December 12, 2011 •
Regulations take effect January 1, 2012
The California Fair Political Practices Commission has approved changes to the gift regulations which will take effect on January 1, 2012.
Changes to the regulations include the ability for public officials to accept gifts from lobbyists without disclosure if a dating relationship exists.
Additionally, officials will be able to accept tickets to sporting events if the officials are attending the event to perform a ceremonial duty.
In such circumstances, the gifts are to be reported by the agency and not the official.
December 6, 2011 •
Vote on Proposed Resolution Scheduled for Today
The Los Angeles City Council will vote today on a proposed resolution which calls on the U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment declaring only living persons, not corporations, have constitutional rights and money is not the same as free speech.
The resolution, proposed in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, further declares the Citizens United decision supersedes state and local efforts to regulate corporate political activity.
If the resolution passes, Los Angeles will join other municipalities such as Missoula, Montana and Boulder, Colorado which have passed similar resolutions.
Seal of the City of Los Angeles by Mysid on Wikipedia.
November 14, 2011 •
Sacramento Bee reports
The Sacramento Bee reported last week that California’s Fair Political Practices Commission has opted for a $30,000 fine against lobbyist Frank Molina, instead of the higher $5o,000 fine it had considered.
You can read the whole story here: “FPPC sticks with $30,000 fine for lobbyist Frank Molina,” by Laurel Rosenhall and Torey Van Oot.
Seal of the State of California by Zscout370 on Wikipedia.
November 7, 2011 •
Committee Designation to be Addressed
The Fair Political Practices Commission has issued notice of proposed amendments to the California Code of Regulations to be considered at a public hearing on December 8, 2011. The proposed regulations codify commission guidance instructing filers to treat an in-kind contribution of the services of salaried personnel to a committee and the expenditure by the person making the salary payment as a contribution made on the payroll date of the salaried personnel.
The commission will also consider regulations which differentiate a contribution from a donation. Under the proposed regulation, a contribution is a payment made for a political purpose and includes payments to a multi-purpose organization. By contrast, a payment to a multi-purpose organization that is not made or used for a political purpose is to be treated as a donation and not a contribution for the purposes of identifying reportable contributions.
Lastly, the commission will consider amendments to the provisions pertaining to primarily formed and general purpose committees to assist filers in determining which label fits the purpose and structure of their committee.
The regulations define a general purpose committee as an ongoing committee which supports multiple candidates and measures in successive elections. General purpose committees include associations, political action committees, political party committees, major donors, as well as entities and individuals making independent expenditures.
The regulation proposes a standard for determining whether a committee is a state, county, or city general purpose committee. A committee will be considered a city or county committee if more than 70 percent of their activity is at the city or county level. Classification as a state committee will be the default.
Pursuant to the proposed regulation, a primarily formed committee is a committee formed or existing to support a single candidate or measure in a specific election. A committee will be considered primarily formed if more than 70 percent of the committee’s contributions and expenditures are for specific candidates or measures during the 24 months preceding the date where the candidate or measure is on the ballot.
Image of the Seal of California by Zscout370 on Wikipedia.
November 1, 2011 •
Candidates, Candidate Controlled Committees, and Independent Committees Affected
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors has approved ordinance number 913 which makes electronic campaign finance disclosure mandatory for candidates, candidate controlled committees, and independent committees which receive contributions or make expenditures of $5,000 or more.
Once the electronic reporting threshold has been met, all subsequent reports must be filed electronically.
The ordinance will take effect on November 28, 2011.
October 24, 2011 •
Third Party Disclaimer, Disclosure, and Reporting to be Required
The San Francisco Ethics Commission has approved amendments to the campaign finance reform ordinance. The language of the amendments is forthcoming and will be approved by the commission at the November 14, 2011 meeting.
Amendments that were proposed and approved at the October 19, 2011 commission meeting include disclaimer, disclosure, and reporting requirements for communications that are paid for by third parties concerning candidates for city elective office, an affirmation of the $500 per person contribution limit to candidates, and permission for campaign funds to be used by a candidate to attend a fundraiser for a charitable organization. The commission also approved a provision which will allow the commission to modify the $500 limit to reflect the consumer price index for future elections.
The commission further clarified that a candidate may transfer funds from the candidate’s committee only before the funds become surplus.
