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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

January 2017   

Let Us Help You

           I am going back to my December column about our new re-branded website. Our statement this year is “Let Us Help You.”

How? Let us provide our website services to you…We’ll even deal with your finance department to provide the W-9, ACH, whatever information is needed to get this service up and running for you.

Let us help you with your compliance. Our largest growing line of business is helping corporate and trade associations with lobbying compliance. I love Outlook, but I think if you needed it to track the reports due in 2017, you would find there aren’t enough colors to use to keep you organized.

The laws and regulations in our field are continually changing. And, we know there many more changes to come in 2017.

We are ready for all of this at State and Federal Communications. We are ready to help you! That is why we have re-branded our 2017 website guides as the Online Compliance Publications for Governmental Relations Professionals. These four online publications are:

  1. Political Contributions Compliance Laws for Government Relations ProfessionalsTM
  2. Lobbying Compliance Laws for Government Relations ProfessionalsTM
  3. Procurement Lobbying Compliance Laws for Government Relations ProfessionalsTM
  4. Canadian Compliance Laws for Government Relations ProfessionalsTM

            These unique online publications are considered invaluable to government relations professionals. They make it easy to decipher and understand compliance regulations, and to accurately report activities to government entities as needed. They are optimized to easily use and search on any device – computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone – and updated continually so government relations professionals can comply in a timely and accurate manner.

This is an annual subscription-based service, where you can purchase one, two, three, or four online publications, whatever you need, with special bundled pricing available. Each provides accurate, comprehensive, and timely information on thousands of compliance rules, regulations, and statutes across the states, the U.S. federal government, more than 600 municipalities, and Canadian federal, provincial, and territorial governments.

Our 2017 brochures are already in the mail to you so you can see the wealth of services this great American company provides. [Click here to see Direct User brochure.]

There is no other company like State and Federal Communications. Let us help you.

Thank you.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz

President and CEO
@elizabethbartz


Rhode Island Lobby Reform Act
Effective January 1, 2017
 

George Ticoras, Esq.,
Research Associate

On January 1, 2017, the Rhode Island Lobby Reform Act ushered in a new legal framework for lobbyists and lobbyist employers registering and reporting in the state. Senate Bill 2361 Sub A and House Bill 7388 Sub A, signed by Gov. Gina M. Raimondo on June 13, repeals the lobbying laws in Title 22 and Title 42 of the state’s statutes.

The new act simplifies lobbyist reporting requirements, increases penalties for failing to comply with lobbying requirements, and provides more investigative and administrative authority for enforcing the lobbying laws, including subpoena power.

Lobbyists and employers must file monthly activity reports for the first half of the year and quarterly activity reports for the second half of the year. Reports are due the 15th day of February, March, April, May, June, and July for activity during the calendar month immediately preceding each filing. A report is also due on October 15 for July through September activity and by January 15 for October through December activity.

The Office of Secretary of State now has the authority to adopt rules to create a schedule of administrative penalties to be assessed for minor infractions, such as the failure to timely file any of the reports. Additionally, the office is empowered to collect fines and registration fees.

Knowingly and willfully violating the Lobby Reform Act is punishable with a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per violation and is a misdemeanor criminal conviction carrying a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment of up to one year. The penalty for violations may also include the revocation of a registration for a period of up to three years.

A new web-based portal developed by the Office of Secretary of State allows for lobbyist registration and reporting.

Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations 

Michael Beckett, Esq., Research Manager

CALIFORNIA: The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) approved regulations to make biennial cost of living adjustments to campaign contribution and gift limits applicable from January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2018. The newly amended regulations increase campaign contribution limits by $200 for legislative candidates and $1,000 for gubernatorial candidates. The aggregate annual gift limit is set to change from $460 to $470 per donor.

FEDERAL: Changes to regulations concerning gifts for federal employees take effect January 1, 2017. Among the changes the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) made include a nonbinding recommendation employees consider declining otherwise permissible gifts if they believe a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts would question the employee’s integrity or impartiality as a result of accepting the gift. Additionally, federal officials who are required to be granted permission to attend widely attended events must now seek the permission in writing. The OGE declined to change the $20 threshold for accepting a gift. Amendments to the rules made by the OGE were published on November 18 in the Federal Register.

