E-News from State and Federal
Let Us Help You
I am going back to my December column about our new
re-branded website. Our statement this year is “Let
Us Help You.”
How? Let us provide our website services to
you…We’ll even deal with your finance department to
provide the W-9, ACH, whatever information is needed
to get this service up and running for you.
Let us help you with your compliance. Our largest
growing line of business is helping corporate and
trade associations with lobbying compliance. I love
Outlook, but I think if you needed it to track the
reports due in 2017, you would find there aren’t
enough colors to use to keep you organized.
The laws and regulations in our field are
continually changing. And, we know there many more
changes to come in 2017.
We are ready for all of this at State and Federal
Communications. We are ready to help you! That is
why we have re-branded our 2017 website guides as
the Online Compliance Publications for
Governmental Relations Professionals. These
four online publications are:
Political Contributions Compliance Laws for
Government Relations ProfessionalsTM
Lobbying Compliance Laws for Government
Procurement Lobbying Compliance Laws for
Government Relations ProfessionalsTM
Canadian Compliance Laws for Government
These unique online publications are
considered invaluable to government relations
professionals. They make it easy to decipher and
understand compliance regulations, and to accurately
report activities to government entities as needed.
They are optimized to easily use and search on any
device – computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone –
and updated continually so government relations
professionals can comply in a timely and accurate
This is an annual subscription-based service, where
you can purchase one, two, three, or four online
publications, whatever you need, with special
bundled pricing available. Each provides accurate,
comprehensive, and timely information on thousands
of compliance rules, regulations, and statutes
across the states, the U.S. federal government, more
than 600 municipalities, and Canadian federal,
provincial, and territorial governments.
Our 2017 brochures are already in the mail to you so
you can see the wealth of services this great
American company provides.
[Click here to
see Direct User brochure.]
There is no other company like State and Federal
Communications. Let us help you.
Elizabeth Z. Bartz
President and CEO
Island Lobby Reform Act
Effective January 1, 2017
George Ticoras, Esq.,
January 1, 2017, the Rhode Island Lobby Reform Act ushered in a new
legal framework for lobbyists and lobbyist employers registering and
reporting in the state. Senate Bill 2361 Sub A and House Bill 7388
Sub A, signed by Gov. Gina M. Raimondo on June 13, repeals the
lobbying laws in Title 22 and Title 42 of the state’s statutes.
new act simplifies lobbyist reporting requirements, increases
penalties for failing to comply with lobbying requirements, and
provides more investigative and administrative authority for
enforcing the lobbying laws, including subpoena power.
Lobbyists and employers must file monthly activity reports for the
first half of the year and quarterly activity reports for the second
half of the year. Reports are due the 15th day of February, March,
April, May, June, and July for activity during the calendar month
immediately preceding each filing. A report is also due on October
15 for July through September activity and by January 15 for October
through December activity.
Office of Secretary of State now has the authority to adopt rules to
create a schedule of administrative penalties to be assessed for
minor infractions, such as the failure to timely file any of the
reports. Additionally, the office is empowered to collect fines and
Knowingly and willfully violating the Lobby Reform Act is punishable
with a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per violation and is a
misdemeanor criminal conviction carrying a fine of up to $1,000 and
imprisonment of up to one year. The penalty for violations may also
include the revocation of a registration for a period of up to three
web-based portal developed by the Office of Secretary of State
allows for lobbyist registration and reporting.
Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to
Michael Beckett, Esq., Research
The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) approved regulations
to make biennial cost of living adjustments to campaign contribution
and gift limits applicable from January 1, 2017, through December
31, 2018. The newly amended regulations increase campaign
contribution limits by $200 for legislative candidates and $1,000
for gubernatorial candidates. The aggregate annual gift limit is set
to change from $460 to $470 per donor.
