E-News from State and Federal Communications, Inc.
October 2019

The Year Has Flown Right By

It is hard to believe it is October…Where did the year go?

This is the time of year we work with our consulting clients to insure we have information for the upcoming year. There are changes in state assignments and additional staff brought on board. It’s nice to have the time to review.

For our subscription clients, we want to make sure everyone who should receive access to the website has access because there are also additional staff that many bring on during the year.

It is like spring cleaning in the fall.

Now, you wouldn’t be able to tell by my desk or my shoe closet … but I do like organization. My purchases from Levinger®, Paper Source®, and Simplified Planning® are the items kept off the family credit card. Really, someone would think I had an obsession!!

But, it is the time of the year we start tracking state and federal legislative sessions, municipal meetings, and elections … and there are going to be a lot of elections in 2020.

State and Federal Communications will keep you up to date on legislative sessions--which I believe will be posted on our website by the end of the month — along with every single Election Day in the states and municipalities. And, let’s not forget the hundreds of pre- and post-election reports due during the year. If you are sorting them by color, you should opt for the 64 pack of Crayola® crayons!

Until next month when we start to get crazy here, take the time to organize your 2020 government relations plan.

Thank you.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz

President and CEO

Birmingham Airport Authority Appeals Alabama Advisory Opinion Finding Employees are Subject to State Ethics Law 

Joanna Kamvouris, J.D. 
Research Associate              

The Birmingham Airport Authority appealed an Alabama Ethics Commission advisory opinion finding the Birmingham Airport Authority’s employees are considered public employees and are thus subject to the state ethics law

Under Alabama Code Section 36-25-1(26), a public employee is an employee of a governmental corporation or an instrumentality of state, county, or local government who is paid in whole or in part from state, county, or municipal funds.

The Birmingham Airport Authority argued that because the salaries of its employees come from user and landing fees paid by airlines, as well as rental and concession fees at the airport, they do not fall within the provisions of the ethics law.

While Birmingham Airport Authority’s employees are not paid in whole or in part from public funds, the Ethics Commission determined the airport’s revenue is considered “state, county, or municipal funds” because the Legislature grants the airport authority the ability to collect those fees for a specific purpose.

Airport employees are criminally liable for ethics violations and, if they meet specific income thresholds, are required to file annual statements of economic interests with the commission.

Counsel for the Birmingham Airport Authority believes the commission’s interpretation of the law could have a wide-ranging impact across Alabama, affecting thousands of Alabama citizens who work for various authorities throughout the state and who have never previously been classified as public employees.

Both sides to the appeal agreed to stay the operation of the opinion for the time being. Under Judge Brooke Reid’s order, affected persons will not have to comply with the commission’s regulatory requirements until a determination is made in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

[The details for this article are updated on our website in the Definitions section of the Lobbying Compliance Laws and Procurement Lobbying Compliance Laws for Alabama.]

Summary of Changes UPDATE
Note Recent Changes to Compliance Regulations 

Michael Beckett, Esq.,
Research Manager

ARIZONA: The Office of the Secretary of State announced the implementation of new filing forms. The forms are now separated by entity types: lobbyist, principal, and public body filings. The notarization requirement for all lobbying forms has been replaced by an attestation. Because filing forms no longer require notarization the forms may be filed by email. In the coming weeks, the Office of the Secretary of State will also implement a new website for online payment and document filing.

FEDERAL: On September 6, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a notice of a proposed regulation allowing certain tax-exempt organizations to no longer be required to report the names and addresses of contributors on their annual reports. Previously, the IRS issued guidance to this effect, but on July 30, the guidance limiting these disclosure requirements was set aside by a federal judge. In Bullock v. IRS, the U.S. District Court District of Montana (Great Falls) found the IRS violated the Administrative Procedure Act by not providing notice and allowing a public comment period before the guidance was issued. It predicated this decision by finding the guidance was a legislative rule.

KENTUCKY: The Legislative Ethics Commission unanimously recommended the 2020 General Assembly pass legislation prohibiting legislators and lobbyists from engaging in sexual and workplace harassment against legislative employees, other legislators, and lobbyists. In past cases involving allegations of sexual harassment, the commission has followed more general ethics laws relating to the misuse of office. The recommended change would add specific workplace protections into the legislative ethics law and categorize sexual harassment as ethical misconduct, punishable by fines or other sanctions. The commission also recommended the ethics law be amended to grant the commission the authority to adjudicate a complaint filed against a legislator, even if the legislator leaves office after the complaint is filed, as long as the complaint is based on action that occurred not more than a year prior to the day the legislator left office. During the 2019 session, several bills relating to sexual harassment were filed, but none were approved by the Legislature. 

