E-News from State and Federal
It happens - every
The inauguration of the 45th
President of the United States was held on Friday,
January 20, promptly at noon as stated in the US
Constitution. Regardless of your thought about the
person, the event happened.
State and Federal Communications took
the opportunity to bring clients, colleagues, and
friends together at our Inaugural Appreciation
Party. It was a great time to watch the Inauguration
on any one of 20 televisions inside the Penn Quarter Sports
Tavern. Thanks to Mike Brand, owner, and John Scheer,
general manager, who helped transform a sports bar into a
totally All-American News Pub for us to keep track
of activities all throughout the day.
One group of attendees were the
students from Kent State University Washington
Program in National Issues studying in DC this
semester. I am a big fan of the program because I
was assistant director of it when I was a graduate
student in 1982. These students had a great time—who
wouldn’t with all-you-can-eat/drink all day—but more
important it was an opportunity to speak to them.
I do remember college, and I remember
college at Kent State University where there are a
lot of liberal students. I emphasized I was not
having a celebration of our new President, but the
process and no better place to be but in DC to learn
about working with people on the other side of the
that my friends, is the point of this column. I
believe it is so important to help students
understand there are “other sides” of opinions and
thoughts and there are tons of “other sides” for
them to learn in Washington, DC. We do not have to
agree 100 percent of the time. We do not even have
to be friends. We do need to be collegiate.
Remember, Republican President Ronald Reagan ate
dinner with Democrat Speaker of the House Tip
O’Neill every Sunday.
Sigh…those were good times.
It has been a busy month. The future
will be very interesting.
Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
Missouri Changes to Gift Laws
Michael Beckett, Esq.,
Following multiple legal challenges to Missouri’s recently passed
campaign contribution limits (Constitutional Amendment 2), elected
officials are addressing the state’s relatively lax gift laws as
part of an ongoing effort to reform state ethics laws.
Almost immediately upon being sworn in, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens
issued an executive order banning lobbyist gifts to executive branch
employees. The order also established a revolving door provision
prohibiting gubernatorial staff from lobbying his office after
leaving their positions.
Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley implemented a new ethics
policy on Tuesday, January 10. Hawley’s employees are now prohibited
from accepting gifts from lobbyists. The policy also prohibits staff
from discussing business of the Attorney General’s Office with
anyone attempting to lobby on behalf of a client, unless such person
is a registered lobbyist. This includes licensed attorneys who fall
within the scope of state lobbying law. Hawley’s policy also
establishes a pay-to-play provision prohibiting campaign
contributions from those who have applied for or who have pending
state contracts if the Attorney General’s Office has decision-making
authority over the contract.
At the Capitol, Republican lawmakers held a meeting to endorse a
plan to expand Greitens’ executive order by banning most lobbyist
gifts to legislators. House Bill 60 was fast-tracked, approved in
committee with just three dissenting votes, and passed the House
with bipartisan support. The bill would prohibit legislators from
receiving most gifts from lobbyists. Exemptions to the proposed ban
would include honorary plaques, flowers, and gifts customarily
received by someone before they became a legislator. The bill
prohibits lobbyists and lobbyist principals from making expenditures
for state public officials or for their staff, spouses, or dependent
children. An exception would remain for event expenditures if all
members of the Legislature or all statewide officials are invited in
writing. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Additional ethics bills are expected on the 2017 legislative agenda.
Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to
Michael Beckett, Esq., Research
Denver City Council approved a bill amending the city’s lobbying
ordinance. Council Bill No. CB16-0920 narrows the definition of
lobbying and changes registration and reporting requirements.
Lobbying no longer includes appearances to give public testimony at
council hearings or appearances at the request of public officials
or employees. Additionally, instead of renewing a registration each
year on the registrant’s anniversary date, every lobbyist will be
required to renew his or her registration annually by January 15.
Lobbyists are also now required to file bimonthly reports. Such
reports must include an itemized list and the estimated value of all
gifts, entertainment, and direct or indirect expenditures to, on
behalf of, or benefitting a covered official for lobbying purposes.
The changes are effective immediately.
MICHIGAN: The Bureau of
Elections adjusted lobbying reporting thresholds, fees, and
penalties for the new year. These annual adjustments reflect changes
in the Detroit consumer price index and are effective January 1,
2017. Updates include a $50 increase in the expenditure threshold.
Any lobbyist or lobbyist agent is required to register if
expenditures exceed $2400 during a 12-month period. Transactions of
$1200 or more between a lobbyist/lobbyist agent and a public
official must be reported. The 2016 threshold was $1175.