October 19, 2011 •
Modifies voluntary campaign expenditure limits and blackout periods
The San Jose City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, October 18 to change the city’s campaign finance laws. Changes approved include the elimination of the city’s blackout periods which prohibit campaign contributions within 17 days of a regular election and within seven days of a special election.
Per the new law, the voluntary candidate campaign expenditure limits will increase from $1.00 per resident per election to $1.25. The rate for mayoral elections will remain the same at $0.75 per resident per election.
Further changes implemented by the new law eliminate an increase in the voluntary expenditure cap triggered by the fundraising efforts of other candidates and independent committees who do not choose to accept the limit.
October 17, 2011 •
Voluntary Ethics Course and Pledge to be Considered
The Torrance City Council will consider recommendations to revise its ethics laws at the October 18, 2011 city council meeting.
The recommendations to be considered include amending the code of ethics to extend to candidates for elective office and adopting guidelines which include a voluntary ethics course and ethics pledge for elected officials, appointed officials, and candidates for elective office.
October 10, 2011 •
Changes registration and reporting requirements for placement agents
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed senate bill 398 into law. The bill alters definitions and reporting requirements for those who do business with the board of a public pension or retirement system to manage securities or other assets and went into effect upon signature.
Specifically, the new law modifies the definition of external managers to mean a person who is seeking to be, or is, retained by a board or an investment vehicle to manage a portfolio of securities or other assets for compensation, or a person who manages an investment fund, and who offers or sells, or has offered or sold an ownership interest in the investment fund to a board or investment vehicle. The law also alters the definition of a placement agent to a person directly or indirectly hired, engaged, or retained by, or serving for the benefit of or on behalf of, an external manger and who acts or has acted for compensation as a finder, solicitor, marketer, consultant, broker, or other intermediary in connection with the offer or sale to a board or investment vehicle either the investment management services of the external manager or an ownership interest in an investment fund managed by the external manager.
Additional changes made as the result of the new law include the exemption of placement agents from any requirements imposed by a local government agency, including lobbyist registration and reporting, if the placement agent is an employee, officer, or director of an external manager, or of an affiliate of an external manager, and the external manager is registered as an investment adviser or a broker-dealer with the Securities and Exchange Commission or any state securities regulator. Further, placement agents are exempt from local requirements if the external manager is participating in a competitive bidding process, such as a request for proposal, or has been selected through a competitive bidding process and is providing services pursuant to a contract executed as a result of that bidding process, or when the external manager, if selected through competitive bidding, has agreed to a fiduciary standard of care for the contract.
October 4, 2011 •
Board Members to be affected
State Senator Lou Correa is planning to introduce legislation that would make members of the public who are appointed to serve on boards subject to the state’s revolving door provision.
The legislation would require that all board members wait 12 months after terminating board service before lobbying their former colleagues.
Photo of the California Senate chamber by David Monniaux on Wikipedia.
September 28, 2011 •
Ordinance to be Drafted.
The San Bernardino County supervisors voted to endorse a plan to limit campaign contributions at their September 27, 2011 meeting. The supervisors further voted to direct the county counsel’s office to draft an ordinance to be voted on by the supervisors at a future meeting.
The current plan would allow individuals to donate up to $3,900 per election cycle. Small contributor committees would be permitted to donate $7,800 per election cycle.
September 26, 2011 •
Proposal to set limits for individuals, businesses, and PACs
Two San Bernardino County supervisors will introduce a proposal at the Board of Supervisors meeting on September 27, 2011 which would create a law regulating political contributions for county elections.
The supervisors hope to impose and enforce limits on contributions from individuals, businesses, and political action committees contributing to county elections.
The image of the San Bernardino County Seal by Jetijones on Wikipedia.
September 13, 2011 •
Candidates and PACs to be affected
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors will be considering a proposal today which would make electronic filing mandatory for all campaign finance reports filed by candidates and PACs.
The county registrar of voters presently has a system that allows for electronic filing; however, use of the system is optional.
The move to mandatory electronic filing is being proposed as a mechanism to increase transparency.
September 7, 2011 •
California was admitted into the Union 161 years ago
On this day in history 161 years ago, September 7, 1850, California was admitted to enter into the Union as a free state as part of the Compromise of 1850.
Two days after the House passed the bill, President Millard Filmore signed the measure into law, allowing California to enter the union as the 31st state on September 9th.
Read more from The Office of the Clerk.
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