You have heard the saying “Plan your Work, Work your Plan.” In Ohio—and I know every state is different—there are three different ways we can vote.

  1. Absentee Voting by Mail—Begins October 6th; 28 days before Election Day but you would have had to send in the request form Secretary of State Frank LaRose sent last month.

  2. Early in-Person Voting—Begins October 6th; and includes the two Saturdays, two Sundays, and the Monday before Election Day.

  3. Election Day Voting—November 3rd; Polls are open from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm.

I know this is Ohio, but every other state has a plan to help the voters in the states VOTE in this important election. Furthermore, there is more than just the President of the United States on the ballot this election year. Our House members are up for election, 1/3 of the Senators, 11 governors, municipal officials, and let us not forget ballot measures. (Vote YES on Issue 47 in Summit County for the Akron Zoo.)

In 2020, I will vote in my 12th US Presidential Election; I have not missed one of these since 1976. In 1979, there was one municipal election in 1979 when I was in college that I did not send in my absentee ballot and it affects what should have been a perfect voting record.

We all have time. Plan how you will vote to ensure your ballot is where it needs to be on November 3rd. I am sure we will still wait for final results for weeks, but do not let it have anything to do with your ballot.

I love to VOTE…and I sing the song from Mary Poppins “I Love to Laugh” whenever I think about voting.

I love to vote…hahahaha

Loud and long and clear

I love to vote

It is the best every year.

The more I vote, the more I fill with glee

And the more the glee

The more I’m a merrier me.

We have thousands of VOTE buttons. If you want a box, please send me your address and we will pop them in the mail … thanks to the US Post Service.

Next month I will tell you all about our new office in DC. We are very excited that we were able to move into a nice office space.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Z. Bartz

President and CEO

Michael Beckett, Esq.,
Associate Director, Research Services

CALIFORNIA:  The legislature presented a bill to Gov. Gavin Newsom relating to online filing and disclosure of specific statements, reports, and other documents. Assembly Bill 2151 requires a local government agency to post on its internet website, within 72 hours of the applicable filing deadline, a copy of any specified statement, report, or other document required by Chapter 4 of the Political Reform Act filed with the agency in paper format. The statement, report, or other document must be made available for four years from the date of the election associated with the filing.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: The Board of Ethics announced it will begin enforcing Ordinance 2-156-309 on October 1. The ordinance prohibits state and local elected officials from lobbying City Council or any city agency, department, board or commission. In a press release announcing enforcement of the ban, the board indicated it had been monitoring compliance and delayed enforcement of the ordinance, which took effect April 14, because a proposal submitted to City Council by Mayor Lori Lightfoot would have affected at least one lobbyist. The board indicated sufficient time has passed and it has confirmed there will be no changes to the ordinance.

FLORIDA: Leon County commissioners have approved an ordinance updating the county’s lobbying regulations. The new ordinance updates the registration and reporting process by removing the notary requirement and developing an online registration form. The ordinance also defines a clear process for enforcement and adds new penalties for violations of the lobbyist regulations. A public hearing will be held on the new ordinance on October 13.

MONTANA: A federal judge upheld an executive order by Gov. Steve Bullock requiring companies to report political spending if they want to bid on large state contracts. U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell ruled the Illinois Opportunity Project did not have the legal standing to challenge the governor’s 2018 order requiring reporting of contributions even to so called dark money groups. Under Bullock’s order, companies submitting bids for contracts valued at more than $25,000 for services or $50,000 for goods must disclose two years’ worth of political spending if the spending exceeds $2,500. The order allows Montana to bring transparency to spending by groups classified as social welfare organizations under the federal tax code.

SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA: The threshold for registration as an in-house lobbyist will soon be lower. Bill 195, The Lobbyists Amendment Act, 2019, which received Royal Assent this summer, will come into force once the order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council is given. The bill reduces the threshold for registration as an in-house lobbyist from 100 to 30 hours and prohibits gifts to public office holders from lobbyists, except for certain gifts associated with the office valued at less than $200. Additionally, Bill 195 makes an exception to the Lobbying Act for persons acting in their official capacity as officers, directors, or employees of a non-profit organization, association, society, coalition, or interest group having both a charitable purpose and fewer than five employees, if the lobbying activity performed by the officers, directors, and employees combined is less than 30 hours annually.