FLORIDA: Training sessions are available to assist lobbyists in getting to know the new House Rules adopted last month. Lobbyists are now required to disclose the issues they are lobbying by filing an electronic notice of appearance; former members of the Legislature are prohibited from lobbying the House for six years; and no member of the House may accept private plane travel from a lobbyist or a corporation employing lobbyists. The Senate also passed rules, but without such sweeping changes.

GEORGIA: The Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission announced the lobbyist registration renewal window for 2017. Current lobbyists who do not owe any fees, fines, penalties, or reports may renew their registrations online beginning December 1, 2016, until 12:00 p.m. on January 13, 2017. Lobbyists who fail to timely renew registrations must register as a new lobbyist using paper forms. Lobbyist badges are also expected to be sent much sooner than in past years. The commission has asked lobbyists to allow up to two weeks for badges to be delivered.

SOUTH DAKOTA: A lawsuit was filed in state court to block the government ethics overhaul recently approved by voters on November 8. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of Initiated Measure 22, which restricts campaign contributions and gifts from lobbyists. The group of 24 Republican lawmakers bringing suit are seeking an injunction to block the law, while South Dakotans for Integrity, the ballot question committee that supported Initiated Measure 22, has filed a motion to intervene.

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 2017
Lobbying Laws 362 43 29 250 2
Political Contributions 635 49 71 429 12
Procurement Lobbying 366 43 36 212 0

W  E  B  S  I  T  E      T  I  P

We have added to the website a resource chart entitled “Inaugurations Guide-Based on November 2016 Elections.” The guide provides inaugural compliance information for the president-elect as well as each governor elected this past November. The chart provides the governor’s name, inauguration date, and rules on tickets to events and contributions to inaugural committees. Be sure to consult the chart if you and your company intend to provide resources for these high-profile and often scrutinized events. Copies of the inaugural addresses will be added soon.

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.
 

How do the recent changes in the Florida House Rules affect me
as a Florida lobbyist?

Pursuant to the changes, you must now disclose all issues, bills, and amendments you will be lobbying for or against prior to lobbying any staff or member of the Florida House. New issues must be disclosed as they arise,...

Click here to read the full article

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Holly Johnston, Esq., Compliance Associate



State and Federal Communications, Inc.
Scrapbook - December 2016

Elizabeth greeting Jim Greenwood, president of BIO. Elizabeth representing State and Federal
Communications and Katrina Iserman
representing Sunovion.
 
Cavs basketball in DC.
John Chames, Elizabeth Bartz, CAVs GM-David Griffin, and John O'Brian at the Verizon center
in Washington DC.  Go CAVs!
 
Kent State Alumni - Elizabeth Bartz, Pam Anderson, Diane Laney Fitzpatrick, and Linda Motosko.
Go Golden Flashes!
 
The Summit County United Way had a food drive collecting snacks to be distributed during
the local school's winter break.
 
Each year the State and Federal Communications, Inc. staff chooses one charity to donate Christmas gifts.  This year, we collected toys and electronics for the Summit County Children's Services Toy Box.  This organization offers a place for a family in financial crisis to come and choose gifts to give their children.
The variety donated went way past what you see here and it was truly appreciated.
 

 

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

 

Events
January 12, 2017

Montgomery County Council - African Affairs Advisory Group Meeting

Silver Spring, Maryland

January 12, 2017

WASRG Holiday Happy Hour

Washington, DC

January 13-15, 2017

NCSL Executive Committee Meeting

Scottsdale, Arizona

January 17-19, 2017

US Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting

Washington, DC

January 20, 2017

State and Federal Communications, Inc.
Appreciation Event for Clients, Colleagues, and Friends

Washington, DC

January 24, 2017

WGR Toastmasters

Washington, DC

January 25, 2017

WASRG Annual Membership Luncheon

Washington, DC

January 30 - February 2, 2017

PAC The Advocacy Conference

Key West, Florida

 

 

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State and Federal Communications, Inc. | Courtyard Square | 80 South Summit St., Suite 100 | Akron, OH 44308 |
 | 330-761-9960 | 330-761-9965-fax | 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