, "Another One Bites the Dust" was one of many popular rock songs Christian evangelists alleged contained subliminal messages through a technique called backmasking. It was claimed the chorus, when played in reverse, can be heard as "Decide to smoke marijuana,” "It's fun to smoke marijuana,” or "Start to smoke marijuana.”  This part has been denied by spokesmen from the record company.

Why do I bring it up now? If you follow me on Facebook, this is a regular post of mine, accompanied with an article about a politician resigning, accused, or suspected in something, which will take our mind off of important issues and focus on “bad boy” issues. Yes, I mean to use the gender because the lion’s share of issues deal with men.

An example of this in August is a magisterial district judge from York County, Pennsylvania. Jeffrey Scott Joy was relieved of his position without pay by order of the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline. This suspension comes in light of criminal charges being filed against him. These charges are the result of a December 2014 incident in which Joy propositioned a woman to model lingerie for him in exchange for him expunging her criminal record and dismissing her court fines.

Or another issue I posted today right before writing this column. Indiana state Rep. Jud McMillin resigned after a sexually explicit video was sent via text message from his cell phone, which he claims he lost control of while in Canada.

I could go on and on…but will probably save it for a book I am putting together. When I am asked about these issues or my advice, it really is pretty simple.

  1. When not in your residence changing for the evening, keep your clothes on;

  2. Your smart phone is smarter than you, keep control of what it contains; and

  3. Sometimes it is just better to keep quiet and put your thoughts together before you make comments. No one ever got in trouble for not talking.

We know there is a busy political year ahead of us…Let’s hope our elected officials remember why they ran for office and stay true to their words. It might seem I enjoy posting these articles on Facebook, but really it is a sad state of affairs when it happens.

Dear friends, keep the faith. There are plenty of elected officials who keep control of clothes, phones, and manners.

Thank you.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz

President and CEO
@elizabethbartz

New Lobbying Law Takes Effect in San Joaquin County, California

by George Ticoras, Esq., Research Associate

On September 17, 2015, a new lobbying law took effect in San Joaquin County, California. Ordinance 4468, passed by the Board of Supervisors in August, requires lobbyists, lobbying firms, and lobbyist’s employers to register when lobbying county officials. Registration with the clerk of the board is required 10 days after becoming engaged as a lobbyist. There is an initial registration fee of $75. The annual registration renewal fee is $50. No reporting of lobbying activity is required after registration.

The new county ordinance defines lobbying activities as oral, written, or electronic communication made directly or indirectly to a county official, for the purpose of persuading or influencing official actions or decisions. An individual is required to register when he or she is employed, contracts, or otherwise receives compensation of $500 or more in any calendar month to communicate directly or through agents, employees, or subcontractors with any county official for the purpose of influencing official action. However, a substantial or regular portion of the activities for which the person receives such compensation must be for the purpose of influencing official action. Influencing official action includes promoting, supporting, influencing, modifying, opposing, or delaying actions of any county official, including soliciting county contracts or funds. Influence can include providing county officials with statistics, studies, or analyses.

Registration is not required by agents and employees of tax-exempt organizations, elected and appointed public officials and employees, news organizations, and advocates or attorneys in certain circumstances. Amendments to a registration form must be completed and filed by the lobbyist with the clerk of the board within ten days of any change.

Penalties for failing to register range from a written warning to daily fines staggered in the amounts of $25, $50, and $75, up to a maximum penalty of $500. Penalties also include disqualification from county contracts if any lobbyist, lobbying firm, employer, or other person or entity acting on behalf of the person or entity seeking the contract fails to comply with the county's lobbying ordinance.

Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations 

Michael Beckett, Esq., Research Manager

ONTARIO, CANADA: The Lobbyists Registration Office of the Integrity Commissioner published A Guide to the Lobbyist Registration Act. The guide is designed to help lobbyists effectively register by explaining terms and requirements under the act. In addition to providing relevant definitions, the guide clarifies threshold questions for in-house lobbyists of an organization. A lobbyist (or group of employees) engaging in lobbying a minimum of four days per month over a three-month period will reach the 20 percent registration threshold. An organization that knows it will meet the threshold should register immediately and not wait for the three-month lapse. The option to submit a renewal is only available every six months from the anniversary date of the initial registration. The in-house lobbyist for an organization then has 30 days from the due date to renew the registration.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: City Council has added revolving door provisions applicable to current city officials who previously acted as a lobbyist. Ordinance 2015-4685 prohibits city employees and officials from making or participating in the making of any governmental decision for a period of two years from the date of employment or becoming a city official in a matter benefiting his or her immediate former employer or immediate former client unless such employee or official has completely severed any ties with the former employer or client. 

MAINE: Effective October 15, 2015, a new campaign finance law requires independent expenditure reports to contain an itemized account of each expenditure in excess of $250 in any one candidate's election. Legislative Document 1449 also requires disclosure of the date and purpose of each contribution or expenditure and the name of each payee or creditor.

OKLAHOMA: Revised Constitutional Ethics Rule 2.6 prohibits a person from soliciting a contribution for a political party, a political action committee, a candidate, or a state question campaign in any building or other property owned, leased, or occupied by the state of Oklahoma. However, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Reed v. Town of Gilbert (Docket No. 13-502) and Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans (Docket No. 14-144), the Oklahoma Ethics Commission has suspended enforcement of Rule 2.6 until it can be amended to ensure its constitutionality.   