Changes to regulations concerning gifts for federal employees take
effect January 1, 2017. Among the changes the Office of Government
Ethics (OGE) made include a nonbinding recommendation employees
consider declining otherwise permissible gifts if they believe a
reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts would
question the employee’s integrity or impartiality as a result of
accepting the gift. Additionally, federal officials who are required
to be granted permission to attend widely attended events must now
seek the permission in writing. The OGE declined to change the $20
threshold for accepting a gift. Amendments to the rules made by the
OGE were published on November 18 in the Federal Register.
Training sessions are available to assist lobbyists in getting to
know the new House Rules adopted last month. Lobbyists are now
required to disclose the issues they are lobbying by filing an
electronic notice of appearance; former members of the Legislature
are prohibited from lobbying the House for six years; and no member
of the House may accept private plane travel from a lobbyist or a
corporation employing lobbyists. The Senate also passed rules, but
without such sweeping changes.
The Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission
announced the lobbyist registration renewal window for 2017. Current
lobbyists who do not owe any fees, fines, penalties, or reports may
renew their registrations online beginning December 1, 2016, until
12:00 p.m. on January 13, 2017. Lobbyists who fail to timely renew
registrations must register as a new lobbyist using paper forms.
Lobbyist badges are also expected to be sent much sooner than in
past years. The commission has asked lobbyists to allow up to two
weeks for badges to be delivered.
A lawsuit was filed in state court to block the government ethics
overhaul recently approved by voters on November 8. The lawsuit
challenges the constitutionality of Initiated Measure 22, which
restricts campaign contributions and gifts from lobbyists. The group
of 24 Republican lawmakers bringing suit are seeking an injunction
to block the law, while South Dakotans for Integrity, the ballot
question committee that supported Initiated Measure 22, has filed a
motion to intervene.
Legislation We Are
At any given time, more than 1,000
legislative bills, which can affect how you do business as a government
affairs professional, are being discussed in federal, state, and local
jurisdictions. These bills are summarized in State and Federal
Communications' digital encyclopedias for lobbying laws, political
contributions, and procurement lobbying and can be found in the client
portion of our website.
Summaries of major bills are also included
in monthly email updates sent to all clients. The chart below shows the
number of bills we are tracking in regard to lobbying laws, political
contributions, and procurement lobbying.
Number of Jurisdictions
W E B S I T E
T I P
We have added to the
website a resource chart entitled “Inaugurations
Guide-Based on November 2016 Elections.” The guide
provides inaugural compliance information for the
president-elect as well as each governor elected this
past November. The chart provides the governor’s name,
inauguration date, and rules on tickets to events and
contributions to inaugural committees. Be sure to
consult the chart if you and your company intend to
provide resources for these high-profile and often
scrutinized events. Copies of the inaugural addresses
will be added soon.
Federal Communications’ Experts Answer Your Questions
is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal
Communications, Inc. Send your questions to
(Of course, we have always been available to answer
questions from clients that are specific to your needs, and
we encourage you to continue to call or email us with
questions about your particular company or organization. As
always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers
or information you need.) Our replies are not legal advice,
just our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.
How do the recent changes in the Florida House Rules affect
as a Florida lobbyist?
Pursuant to the changes, you must now disclose all issues,
bills, and amendments you will be lobbying for or against
prior to lobbying any staff or member of the Florida House.
New issues must be disclosed as they arise,...
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Johnston, Esq., Compliance Associate
State and Federal
Plan to say hello at future
events where State and Federal
will be attending and/or
speaking regarding compliance issues.
January 12, 2017
Montgomery County Council -
African Affairs Advisory Group Meeting
Silver Spring, Maryland
January 12, 2017
WASRG Holiday Happy Hour
January 13-15, 2017
NCSL Executive Committee
January 17-19, 2017
US Conference of Mayors Winter
January 20, 2017
State and Federal
Appreciation Event for Clients, Colleagues, and
January 24, 2017
January 25, 2017
WASRG Annual Membership
January 30 - February 2, 2017
PAC The Advocacy Conference
Key West, Florida