December 30, 2011 •
Pembroke Pines City Commission Approves Lobbyist Registration Ordinance
Lobbyists to Begin Registering January 2, 2012
The city of Pembroke Pines, Florida passed a lobbyist registration ordinance at the most recent city commission meeting. The ordinance requires lobbyists to register with the city clerk prior to engaging in lobbying activities.
Registration will be required annually and lobbyists must pay a registration fee of $50. Lobbyists will also be required to complete a contact log to document meetings with members of the city commission or members of other decision-making bodies under the jurisdiction of the city commission.
The ordinance was passed in response to Broward County’s new code of ethics, which extends the county’s code of ethics to all municipalities within the county. Lobbyists will be required to begin registering on January 2, 2012.
Map of Florida by Bastique on Wikipedia.
December 28, 2011 •
Ohio Ethics Commission Chair Requests No Reappointment
Term of Ben Rose to Expire January 1, 2012
Ohio Ethics Commission Chair Ben Rose has asked Governor John Kasich not to reappoint him to the Commission in 2012.
Rose, who was first appointed to the Commission in 2006, has been elected Chair during each of his last three years.
In making his request, Rose cited desires to become involved in endeavors where a conflict of interest may have been previously raised due to his Commission membership and to spend more time with his family as reasons for his decision.
Rose, whose term expires January 1, 2012, has indicated a willingness to remain on the Commission for a reasonable period of time after the expiration of his appointment until a successor is appointed, if permitted.
December 19, 2011 •
Ohio Governor Signs Bill Combining Two Primaries
New boundaries for the state’s congressional districts
Governor John Kasich signed HB 369 on Thursday, December 15, 2011. The bill consolidated Ohio’s June 12, 2012 primary for the President and U.S. House of Representatives into the state’s March 6, 2012 primary.
The bill also established new boundaries for the state’s 16 congressional districts to settle a dispute over the previous boundaries established earlier this year.
December 15, 2011 •
Ohio Legislature Passes Bill to Consolidate Primary Elections
March 6, 2012 Date Selected as State’s Primary
The Ohio House and Senate have passed HB 369, a measure to consolidate the state’s two 2012 primaries into a single primary date, scheduled for March 6, 2012.
The state originally scheduled two primaries, a March 6, 2012 primary for county partisan offices, the state legislature, and the available U.S. Senate seat, and a June 12, 2012 primary for the President and U.S. House of Representatives, in order to give state lawmakers more time to settle differences concerning Ohio’s map for legislative redistricting.
The bill now moves to the desk of Governor John Kasich for his signature.
December 13, 2011 •
New Campaign Finance Penalties Approved By Ohio House
Measure Moves to Senate
The Ohio House of Representatives has approved House Bill 326, a bill setting criminal penalties for using taxpayer money for political activity. While it is currently illegal in the state to use taxpayer funds for campaign finance purposes, there is no penalty associated with such an action.
The bill calls for a $1,000 penalty and up to six months in jail for violators. The measure now proceeds to the Ohio Senate.
December 8, 2011 •
Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics Issues Gifts Reminder for Holidays
Affects All County and Municipal Employees in the County
The Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics has issued a reminder concerning holiday gifts to county and municipal officials and employees. The Commission noted that holiday gifts given by lobbyists and vendors are still impermissible if the gift exceeds the aggregate $100 per calendar year limit or the gift is given to influence or reward the employee.
The Commission issued the reminder to employees and officers of the county and the 38 municipalities within the county after several requests for advisory opinions were received concerning the subject-matter.
After hearing an explanation of the rules, Ethics Commission Chairman Edward Rodgers questioned whether the rules went a bit far, asking “Are we not serving as a grinch for Christmas?”
Aerial photo of Palm Beach, Florida by Michael Kagdis on Wikipedia.
November 28, 2011 •
New Campaign Finance Rules Proposed in Colorado
Secretary of State Seeks Better Organization, Clarity with Proposed Changes
Secretary of State Scott Gessler has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in regards to the Colorado Secretary of State Rules Concerning Campaign and Political Finance, 8 CCR 1505-6. Gessler has proposed a recodification of the rules in their entirety in an effort to improve organization and readability, clarify existing laws and regulations, and address questions arising under Colorado campaign and political finance laws.
Among the more notable changes, the proposed rules would limit fines for late or incomplete campaign finance reports to no more than $50 a day for 180 days, maximized to $9,000. The rules would also continue to utilize the $5,000 threshold at which issue committees would need to register and report, created by Gessler’s adoption of Campaign and Political Finance Rule 4.27, despite a recent state district court ruling that Gessler did not have the authority to increase the threshold from the constitutionally-mandated figure of $200 despite a finding of the threshold to be too burdensome in the recent Colorado case of Sampson v. Buescher.
