March 4, 2011 •
Delegate Introduces Bill
Delegate Dan Morhaim has introduced a bill with the goal of increasing the effectiveness of Maryland’s procurement process. House Bill 628 would create a commission to study streamlining and increasing the efficiency of the state’s contracting procedures.
Among the goals of the commission would be a more uniform application of the procurement law and an increased centralization of the procurement system. The membership of the commission would include individuals from private sector industries such as technology, construction, commodities, and other professional services.
The commission’s one year term would end with a report of its findings and recommendations to both the Governor and the General Assembly.
February 2, 2011 •
Lobbying Exceptions Provided
Delegate Anthony J. O’Donnell introduced a bill creating a cooling off period for executive branch officials who wish to lobby upon leaving office. House Bill 0027 would prohibit former state and public officials of the executive branch from lobbying, or assisting in lobbying, for compensation in matters of legislative action for a period of one year after leaving employment.
The bill provides an exception permitting the former officials to lobby for a municipal corporation, county, or state governmental entity.
Photo of the Maryland Statehouse in Annapolis by Thisisbossi on Wikipedia.
January 10, 2011 •
County Executive offers Rules
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker is proposing the General Assembly pass an ethics law prohibiting local council members from reviewing land use cases where there has been no appeal. Currently, when a planning board has decided an outcome, and there is no appeal by either the developer or the resident, the council can still choose to ‘call’ up the case. Baker wants to prevent this procedure because the purpose may be to seek concessions from developers.
Baker is also proposing they pass legislation similar to what has already been proposed by Delegate Justin Ross, requiring local officials to recuse themselves from voting on building projects if a developer contributed to a shared campaign account affiliated with the official. Presently, local leaders may vote on land use projects while indirectly receiving political contribution from these developers through accounts shared with General Assembly candidates.
January 7, 2011 •
An Advisory Committee on Campaign Finance created by Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler has issued a report recommending changes to the state’s campaign finance laws. Among the 25 recommendations are treating LLC clusters and all other legal entities with common ownership or control as single entities for contribution limit purposes, requiring disclosure from any non-political party group making independent expenditures for the election or defeat of a candidate, and requiring loan-related violations of campaign contribution limits to be assessed against candidates as well as lenders.
The committee suggested further study for issues regarding how campaign finance laws apply to “new media,” including requiring the reporting of sub-vendor information, to prevent covert campaigning by candidates and their committees through anonymous sources.
December 2, 2010 •
Shared Campaign Accounts Are Issue
Maryland General Assembly Delegate Justin Ross will introduce legislation requiring local officials to recuse themselves from voting on building projects if a developer contributed to a shared campaign account affiliated with the official.
Presently, local leaders may vote on land use projects while indirectly receiving political contribution from these developers through accounts shared with General Assembly candidates.
In addition to the officials recusing themselves, developers would have to provide detailed information about all contributions to individual and shared accounts when they are requesting a land use decision from a council.
October 20, 2010 •
Bill Introduced to City Council
Baltimore City Council President Bernard Young introduced legislation to expand the city’s rules on lobbying. The Promoting Honesty in Lobbying bill requires individuals paid any dollar amount for lobbying to register as lobbyists. Currently, individuals are only required to register as lobbyists if they earn $2,500 or more.
Registration would also be required of individuals spending 20 percent or more of their time over a six-month period on lobbying. Lobbyists would have to report total expenditures for grassroots lobbying, including those for print, audio, visual, and electronic publications. Among other provisions of the bill is the prohibition of a lobbyist stating he or she can obtain the vote of a councilmember.
Photo by Nfutvol on Wikipedia.
July 22, 2010 •
Maryland Lawmakers Regulate Social Media Activity
Lawmakers adopted rules for candidates using social networking Web sites, making Maryland one of the first states to regulate such activity.
Here are two articles for further reading:
“Candidates Must Adhere to New Social Media Rules,” by Julie Bykowicz in the Baltimore Sun
“Maryland Lawmakers Pass New Election Law Restricting Facebook Today,” by Chet Dembeck in the Baltimore Examiner
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.