WISCONSIN: On Tuesday, September 2, Wisconsin ethics officials voted unanimously for a resolution asking the state Legislature to clarify when lobbyists may donate to an elected state official’s presidential campaign. State law currently regulates when lobbyists can contribute to candidates for state office but does not address rules for giving to those seeking a federal office. The Government Accountability Board overseeing Wisconsin election and ethics laws has received numerous inquiries from registered lobbyists seeking clarification. The board is asking legislators to address the issue.

Jurisdiction Added to our Website

The number of municipalities and regional governments our research associates track continues to grow. We now cover almost 300 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 jurisdiction is:

Lynchburg, Virginia

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 2016
Lobbying Laws 232 47 32 71 74
Political Contributions 460 50 75 151 152
Procurement Lobbying 229 38 47 57 39

W  E  B  S  I  T  E      T  I  P

Registration thresholds provide the essential criteria a government affairs professional needs to know when determining whether or not to register as a lobbyist. State and Federal Communications now has two quick reference charts in the Lobbying Laws publication dedicated to cataloging these thresholds in the states and covered municipalities. The charts can be accessed by clicking on the right side of the red Lobbying Law banner and selecting "State Registration Thresholds” or “Municipal Registration Thresholds” in the pop-up menu. Be sure to reference these charts when determining whether your activity triggers the requirement to register in a given jurisdiction.

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.

We recently hired a lobbyist that is coming to our company directly from spending a number of years as a Senate staffer.  What restrictions should we be aware of as her new employer in terms of who she can contact on the Hill?

Both the House and the Senate have post-employment restrictions for certain individuals leaving their employment on the Hill.  Importantly, the House and Senate ethics committees will discuss with the staffer prior to his or her departure the restrictions under which he or she must operate.  That said, as her new employer you should definitely be aware of what restrictions are applicable to her situation so neither the company nor she violates the rules. 

For the Senate, senior staff (currently defined as individuals whose annual salary is $130,500 or more) are subject to a one-year, Senate-wide ban.  Essentially, senior staff leaving the Senate may not lobby the entire Senate for one year following their departure – this includes lobbying contact with personal, committee, and leadership offices.  Staff making less than $130,500 a year are subject to a one year ban from lobbying their particular office – whether personal, committee, or leadership office. 

The House restriction for senior staff is a one year ban from lobbying the particular office for which the former staffer worked and there is no ban in the House for staffers making less than $130,500.

October's Expert - Rebecca South, Federal Compliance Associate


 

PAC State and Local Government Affairs Conference
State and Federal Communications, Inc. sent eight employees to the Public Affairs Council State and Local Government Affairs Conference in Alexandria, Virginia on September 23-25, 2015.

Front row:  Dan Frydl, Marketing and Sales Manager; Rebecca South, Federal Compliance Associate; and Kevin Newman, Esq., Research Associate.  Back row:  Avery Ware, Compliance Assistant; Gamble Hayden, Federal Compliance Assistant; Elizabeth Z. Bartz, President and CEO; Monica Dolenc, Marketing Associate; and Emone Smith, Administrative Assistant.


 

State and Federal Communications, Inc.
Celebrates Staff Anniversaries
 

State and Federal Communications, Inc. has always chosen to celebrate the employment anniversary of its staff.  This year was a big year.  Here [photo on left] is our News You Can Use editor, James Sedor, as he celebrated his 15th anniversary in August.  We had a flag flown in his honor over the U.S. Capitol provided by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown along with a certificate of authenticity and a gift from Elizabeth in thanks of all those years of dedication.

 

Above, Elizabeth was celebrating various anniversaries.  All three employees chose The Home Depot gift cards as the anniversary gift of choice. 
[left to right: Elizabeth Z. Bartz, President and CEO; Myra Cottrill, Esq., Client Specialist; Nola Werren, Esq., Client Specialist; and Dave McPeek, IT Business and Operations Analyst.]


In May, State and Federal Communications, Inc. celebrated the 10th anniversary of Amber Fish Linke, Esq., Director, Client and Product Operations, and [on right] John Cozine, Esq., Compliance Manager.

Practising Law Institute
Practising Law Institute - Corporate Political Activities 2015: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and Ethics Laws took place September 9-10, 2015, in Washington, DC.  State and Federal Communications Inc. sent the following staff to the conference: [front left to right] John Cozine, Esq., Compliance Manager; Rebecca South, Federal Compliance Associate; and Shamus Williams, Esq., Compliance Associate. [back left to right] Myra Cottrill, Esq., Client Specialist; Gamble Hayden, Federal Compliance Associate; Kevin Newman, Esq., Research Associate; Elizabeth Z. Bartz, President and CEO; and Jennifer Zona, Esq., Compliance Associate.

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

 

Events

October 8 African Affairs Advisory Group Meeting, Silver Spring, Maryland
October 13 Toastmasters, Washington, DC
October 19 AGRP State Lobbying Session, Washington, DC
October 23 National Press Club Lunch with Kevin Costner, Washington, DC
October 26 WGR, Washington, DC
October 27 Toastmasters, Washington, DC
October 28-30 PAC Board Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona
 

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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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