A hearing regarding these proposed changes is scheduled for December 15, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Blue Spruce Conference Room on the second floor of the Secretary of State’s Office.
November 28, 2011 •
Connecticut Governor Sets Special Election Date
House District 24 Seat to be Filled January 10, 2012
Governor Dannel P. Malloy has issued a writ of special election setting January 10, 2012 as the date to fill the vacant seat in Connecticut’s 24th house district.
The seat became vacant after former state representative Timothy O’Brien left the position November 15, 2011. O’Brien, who had represented the district since 2003, resigned his seat after he was elected to the position of mayor in the city of New Britain, Connecticut during the 2011 general election held on November 8.
November 23, 2011 •
Nebraska Special Session Adjourns
Legislature in Special Session Since November 1
The special session of the Nebraska Legislature adjourned sine die on November 22, 2011.
The session, which began November 1, 2011, concerned the Keystone XL crude-oil pipeline project’s intended route through the state. The special session was called by Governor Dave Heinemen to focus on proposed bills intended to reroute the pipeline around a region of the state rich in groundwater. As a result of the session, two measures in relation to the pipeline were passed.
For more information about the measures passed and the special session, you can read the Legislature’s official news release, “Two pipeline measures approved; Legislature adjourns” on the Unicameral Update page.
Photo of the Nebraska Legislative Chamber by ensignbeedrill on Wikipedia.
November 21, 2011 •
State Court Rules Against Colorado Secretary of State
Appeal of Ruling is Planned
The Denver District Court has ruled Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler did not have the authority to raise contribution thresholds concerning when state issue committees have to register and report their activity.
At issue was Gessler’s adoption of Campaign and Political Finance Rule 4.27, which increased from $200 to $5,000 the threshold at which an issue committee must register and report. The $200 threshold, set by the Colorado Constitution, was found to be too burdensome in the recent Colorado case of Sampson v. Buescher.
The court determined that, despite the conflict, Gessler’s alteration of the constitutionally mandated $200 threshold was an impermissible unilateral alteration of the Colorado Constitution. Gessler plans to appeal the ruling.
November 15, 2011 •
Kentucky Governor Sets Special Election Date
82nd House District Seat Up for Grabs
Governor Steve Beshear has called for a special election on Tuesday, December 20, 2011 to fill the vacant 82nd House District seat.
The seat became vacant after former state Rep. Dewayne Bunch resigned his position last month as a result of head injuries he obtained while breaking up a fight at Whitley County High School. Bunch, who taught at the school, was left in “extremely critical” condition following the April 12, 2011 altercation.
Regina Bunch, wife to the former representative, has been named by the local Republican Party to be the party’s nominee. Local Democrat officials have stated they currently have no plans to pick a nominee to oppose Bunch.
November 8, 2011 •
Mississippi Campaign Finance Suit Heard in Federal Court
No Immediate Ruling Concerning Registration and Reporting Provisions
A federal lawsuit concerning a Mississippi campaign finance law requiring registration and reporting upon spending at least $200 to support or oppose ballot initiatives was heard last week in U.S. District Court.
The case stems from the desire of five Lafayette County, Mississippi residents who would like to spend $1,000 to publicly support their views in favor of Mississippi Initiative 31, which limits the government’s use of eminent domain to take private land. The residents argued their First Amendment freedom of speech and association rights have been violated as a result of the campaign finance provisions and seek to have the law declared unconstitutional and unenforceable.
The case was heard by U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock, but she did not immediately issue a ruling.
November 2, 2011 •
New Rules Affecting Lobbyists Considered in Palm Beach County
Countywide Lobbyist Registration and Rules Sought
Persons lobbying within any of Palm Beach County’s 38 cities and towns may soon have to register as lobbyists as part of a proposed countywide lobbyist registry and standardized set of rules.
If approved, the new rules would apply to all persons lobbying municipal personnel. Some concerns have been raised as to the definition of lobbyists and the potential inclusion in that definition of unpaid lobbyists.
If approved, a $25 registration fee per principal represented would be instituted and expenditures exceeding $25 in specified categories would be required to be reported.
October 26, 2011 •
Nebraska Governor Calls Special Session
Special Session to Focus on Oil Pipeline to Run through State
Governor Dave Heinemen has called for a special session of the Nebraska Legislature to focus on proposed bills intended to reroute the Keystone XL crude-oil pipeline around a region of the state rich in groundwater. The session is scheduled to begin November 1, 2011, and is expected to last at least two weeks.
The call for a special session comes after weeks of debate as to whether such a session was necessary, as well as whether passing legislation pertaining to the pipeline would be constitutional and legal at this point in the process of planning the project.
For more information, you can read “Gov. calls for pipeline session” by Paul Hammel in the Omaha World-Herald.
Photo of the Nebraska Legislature Chamber by ensignbeedrill on Wikipedia.
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