A Letter from our President

To Our Valued Clients and Friends, 

In a matter of weeks, our world has changed dramatically. In some ways, it has grown larger, as we now seem globally connected in fighting this pandemic. In other ways, it has grown smaller, with many keeping safe at home and adjusting to this “new normal.”

We wanted to check in with you and let you know we are here. 

  • We are still open. Although our doors are physically closed, we are still here helping clients respond to this challenge, whether it is with lobbying registration and disclosure reports; special projects we are doing for our clients; maintaining the content and operation of our website so it is still available 24/7; providing web tours to those who need a tutorial about what we provide; and staying on top of the bills our business needs to pay. We continue to accept documents electronically by fax (330-761-9965), mail, and FedEx/UPS.

  • We are keeping you informed. We continue to monitor the rapidly changing guidelines and developments as they arise.  To better help you navigate this wealth of information, we’ve curated the best information and resources to keep you informed.  Our blog www.lobbycomply.com includes updates on legislation, legislative sessions, election dates, and due dates for reports.

  • We are staying safe. Our priority is to protect our employees, their families, and our clients. With the Stay-at-Home Orders in Ohio, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, our staff continues working remote. We are utilizing conference calls with our clients and our facilities team has intensified cleaning protocols.

  • We are staying engaged. We are connecting with clients to have critical discussions to address the challenges facing business. We are a business like you and understand the importance of addressing these constantly shifting priorities.  

While we are all trying our best to conduct business as usual, we realize it is not always according to plan. We are tremendously grateful for your continued patience, flexibility, and understanding. We look forward to a day when we are all able to be together.

Until next month, keep your environment clean and practice social distancing.

Thank you.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz

President and CEO
@elizabethbartz


Maine Legislature Passes Bills Expanding Reporting Requirements

Carlo Aguja, Esq. 
Manager, Research Services

The Maine Legislature adjourned sine die on March 17. The 129th Legislature was shortened by nearly a month in an effort to slow down the progress of COVID-19. Before adjournment, lawmakers passed and Gov. Janet Mills signed Legislative Document 1867 to increase lobbyist expenditure reporting and Legislative Document 1868 to expand grassroots lobbying disclosure. Both bills are effective December 1.

Lobbyist Expenditure Reporting (LD 1867)

Legislative Document 1867 requires lobbyists and lobbyist associates to file a separate report for expenditures totaling over $300 in a calendar month made to or on behalf of covered officials without reimbursement from an employer. The report must include the date of the expenditure; amount of expenditure; description of goods or services purchased; date, description, and location of an event paid for; and names of all covered officials and their immediate family whom the expenditures were directly made to or attended the event. The new lobbyist expenditure reports are due on the 15th day of the month following the month the expenditure was made or incurred. Currently, all expenditures made directly to covered officials or their family members are reported on the monthly session reports. The bill also expands the annual harassment training requirement to include lobbyist associates.

Grassroots Lobbying Rules (LD 1868)

Legislative Document 1868 seeks to improve the reporting of grassroots lobbying. An expanded definition of grassroots lobbying replaces the definition of indirect lobbying. Grassroots lobbying includes communicating with members of the general public to solicit them to communicate directly with any covered official for the purpose of influencing legislative action by broadcast, cable, or satellite transmission; print media; letter; email, website, or any other digital format; telephone; or any other method of communication similar in nature.

The reporting threshold for grassroots lobbying is lowered from $15,000 to $2,000. Any expenditure over the threshold must be reported on the lobbyist’s monthly session report. Any other person expending in excess of $2,000 must also file a grassroots lobbying report on the 15th day of the calendar month following the date the amount was exceeded. Reportable grassroots lobbying expenditures include payments of money made to independent contractors and other vendors to purchase goods and services such as advertising, graphic or website design, video or audio production services, telecommunications services, printing, and postage.


