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 E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.

July 2017   

24 years and at our best

Peter Drucker once said, “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”

I am hardly the person who pats myself on the back about the good things happening at State and Federal Communications—I know it takes a village to make it all happen.

What I do remember is signing a document on July 1, 1993, with my former employer at State and Federal Associates to take on the operation and finances of what is now State and Federal Communications. I do recall I had an upset stomach all day…and will leave it at that because I had never entered into any business agreement prior to that day.

The time has flown…Honestly, when you do something you love to do it really is not work. We have grown and continue to grow. We are anticipating bringing on our 50th employee in the near future and acclimating the staff to FMLA.

What will we continue to do for you?

We will add more and more municipalities to our site because many of you are working with these localities to offer your services. I just returned from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and saw many of you who want to have a great relationship with the mayors.

I never saw the Grateful Dead, but I just read “Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History” by David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan. The Grateful Dead did not listen to large music producers…The band listened to its fans. We always listen to our clients. If you have a question or a suggestion, please contact us because we would not be here if we did not have great clients.

Go International. We completed a review of lobbying and political contributions in Ireland and will soon include it on our site for you to peruse. We have heard many of you are traveling to Europe and Asia and we want to be your source for how to handle international compliance issues.

Thank you for your loyalty. We appreciate and are proud of all of our clients who always want to do the next right thing in compliance.

It is summer time and we are going to attend many conferences this summer and look forward to seeing you along the way.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz

President and CEO
@elizabethbartz


New Ethics Tip Sheet Offered to Help Navigate Expenditures at Conferences

State and Federal Communications is pleased to offer a new tip sheet on Ethics Implications for Expenditures at National  Conferences.  This free publication gives government relations professionals the background needed for making expenditures for sponsorships, receptions, or promotional items, and whether a gift is permissible, and if permissible, whether the expenditure is reportable.

It is important to realize that making expenditures benefiting legislators or covered officials at national legislative conferences will trigger lobbying and gift rules from whichever state the legislator or covered official is from. It is imperative companies, organizations, and individuals understand that the ethics rules of the home jurisdiction follow the official wherever he or she receives a gift. In some states, goodwill expenditures  may be enough to trigger lobbying registration and reporting rules.

Violating gift laws could result in a fine of $1,000 or more (e.g., California), a misdemeanor (e.g., Connecticut), or even a felony conviction (e.g., Kentucky), so please get your free informative PDF copy of the Ethics Implications for Expenditures at National Conferences tips sheet by visiting our website.


Oklahoma Amends Ethics Rules for Lobbying and Campaign Finance

Katlin Newman, J.D.
Research Associate                   

When the Oklahoma Legislature adjourned May 26, several amendments to the Oklahoma Ethics Rules became law. Changes include a new lobbyist registration renewal deadline, new reporting dates, additional gift restrictions, and campaign finance provisions affecting state question committees. Most changes became effective May 27.

The lobbyist registration renewal deadline has been extended to January 15. Some lobbyist reporting dates were also amended to allow for easier filing after holidays. Executive lobbyist report due dates as well as the January and July legislative lobbyist reports due dates were moved to the 15th of the month. All other legislative reports remain due on the 5th of the month.

Amendment 2017-05, pertaining to lobbyist gifts, passed with an effective date of January 1, 2018. The limit for lobbyist or lobbyist principal gifts given in recognition of infrequently occurring occasions of personal significance will drop from $200 to $100 in any calendar year. Such gifts will be required to be given and received contemporaneously with the occasion or at times when such gifts are traditionally given. Infrequently occurring occasions of personal significance will be limited to major life events and not include annual events such as birthdays or anniversaries. A lobbyist providing a meal to a state officer or employee will be required to be present for the meal. Similarly, a lobbyist providing a gift including attendance at an event will be required to attend the event with the recipient of the gift.

New campaign finance provisions include special requirements for committees formed for the purpose of influencing a state question. Such committees must include the number of the state question as part of the name of the committee. They must also file reports any time an expenditure of $5,000 or more is made to advocate the passage or defeat of a state question. The reports are due at the same time as those for independent expenditures and electioneering communications.

[The details for this article have been updated on our website in the Key Dates, Registration, Reporting, and Gift Law sections of the Lobbying Compliance Laws and Procurement Lobbying Compliance Laws for Oklahoma. Provisions have also been added to the Registration and Reports Required section of the Political Contributions Compliance Laws.]


Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations 

Michael Beckett, Esq., Research Manager

KENTUCKY: U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman struck down Kentucky’s prohibitions on lawmakers accepting gifts from lobbyists and lobbyists making contributions to candidates for the state Legislature. Judge Bertelsman ruled the gift prohibition’s “anything of value” standard is too vague for an ordinary person to know what conduct is prohibited. Furthermore, the judge stated lobbying is a vital part of the political process, and restricting what lobbyists can do in their interactions with a legislator is a violation of their freedom of association. The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission intends to continue enforcement of the provisions until a final order has been issued.

MANITOBA: The Election Financing Amendment Act received Royal Assent on June 1. The new law increases the annual contribution limit for individuals from $3,000 to $5,000 and is indexed for inflation. Other changes to the law include limiting cash contributions to $25 or less, allowing self-employed persons to volunteer services for which they normally charge without the services being considered a contribution, and expanding the definition of election communication as applied to third parties to include communications about issues associated with a political party or a candidate. The law is effective September 1.

MISSOURI: The Ethics Commission recently issued a campaign finance advisory opinion differentiating between political parties and political party committees for the application and enforcement of voter-approved contribution limits. The $25,000 aggregate limit on contributions to a political party does not apply to contributions to a political party committee unless the committee is, by definition, organized to influence voters on behalf of the affiliated political party. The aggregate limit will, therefore, not apply to the state House and state Senate committees for each political party because, while they have historically served such a purpose, they do not actually indicate they are acting on behalf of a political party; rather, it is possible they could choose to support or oppose nonparty candidates or even ballot issues.

MONTANA: Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed a bill to increase the maximum allowable contributions from individuals and political action committees and place the Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices under the jurisdiction of the Office of Attorney General. Senate Bill 368 would also have prohibited the Commissioner of Political Practices from filing criminal cases against candidates and transitioned complaints to the court of the defendant’s residence. In his veto, Bullock stated the bill would undermine the effectiveness of the office and the up to 300 percent increase to some contribution limits was beyond what was acceptable to Montanans.

WEST VIRGINIA: Lawmakers passed two measures dealing with ethics and transparency during the regular legislative session. Effective July 7, House Bill 2001 requires companies contracting with state agencies on contracts over $100,000 to make disclosures listing interested parties to the contract. House Bill 2319 requires candidate committees for members of the Legislature to make additional disclosures of contributions and fundraising events while the Legislature is in session. Bills not approved during the legislative session do not carry over. 


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' online compliance publications for lobbying laws, political contributions, and procurement lobbying. They can be found on a jurisdiction's home page.

Summaries of major bills are also included in the monthly Summary of Changes email update 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 2018
Lobbying Laws 349 46 33 76 65
Political Contributions 519 50 41 125 73
Procurement Lobbying 471 51 45 92 71
 

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 has two quick reference charts in the Lobbying Compliance 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 Compliance 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.


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.

This month's new jurisdiction is:

Dorchester County, Maryland


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.

I am a registered lobbyist in multiple jurisdictions. I know that most of my jurisdictions require me to disclose my time spent in direct communication with legislators, but do I need to disclose my time spent preparing to lobby?

You are correct that most jurisdictions require registered lobbyists to disclose their pro rata compensation for time spent lobbying. However, with the exception of time spent in direct communication with officials, what each state requires to be included in this calculation, can vary drastically.

Some jurisdictions will require registered lobbyists to disclose time spent preparing to lobby as compensation...

 

[For more information on what should be included in your compensation calculation, be sure to check out the Reports Required section of the Lobbying Compliance Laws online publication for each jurisdiction. Please feel free to contact us for additional information.]

 

Click here to read ALL Ask the Experts articles in full

Please fill out the small form to gain access to all articles free! Thanks.

 

Shamus Williams, Esq., Compliance Associate





State and Federal Communications, Inc. Scrapbook

We Celebrate Employee Anniversaries

Each month Elizabeth acknowledges the employment anniversaries of our staff.
Here she is providing tokens of appreciation to staff members.

[Sarah Gray - Compliance Assistant Coordinator and Renold Koozer - Executive Director.
These employees are exceptional leaders of the staff.  Congratulations to you all.
 

Elizabeth Z. Bartz and John P. Chames at
a Western Southern Conference in Maui
with the president of WS, John Barrett.


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

 

Events

July 10, 2017

Akron Community Foundation's 62nd Annual Meeting

Akron, OH

July 11, 2017

NABPAC Roundtable

Washington, DC

July 11, 2017

WGR Toastmasters

Washington, DC

July 13 - 16, 2017

National Governors Association Summer Meeting

Providence, Rhode Island

July 20, 2017

Akron Roundtable

Akron, Ohio

July 25, 2017

WGR Toastmasters

Washington, DC

 


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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