October 8, 2013 •
State key dates and session information added
State Key Dates and Legislative Sessions for 2014 are now available on State and Federal Communications’ website.
The Key Dates represent registration and reporting dates for those involved in lobbying and election and reporting dates for campaign finance.
September 23, 2013 •
Ordinance replaces unenforced state law on local level
City Council passed an ordinance creating registration and reporting requirements for organizations involved in making independent expenditures. Organizations supporting or opposing any candidate for mayor, alderperson, or municipal judge are required to register with the city clerk upon accepting contributions made for, incurring obligations for, or making independent expenditures exceeding $25 in the aggregate during a calendar year. Such organizations are also required to file reports as required by Wisconsin Statutes.
The ordinance is meant to take the place of a provision no longer enforced by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) after it reached a settlement in a suit filed by two advocacy groups. As such, the ordinance is ripe for challenge on the same grounds as the original GAB rule was challenged.
Photo of the Madison skyline by Patrick43470 on Wikimedia Commons.
September 23, 2013 •
Changes would expand scope
The city is seeking to upgrade the city’s ethics code. Several changes have been proposed, including expanded penalties for violations, expanding the scope to cover people, adding a revolving door provision, and increasing the specificity of the gift definition.
Once finalized, approval by city council is expected early next year.
Photo of Spokane by Mark Wagner on Wikimedia Commons.
September 20, 2013 •
Election goes forward despite Thompson’s concession
Democratic mayoral candidate William Thompson conceded and threw his support behind leading vote-getter and fellow Democrat Bill de Blasio.
However, because Thompson failed to withdraw from the race by the September 13 deadline, the mayoral runoff will continue to appear on the runoff ballot.
The runoff election is set for October 1, 2013.
De Blasio will face Republican Joe Lhota in the November 5 general election.
Photo of the New York City skyline by AngMoKio on Wikimedia Commons.
September 20, 2013 •
Fills vacancy in 78th House District Seat
January 28, 2014 has been set as the date of a special election for the vacant 78th House District seat.
Local committee members from each party will select the nominees in conjunction with the state party.
As a result, there will be no primary election.
September 20, 2013 •
Fills vacancy in 21st Assembly District
Gov. Scott Walker has called a special election to fill a vacancy in the 21st Assembly District.
The election will be held November 19, 2013.
If more than one candidate files for the seat, a primary election will be held October 22, 2013.
September 11, 2013 •
Legislation would close “loophole” in state law
Several members of city council announced the introduction of legislation to reform independent expenditures made in the city. The legislation would close a “loophole” in state campaign finance law allowing limited liability companies to give at the individual aggregate contribution limit of $150,000 instead of the corporate aggregate limit of $5,000. Such a change would only apply to city elections.
The legislation would also require the disclosure of the top donors to independent expenditure communications.
Finally, the legislation would force any independent expenditure communication to inform voters the communication was not subject to the city’s campaign finance laws.
Photo of the New York City Hall by Momos on Wikipedia.
August 29, 2013 •
Laws were found to be unenforceable
The DuPage County Board repealed its pay-to-play provisions after learning from the state’s attorney’s office the provisions were unenforceable. As a non-home rule county, the county did not have the power to act on limiting campaign contributions because it was not specifically granted that power by the state legislature.
The changes were enacted as part of an otherwise minor update to the county’s ethics code. Provisions requiring disclosure of campaign contributions by contractors remain in place.
August 23, 2013 •
Session to address vetoed bills
Governor Pat McCrory has issued a proclamation calling for a special session to convene at noon on September 3, 2013.
However, if a majority of legislators write declaring they do not want to meet, no session will occur.
The purpose of the session is to consider overriding the governor’s vetoes.
August 21, 2013 •
August 14, 2013 •
Session to address invalided litigation reform law
Governor Mary Fallin issued an executive order calling for legislators to return to the capitol for a special session to begin September 3, 2013.
The order specifies the special session will deal only with the issue of how lawsuits are filed, which became a problem after the Oklahoma Supreme Court invalidated a law on that topic.
August 8, 2013 •
Agrees not to enforce law
A federal judge approved an order proposed by Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and a state PAC in which Tennant agreed not to enforce a law capping contributions to independent expenditure committees at $1,000.
The PAC had filed suit contesting the law, and the judge granted a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of the law.
Tennant decided it was not in the best interests of the state to continue to fight the issue in light of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United.
March 25, 2013 •
Some legislators head home to recharge
As students from grade school to grad school spend the week away from their studies, members of Congress and state legislatures are also taking time away from contentious issues and floor debates for a spring break of their own. The United States Congress is taking two weeks off to return home.
The legislatures in Alabama, California, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are also in recess this week and, in some cases, next week as well. New York is scheduled to be in its yearly Passover and Easter recess, but budget wrangling is delaying the start of the break.
A handful of states have already completed their spring recess, and Nebraska has a recess scheduled for April.
March 6, 2013 •
Bills were priorities of Senate President
On the first day of the 2013 legislative session the Florida Senate unanimously passed ethics reform bills.
The bills add revolving door provisions, increase the responsibilities of the ethics commission, and require financial disclosure reports to be posted online.
The reform package now moves to the House, where somewhat different versions of the legislation are already under consideration.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.