July 25, 2012 •
Timing will allow new senator and delegate time to prepare for 2013 session
Governor Bob McDonnell has set September 4, 2012 as the date of a special election to fill the seats for Senate District 5 and House District 45. The District 5 seat was previously held by the late Senator Yvonne Miller, who passed away July 3, 2012. The District 45 seat is currently held by Delegate David Englin, who announced his resignation effective August 31, 2012.
Governor McDonnell stated in his press release that the timing of the special election will allow the new senator and delegate adequate time to prepare for the 2013 legislative session, as well as allow time to hold a subsequent special election if needed.
July 18, 2012 •
Election coincides with general election for other races
Governor Phil Bryant has set November 6, 2012 as the date of a special election to fill the District 19 senate seat.
The seat was previously held by retired Senator Merle Flowers, who resigned effective July 11, citing a need to spend more time with his family.
Photo of Governor Bryant courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted on Wikipedia.
July 12, 2012 •
Secretary of State hopes to have a searchable database ready for the 2014 elections
It will be two more years before Vermont’s campaign finance reports are available in a searchable database, according to the secretary of state’s office.
Currently, Vermont offers scanned copies of campaign finance reports online, but there is no easy way to search for donor names or contribution totals, and handwriting on the forms may be difficult to read. The secretary of state hoped that such a database would be available for the 2014 elections, but is unable to give a precise timetable or detailed costs.
Common Cause Vermont recently compiled its own searchable database for the 2010 state elections.
July 5, 2012 •
Registration separate from county requirements
The school board of Orange County, Florida is now requiring lobbyists to register. Registrations are filed with the school board and are separate from the county’s registration requirements. Lobbyists must register prior to July 1 of each year, or prior to lobbying if representation of a principal commences after July 1.
Lobbyists must file an annual report of all lobbying expenditures made during the preceding calendar year on or before April 1 of each year, whether or not any expenditures were made during the reporting period.
June 28, 2012 •
Recommendations submitted to legislative research commission
The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission has submitted a recommendation to the legislative research commission for several changes to the code of legislative ethics.
The recommended changes include:
- requiring employers of lobbyists to report the cost of advertising supporting or opposing legislation that appears during a session of the general assembly, if the cost is paid by an employer of lobbyists or a person affiliated with an employer;
- prohibiting employers of lobbyists and PACs from making campaign contributions to legislative candidates or legislators during a regular session of the general assembly, and prohibiting lobbyists from directly soliciting contributions for an election campaign of a legislator or legislative candidate;
- repeal the provision allowing each lobbyist and employer to spend up to $100 annually on food and beverages for each legislator and his or her immediate family, and prohibit lobbyists and employers from paying for out-of-state travel, food, or lodging expenses for legislators or candidates; and
- limiting the interaction between lobbyists and candidates who have filed to run for election to the general assembly, who are currently not subject to the $100 limit on food and beverage or prohibition on receiving anything of value from a lobbyist or employer.
June 25, 2012 •
Vermont Right to Life Committee plans to appeal
A federal judge has upheld Vermont’s contribution limits on political action committees. Vermont Right to Life Committee (VRLC) and its related political committee, Vermont Right to Life Committee – Fund for Independent Political Expenditures (FIPE), filed suit alleging that Vermont’s registration, reporting, and disclosure requirements for PACs are too broad and unconstitutional, and that FIPE should not be subject to the $2,000 limit on PAC contributions because it only makes independent expenditures.
The judge rejected FIPE’s claim that it should not be subject to the contribution limits on the basis that there is a “fluidity of funds” between FIPE and VRLC that provides no safeguard against unlimited contributions being used to fund candidate contributions.
Secretary of State Jim Condos applauded the ruling; however, the opinion makes clear that the decision to uphold the $2,000 contribution limit weighed heavily on the facts of the case, in particular the lack of separation between FIPE and VRLC. VRLC plans to appeal the ruling.
June 15, 2012 •
An override is unlikely
Governor Dannel Malloy vetoed House Bill 5556 today, June 15, 2012. The campaign finance bill would have required corporate board authorization for campaign-related expenditures of $4,000 or more and disclosure of donor identities for donations aggregating $1,000 or more.
The bill was opposed by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association, who argued that the bill would have a chilling effect on contributions.
The bill did not pass with a two-thirds vote, making a veto override unlikely.
June 12, 2012 •
House majority leader to preside over session
The Connecticut General Assembly will convene a special session at 11 a.m. today, June 12, 2012.
House speaker Chris Donovan will not be presiding over the session, instead allowing the house majority leader to handle the leadership responsibilities after Speaker Donovan’s former campaign finance manager was arrested for allegedly conspiring to conceal the source of $20,000 in campaign contributions. The contributions were purportedly linked to a bill imposing taxes on roll-your-own cigarette businesses, which is expected to be voted on during today’s session.
Speaker Donovan does plan to participate in the session.
Photo of the Connecticut State Capitol by jglazer75 on Wikipedia.
June 11, 2012 •
Replaces previous online system
The secretary of the commonwealth’s office launched a new online lobbyist disclosure system Monday, June 11, 2012. The new system, available here, replaces the previous online filing system.
Lobbyists will use the account they created for the new registration system last month to access the online disclosure system. The new system allows lobbyists to sign their disclosure form electronically, and does not require a hard-copy signature follow-up.
The secretary of the commonwealth’s office strongly encourages lobbyists to file their disclosure statements electronically rather than mailing a hard copy.
May 14, 2012 •
Electronic registration is now available
The new lobbyist registration ordinance in Palm Beach County took effect April 2, 2012. The expenditure report due date is now November 1 of each year, and continues to cover the period from October 1 – September 30.
Electronic registration is now available in addition to paper registration. Registrations now must also include the phone number of the lobbyist and principal, their signatures where both may be made electronically, and the county or municipalities to be lobbied.
The ordinance specifically excludes from expenditure reporting the salaries of the lobbyist and principal, office overhead expenses, and personal expenses for lodging, meals, and travel.
All registrations on file and in effect with the county prior to the ordinance’s effective date remain in full force and effect.
May 14, 2012 •
Legislators return today
The regular legislative session in Kansas continues this week despite a scheduled end date of May 11, 2012.
Legislators must return Monday, May 14, 2012, to address major legislation such as the state budget and reforms to the public employees retirement system.
Photo of the Kansas State Capitol Building by Aviper2k7 on Wikipedia.
May 10, 2012 •
Colorado and Connecticut
Colorado: The General Assembly adjourned May 9, 2012. Governor John Hickenlooper announced his intention to call a special session, primarily to address a civil unions bill. The special session could begin as early as Friday.
Connecticut: The General Assembly adjourned May 9, 2012.
May 9, 2012 •
Bill now goes to Governor Malloy
The Connecticut House and Senate passed House Bill 5556 on May 8, 2012. The bill makes changes to Connecticut’s campaign finance disclosure law, requiring corporate board authorization for campaign-related expenditures exceeding $4,000 and disclosure of donor identities for donations aggregating $1,000 or more.
The bill now awaits action by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, although the governor’s general counsel has indicated that there are constitutional concerns with the bill, raising the possibility of a veto.
May 2, 2012 •
A new electronic lobbyist registration is now available for the Commonwealth of Virginia. All lobbyists, including those already registered for 2012-2013, will need to create a new account on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Lobbyist Registration Portal and complete a new lobbyist registration.
New accounts must be activated through the confirmation e-mail sent from the state.
Lobbyists will also receive a confirmation e-mail when their electronic registration has been approved by the state.
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