Joanna Kamvouris, J.D.
Manager, Research Services

Fort Collins, Colorado City Council Approves New Campaign Finance Amendments

Fort Collins City Council approved two ordinances for final passage on September 15, creating several campaign finance changes for city elections. Ordinance 112-2020 includes limits on how much individuals can contribute from limited liability corporations (LLCs) and establishes limits to political committees. Ordinance 109-2020 eliminates non-itemized contributions; allows city election candidates to use unspent campaign funds in future elections; and reduces the penalty for many lower-level campaign finance violations from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil penalty.

Ord. 112

Current code allows LLCs to donate the same amount as individuals: $75 to a council candidate committee and $100 to a mayoral candidate committee. As one person can be a member of multiple LLCs, people could bypass individual donation limits by donating through various LLCs. Election finance records show this has happened in previous city elections.

The amendment will bring LLC limits into alignment with the state election code, which requires donations from LLCs to include statements attributing the donation to specific LLC members and counting toward the members’ individual donation limits.

The political committee amendment will place a $100 cap on donations to political committees. There is currently no limit on contributions to political committees.

Ord. 109

The current non-itemized contribution standard requires all contributions worth $20 or more to be documented. Under the new rule, all contributions including in-kind contributions of any amount would need to be documented.

The ability to use unspent campaign funds in future non-city elections allow a person who collects candidate committee funds during a run for city office to later use the money in a future run for federal, state, or county office. This change is created for candidate committees established after January 1, 2021.

Reducing penalties for lower-level campaign finance violations from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction will give alleged violators a period of seven days to pay a fine or submit evidence the violation has or will be corrected.

Ordinances 112-2020 and 109-2020 were approved for final passage on September 15 and are effective September 25.

[The details for this article are updated on our website in the Contributions and the Penalties and Remedies sections of the U.S. Campaign Finance Compliance Laws and the U.S. Procurement Lobbying Compliance Laws for Fort Collins, Colorado.]

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 regarding lobbying laws, political contributions, and procurement lobbying.

  Total bills Number of Jurisdictions Passed Died Carried over
from 2021
Lobbying Laws 312 41 21 144 0
Political Contributions 520 53 48 192 7
Procurement Lobbying 318 45 25 131 1


Our website now has 2021 legislative session and prefiling dates information for all 50 states. Prefiling dates represent the earliest date lawmakers may file legislation for the upcoming sessions. The dates can be found by clicking on the Legislative Session section in each entry. To see all states at once, access the Legislative Session resource page from the drop-down menu on the right side of the red badge in the U.S. Lobbying, Political Contributions, or Procurement Lobbying Compliance Laws publication.


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.

I heard Chicago pushed back their training requirements. What do I need to do to be compliant?

Statutorily, the training period for a registered Chicago lobbyist runs from July 1 through the following June 30. A lobbyist must complete an ethics training course during that time frame each year he or she is registered. If a lobbyist terminates registration prior to the June 30 training deadline, training is not required, provided all reporting requirements have also been satisfied (a final activity report has been filed) [M.C.C. §2-156-146; Board of Ethics]...

Read the full article here


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For more information, be sure to check out the “Registration” section of the Lobbying Compliance Laws online publication for Chicago, Illinois.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions.

Adrienne Borgstahl, Esq.
Manager, Compliance Services


Michael Beckett, Esq.
Associate Director,
Research Services

George Ticoras, Esq.

Manager, International Research Services

Carlo Aguja, Esq.

Research Services

John Cetor, Esq.

Research Services

Marilyn Wesel, Esq.

Research Services

Joanna Kamvouris, JD

Research Services

Mario Dalessandro, JD

Research Services

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