PORTLAND, OREGON: The city auditor announced new campaign finance requirements and a new public campaign financing program. Committees must now timely file disclosures for certain election communications advocating for or against a city candidate and provide names of individuals or other entities contributing to the committees. Entities making more than $750 in independent expenditures to support or oppose city candidates must now register with the secretary of state as a political committee or independent expenditure filer and provide certain disclosures. Public and private employers must now allow employees to donate to political committees through payroll deduction if they allow similar post-tax deductions for other purposes. The public campaign financing program will require candidates to agree to limit individual contributions to $250 or less and abide by other fundraising limits. Candidates will not be required to participate in the program.

TEXAS: Lobbying registrations must now include a statement of whether the lobbyist is or is required to be registered as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This requirement of House Bill 1785 applies to a registration filed on or after the effective date of September 1.

Legislation We Are Tracking

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.

  Total bills Number of Jurisdictions Passed Died Carried over
to 2020
Lobbying Laws 312 52 53 83 72
Political Contributions 579 59 84 167 143
Procurement Lobbying 344 51 50 89 70


Our website features extensive coverage of individual jurisdictions and quick access to new information our subscribers want to know. To help keep you up-to-date on what is happening in the many jurisdictions covered in our publications, we provide you with updates right on your personal dashboard. The most recent news from the jurisdictions we cover will be found on the right-hand side under Important Jurisdictional Updates.

You also have the ability to look back a year at all jurisdictional updates. To search these updates, click on “Important Jurisdictional Updates.” You will be taken to a page with all of the updates we have provided for the last year. You can then select to see updates specific to just one jurisdiction by choosing the jurisdiction from the drop-down list at the top of the page.


State and Federal Communications’ Experts
Answer Your Questions

Here is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc. Send your questions to experts@stateandfed.com. (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.

One of our lobbyists will be terminating their registration.
What do I need to watch for?


Generally, the task of terminating is going to fall on the lobbyist themselves, but not always. Is this your only lobbyist? Are you hiring a replacement? If this was your only lobbyist you will need to terminate your principal registration as well, unless you have a replacement lined up. If there’s going to be a period of time between terminating one lobbyist and hiring another, you may still need to terminate as not all states allow you to leave the principal registration open when there is no lobbyist registered. Once you have answers to all of these questions, it can be helpful to make a quick call to the state to make sure you understand the exact procedure for terminating a lobbyist, and, if needed, the principal. If you are registered in a state where registrations expire automatically, a termination may not be required if your agreement with the lobbyist ends at the same time as the registration period.

A final report will need to be filed, covering the last reporting period in which the lobbyist was registered. If the state has an annual reporting requirement, that report will need to be filed as well. In a state where the principal is required to report, those same reports will be due if the principal is also terminating. If your company is not terminating, make sure you understand how to correctly report lobbyist activity. Do you need to continue to list them on the next report? Will they still appear on the annual report? How do you report final payments made to the lobbyist after they terminated?

Your final task is going to be to follow up to ensure everything has been done correctly. Check the state’s website to make sure the lobbyists are no longer listed as representing your company. Make sure your lobbyists filed all of the reports required to complete their representation. Finally, if you terminated the principal registration you will want to make sure that is correctly reflected on the state website as well. If the state lists termination dates, make sure that date is correct, and it does not fall in a new reporting period that will obligate you to file one more report than you anticipated.

Information to assist with terminations and final reports can be found in the Registration and Reports Required sections of State & Federal Communication’s U.S. Lobbying Compliance Laws.

Read the full article here

John Cozine, Esq. Compliance Manager

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Plan to say hello at future events where State and Federal Communications, Inc.
will be attending and/or speaking regarding compliance issues.

October 11

Project Grad Achieving Dreams Gala, Akron, OH

October 15

WASRG Luncheon, Washington, DC

October 20-22

GAC InterCity Leadership Visit, Grand Rapids, MI

October 21-23

Professional Women in Advocacy Conference, Washington, DC

October 29

WASRG Symposium, Washington, DC

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October 31

State and Federal Communications, Inc. -
United Way HALLOWEEN Donut & Cider Sale,
Akron, OH
ORDER YOURS TODAY - ebartz@stateandfed.com

Dozen Original Krispy Kreme Donuts - $8      Gallon on Apple Cider - $8
Dozen Chocolate Frosted Glazed Krispy Kreme Donuts - $9

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The Mission of State and Federal Communications is to make sure that your organization can say, "I Comply."

We are the leading authority and exclusive information source on legislation and regulations surrounding campaign finance and political contributions; state, federal, and municipal lobbying; and procurement lobbying.

Contact us to learn how conveniently our services will allow you to say "I Comply" for your compliance activities.