Michael Beckett, Esq.,
Associate Director, Research Services

AUSTIN, TEXAS: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Steve Adler signed an emergency order on March 17 suspending all deadlines imposed by city code, ordinance, rule, or other regulation until May 1. Under Section 7 of the order, the deadline for all lobbyist quarterly activity reports has been extended to May 1. No late fees will be accrued for failure to file prior to May 1. 

ILLINOIS: The Office of the Secretary of State has closed through March 31 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Online access will remain available to all lobbyists and authorized agents. Statutorily required deadlines, including lobbying semimonthly reports, are extended for 30 days. The office indicates this status may be updated as operations are reviewed.

NEW JERSEY: On March 11, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey permanently enjoined the state from enforcing Senate Bill 150. The bill was signed by the governor last June and was scheduled to take effect on October 15, 2019. The dark money bill required independent expenditure committees to report contributions in excess of $10,000 and expenditures in excess of $3,000 to the Election Law Enforcement Commission. The order does not prevent the Legislature from revisiting the issue with new legislation.

NEW YORK: The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics announced an extension for the submission of bimonthly lobbyist activity reports covering the January to February reporting period until Tuesday, March 31, due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. Effective immediately, JCOPE also suspended hand-delivery of paper filings to their Albany office until March 31. The New York City Clerk’s Office has likewise extended the deadline for city lobbying reports to March 31.

WYOMING: The 2020 budget session of the Wyoming Legislature adjourned sine die on March 13 after 24 days in session. The session lasted an extra four days this year because of a decision made by lawmakers last year. During the session, legislators passed a bill expanding limitations on campaign contributions. Senate File 20 expands limitations on campaign contributions from organizations to include a candidate's campaign committee or any political party or political action committee that directly coordinates with a candidate or a candidate's campaign committee. The bill becomes effective July 1, 2020.


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 2019
Lobbying Laws 299 41 15 29 167
Political Contributions 484 51 25 50 316
Procurement Lobbying 297 42 42 27 167

 


In addition to the in-depth resources available to subscribers, State and Federal Communications also has a wealth of publicly available information. The State and Federal Communications blog, found at www.lobbycomply.com, contains updates on lobbying, ethics, campaign finance, procurement, pay-to-play, and items of general interest to the government affairs community. Please visit our blog for the latest postponements and changes resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. We also maintain an active presence on social media with our constantly updated Facebook (www.facebook.com/StateandFederalCommunications, Twitter (@StateandFederal), LinkedIn, and YouTube accounts.

Join the conversation and
stay up-to-date in your field.


   

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.

What has been the response by state government and state legislatures to the COVID-19 pandemic?

At the time this answer was prepared, 36 states, Puerto Rico, the federal government, and Canada have issued some type of decree in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The precautions include adjourning sessions, curtailing operations of state agencies, and postponing elections.

Some of the responses include:

Read the full article here

 

 

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Nola Werren, Esq.
Associate Director, Compliance Services








State and Federal Communications, Inc. staff who have completed the courses for the
SGAC Professional Certificate Program.
top row:  Amber Fish Linke, Esq., Elizabeth Z. Bartz, Nola R. Werren, Esq.
bottom row:  Gamble Hayden, James Warner, Esq. and Rebecca South.
 



 


State and Federal Communications, Inc. has attended the National PAC Conference for twenty-six years.
In 2020, this conference was in Miam Beach, Florida. 
Left: Kristi Hadgigeorge, John Chames, Gregory Bennett, Elizabeth Bartz, Nola Werren,
Jim Warner, and Maria Dalessandro.

Top Right:  Elizabeth Bartz with
Gabrielle Woodard from Northrop Grumman
Bottom Right - Elizabeth Bartz with
Misty Galvin from Clear Channel Outdoor
 



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


We look forward to attending meetings and conferences
soon.  For now, we are staying put.


 


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 | 330-761-9960 | 330-761-9965-fax | 888-4-LAW-NOW| www.stateandfed.com

 

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.

www.stateandfed.com