March 12, 2012 •
Four state legislatures report end to sessions
FLORIDA: The 2012 session of the Florida legislature adjourned on Friday, March 9th. Governor Rick Scott now has 15 days to sign or veto legislation, or the legislation will become law without his signature. Additionally, Governor Scott has called the legislature back to Tallahassee for a special session, set to begin Wednesday, March 14th. The session is slated to deal with the Florida Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the legislature’s redistricting plan for the state Senate.
INDIANA: Lawmakers concluded the 2012 legislative session at nearly 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 10th.
VIRGINIA: The General Assembly concluded the 2012 legislative session on Saturday, March 10, 2012. The assembly introduced 2,875 bills during the 60-day legislative session. Nearly 1,600 passed, and the Governor has already signed over 200 into law.
WEST VIRGINIA: The legislature of West Virginia adjourned sine die shortly before midnight on Saturday, March 10, 2012. The legislature then reconvened shortly thereafter on Sunday, March 11, 2012, to begin work on the 2012 extended budget session.
February 6, 2012 •
Because of the social media capabilities of the latest mobile devices, the West Virginia Legislature is putting out a reminder to lawmakers about the ban on electronic communications during floor sessions.
For full news coverage, read:
“W.Va. lawmakers navigate lobby ban, social media” by The Associated Press in the Washington Examiner.
“W.Va. lawmakers seek buffer from e-lobbying but not blockade with public in social media age” by Lawrence Messina (Associated Press) in The Republic.
Photo of the West Virginia State Capitol Building by Analogue Kid on Wikipedia.
January 12, 2012 •
Here is a selection of redistricting news items from around the nation.
Florida: “Senate committee finalizes redistricting maps as Democrats split” Mary Ellen Klas in the Miami Herald.
“Democrats prepare for partisan redistricting debate” by Aaron Deslatte in the Orlando Sentinel.
Kentucky: “Panel approves state House redistricting plan over Republican protests” by Jack Brammer in the Lexington Herald-Leader.
North Carolina: “N.C. lawyers want redistricting challenges dismissed“by The Associated Press in the Greensboro News & Record.
Texas:“Republicans say Texas may need to hold two primaries” by Aman Batheja in the Star-Telegram.
“More Confusion in Redistricting Case” by Richard Whittaker in The Austin Chronicle.
West Virginia: “W.Va. redistricting deadline lifted, but election calendar looms” by Lawrence Messina (Associated Press) in the Charleston Gazette.
December 12, 2011 •
November 14, 2011 •
Election Results Certified
The West Virginia Legislature convened for a special session on November 13, 2011 to certify election results.
The house has adjourned sine die.
The senate will reconvene at 6 p.m. on November 14, 2011.
Photo of the West Virginia State House by Analogue Kid on Wikipedia.
November 3, 2011 •
Election Results to be Certified and Declared
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has called a special session to be held on November 13, 2011.
The purpose of the session will be to certify and declare the results of the October 4, 2011 special election.
August 23, 2011 •
August 15, 2011 •
Will Address Redistricting
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has called another special session of the state Legislature to address redistricting following his veto of the redistricting bill passed during the last special session.
The special session will begin at noon on Thursday, August 18, 2011.
Photo of the West Virginia State Capitol building by Analogue Kid on Wikipedia.
July 27, 2011 •
July 20, 2011 •
Court strikes down electioneering communications law
Judge Thomas Johnston of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia has struck down key provisions of campaign finance law pertaining to electioneering communications.
In a suit filed by West Virginians for Life and the Center for Individual Freedom, the court held that while the state of West Virginia could regulate advertisements that “can have no other reasonable meaning than to urge the election or defeat of one or more clearly identified candidates,” the state could not require financial disclosures from third party groups creating advertisements that are merely “susceptible” to the interpretation that they are an appeal for or against a specific candidate.
Further, the court struck down the extension of electioneering communication regulations to print media while upholding the applicability of such regulations to broadcast media.
May 13, 2011 •
West Virginia’s ethics panel decided the law does not include independent contractors.
The West Virginia Ethics Commission has concluded it cannot prevent an employee of the Legislature from avoiding the state’s newly passed “revolving door” ban if he changes his status from an employee to an independent contractor before the law takes effect on July 1, 2011.
Under the pending law, elected officials and certain high-ranking unelected employees will be forbidden from acting as lobbyists for one year after leaving public employment. The commission decided this law does not include independent contractors.
This decision comes after a request for an opinion by legislative counsel Donnie Adkins. The commission said it “is troubled” by the proposed maneuver but would be unable to bring him within the revolving door ban as an independent contractor.
The West Virginia Ethics Commission offers the opinion on their website.
Here is the Charleston Gazette’s coverage in the story, “Ethics loophole a cause of concern” by Phil Kabler.
April 14, 2011 •
Acting Governor Tomblin signed House Bill 2464 into law late last week.
This ethics bill, which takes effect on July 1, 2011, prohibits members of the state legislature, elected executive branch officials, agency heads, and certain other appointed officials from acting as lobbyists for one year after leaving office.
Additionally, this legislation will require a public official who files financial disclosure statements to reveal employment information and other “business interests” of his or her spouse.
The spousal disclosures are designed to shine light on additional conflicts of interest an official may have even without a personal stake in a matter.
Photo of the West Virginia State Capitol by Garkeith on Wikipedia.
January 28, 2011 •
There Must Be a Special Election for Governor in 2011
The state supreme court has declared a special gubernatorial election must be held this year. Under West Virginia law, if a Governor vacates the office, the President of the Senate becomes “acting Governor” but may only do so for one year or less.
Last year, after the passing of Senator Byrd, then-Governor Manchin won a special election for the vacant Senate seat. Current “acting Governor” Earl Ray Tomblin and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant have each indicated they will be candidates in the October 4, 2011 election.
January 18, 2011 •
Public officials may have to disclose their spouse’s income.
A proposed ethics law would create a “revolving door” restriction for former West Virginia elected officials and senior members of their staff.
Under House Bill 2464, these people would have to wait one year after leaving office before acting as a lobbyist at the state level. A more controversial aspect of this bill would require public officials to disclose their spouse’s source of income in campaign disclosure filings.
A similar bill was proposed last year but stalled in the Senate Finance Committee.
Photo of the West Virginia state capitol building by Analogue Kid on Wikipedia.
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