Additionally, the permitted value of food and beverages purchased
for public officials in any one month increased from $58 to $59.
MONTANA: The Commissioner of
Political Practices announced the adoption of an increase to the
threshold amount of payment triggering lobbyist and employer
registration to $2,550 for 2017 and 2018. The payment threshold is
adjusted by an inflation factor determined by the commissioner. The
previous threshold amount was $2,500 for the calendar years 2015 and
NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Mayor Bill
de Blasio signed campaign finance bills affecting lobbyists and
contractors. Local Law 167 eliminates the matching of public funds
for contributions bundled by lobbyists and people doing business
with the city. Local Law 172 expands the definition of person
doing business with the city to include organizations with an
interest in such entity exceeding 10 percent. Local Law 181
prohibits donations in excess of $400 in a single calendar year to
organizations affiliated with an elected official by those doing
business with the city.
TEXAS: The Ethics Commission
adopted a new rule adjusting the compensation and reimbursement
threshold for lobbyists. The new rule eliminates an exception not
requiring a person to register as a lobbyist if he or she lobbied no
more than 5 percent of his or her compensated time during a calendar
quarter. Under the new rule exception, a person is not required to
register as a lobbyist if the person spends not more than 40 hours
during a calendar quarter engaging in lobbying activity for which
the person is compensated or reimbursed. Time spent on preparatory
activity is included in determining whether the 40 hour threshold
has been met.
Legislation We Are
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.
Number of Jurisdictions
W E B S I T E
T I P
We have expanded and renamed a valuable feature of our
website providing the ability to view an entire entry at
once. By using the View All menu item you will be able
to see all of the information in a chosen jurisdiction
without needing to click on each of the topics found in
the left side menu. The obvious benefit and the reason
for the feature’s name is the ability to view and print
out all of the information at once. One less obvious
benefit is the ability to use CTRL-F within the View All
feature to find information when you are not sure under
which topic heading it appears. You can also use CTRL-F
to find all known instances of a particular word,
phrase, or citation throughout the entry. View All is
now available for all entries, including Canada, and is
yet another way State and Federal Communications helps
you work more efficiently.
Jurisdiction Added to our
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.
effort, we have 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
The new jurisdiction is:
Federal Communications’ Experts Answer Your Questions
is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal
Communications, Inc. Send your questions to
(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.
Now that I’ve established my priority states
for 2017, what else do I need to consider?
most fundamental question before engaging in advocacy in a
particular jurisdiction is whether you, the company, or your
contract lobbyists will need to register. In “first toe in
the water” states registration is required regardless of
your level of activity. Some of the first toe states take it
a step further and require your registration to be complete
before you contact anyone. It’s a best practice to register
in those states immediately, as it’s not always possible to
complete the process same day. Other states have a time or
expenditure threshold that must be met before the
requirement to register is triggered. Note that in some
states grassroots activities and “goodwill” lobbying are
included in the definition of lobbying and therefore must be
considered when determining your need to register. Many
states require some level of coordination between the
lobbyist and employer to complete the registration, so make
sure the lobbyist registrations have been authorized as
If you have registered, make sure you know
your reporting requirements...
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Cozine, Esq., Compliance Manager
State and Federal
Over the holidays, Elizabeth
hosted a "super girls night out",
SGNO, at the Girves Brown Derby in Medina, OH.
Part of the group included the seven women
pictured above who were once company interns at
State and Federal Communications.
[Alexa Livadas, Cristina Dickos, Joanna
Kamvouris, Allie Vernis, Elizabeth, Alessandra
and Elaina Laikos.] All of them are super
Included at the SGNO were
Howland High School grad and the
first Elizabeth Z. Bartz
and Dr. I. Renee Axiotis, Howland
Class of 1982.
Elizabeth Bartz talking with the
Kent State University student's participating
in the Washington Program on National Issues.
The State and Federal Communications, Inc.
holiday party was held at Glenmoor in
Once again, after dinner and great conversation,
each employee received a delicious
Temo's of Akron chocolate tree to enjoy.
Plan to say hello at future
events where State and Federal
will be attending and/or
speaking regarding compliance issues.
January 30 - February 2, 2017
PAC The Advocacy Conference
Key West, Florida
February 1 - 2, 2017
Outlook 2017 State & Local Market Forecast
Event, Washington, DC
County Council - African Affairs Advisory Group
Silver Spring, Maryland
February 24 -
Association Winter Meeting
WGR Governors Reception
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