May 31, 2011 •
As part of Governor Deval Patrick’s reforms for small businesses operating in the state, starting July 1 the Operational Services Division will no longer charge the annual $275 fee for businesses participating in the Commonwealth’s Procurement Access and Solicitation System (Comm-PASS). The state is also eliminating the fee it charges businesses to shop for health care under the independent state agency Commonwealth Choice. Another announced reform increases the upper threshold of Massachusetts’s preferential small procurement competitive bidding range from $50,000 to $150,000.
Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez said the reforms are focused on “creating opportunities for small businesses, creating jobs for our residents, and containing health care costs so businesses can survive and thrive.”
Photo of Governor Devol Patrick by Scott LaPierre on Wikipedia.
November 23, 2010 •
The Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) has released its Fall 2010 newsletter.
Included in the newsletter is guidance detailing the new requirement for mayoral candidates in cities with population sizes between 40,000 and 100,000 persons to file electronically with OCPF rather than with local elections officers. Starting this coming January with the year-end report due on January 20, 2011, mayoral candidates are required to file with OCPF if they anticipate raising or spending $5,000 or more during an election cycle. During election years, mayoral candidates will file three reports with OCPFL: the pre-primary, pre-election and year end reports. In non-election years, candidates will only file a year-end report.
According to recent census figures, candidates in 23 Massachusetts cities are affected by the new requirement. The largest of these cities are Quincy, New Bedford, Fall River and Brockton. Mayoral candidates in Boston, Lowell, Worcester, Springfield, and Cambridge already file their reports with OCPF.
Other changes to state law will require Internet disclosure for all municipal candidates who raise or spend $1,000 or more during a reporting period. The paper reports for candidates for city council, selectmen, school committee candidates, and local ballot question committees will now be posted to municipal websites by local election officials. The OCPF newsletter may be found here.
Photo of Boston by Riptor3000 on Wikipedia.
November 8, 2010 •
The agency will offer instruction and take your questions regarding campaign finance law.
The Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) will host a campaign finance seminar on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at the OCPF offices located at One Ashburton Place, Room 411 in Boston. Topics under discussion include but are not limited to: filing and disclosure requirements for all types of candidates, PACs and other committees; the application of the campaign finance law to political activity by public employees, including the restriction on employees’ fundraising and on fundraising in government buildings; restrictions on the use of public resources to influence voters in ballot question elections on the local level, and electronic filing.
The seminar begins at 2 p.m. Reservations are not required.
October 18, 2010 •
Agency reminds filers they must file 72-hour reports for late contributions
The Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) has reminded state and county candidates, state party committees, and ballot question committees they must now file 72-hour late contribution reports if they receive and deposit contributions of $500 or more shortly before a primary or general election. In the case of the upcoming November 2nd general election, the reporting period runs from October 16 to October 29.
The new change to state law specifically requires disclosure, within 72 hours, of contributions of $500 or more which are deposited within 18 days of an election. The new law does not, however, require 72-hour reports for large deposits made within three days before an election. For instance, reports would not have to be filed for for late contributions deposited from October 30 to November 1, the three days prior to Election Day on November 2nd.
September 22, 2010 •
The State Ethics Commission will hold a public hearing Thursday, September 23rd, 2010, regarding proposed regulation 930 CMR 7.00 which will define the term “governmental body” for the purposes of prohibiting revolving door lobbying in the state.
The new regulation, which implements one of the requirements of the ethics reform legislation passed in 2009, would prohibit former employees of state agencies, authorities, and other entities from lobbying their former “governmental body” for one year after leaving their employment with the state.
The meeting will take place at the Ethics Commission offices located at 1 Ashburton Place, 21st floor, in Boston. The meeting will commence at 10 a.m. and is expected to adjourn at 2 p.m.
July 21, 2010 •
A new Massachusetts rule regarding independent expenditure PACs takes effect July 16.
The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) has issued an emergency rule regarding independent expenditures by political action committees.
Emergency Rule 970 C.M.R. 2.17, which states a political action committee only raising funds to make independent expenditures, and then only making independent expenditures, will be regarded as an independent expenditure PAC. Unlike other PACs, independent expenditure PACs may raise funds from individuals without limit, and from corporations and other entities otherwise prohibited from contributing to PACs pursuant to Massachusetts law. Independent expenditure PACs are subject to all other requirements applying to other PACs, including disclosure requirements.
An independent expenditure PAC may not directly or indirectly coordinate its campaign activity with any Massachusetts candidate or political committee. If the independent expenditure PAC makes a coordinated expenditure it becomes a PAC subject to all requirements, including limits on contributions applying to other PACs.
Finally, the term “election” includes any preliminary, primary, or special general election. All preliminary reports of independent expenditures must be filed electronically. The emergency rule was effective upon filing on Friday, July 16, 2010.
Photo from the National Atlas of the United States.
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