You’re What You Own

I am a huge fan of Broadway musicals…No, really a HHHUUUGGGEEE fan. I can spend hours singing (or my version of singing) songs from musicals.

One of my favorites came on SIRIUS this morning on my way to the office. “What You Own” from RENT. When it gets to this part, I am at the top of my lungs—of course with the windows shut.

“You're living in America
At the end of the millennium
You're living in America
Where it's like the Twilight Zone
And when you're living in America
At the end of the millennium
You're what you own”

I think the part which affects our present life is the mention of the Twilight Zone. The episodes are in various genres, including fantasy, science fiction, suspense, horror, and psychological thriller, often concluding with a macabre or unexpected twist, and usually with a moral.

Where am I going with this? The graphics department always wonders, too.

We are living in an odd fantasy, science fiction, suspense, horror, and psychological thriller since the beginning of this pandemic. The only thing missing right now is the moral.

 

Here is what I own…State and Federal Communications. We have been working to stay on top of all of the changes in election dates; changes in when lobbying reports are due; helping clients understand when there is communication about helping a state or the country with COVID-19, it could be procurement lobbying.

The State and Federal Communications team has been phenomenal. We have all helped to flatten the curve by staying close to home. We worked from home starting March 24th until Governor Mike DeWine relaxed the stay-at-home order effective May 12th.  No one has been out partying at the now-opened bars where social distancing is not followed. We are working together to help us return to the office together. For the past three weeks we have only had one third of the staff in the office at a time. On June 1st, we will increase it to about 50%...and we will continue to monitor the situation.

This has not been easy. We all know people who need a neutral sounding board to help with pressure and stress. We need to reach out to those we know, to those we are connected to through digital media, and see how we can help.

It's time now - to sing out
Tho' the story never ends
Let's celebrate
Remember a year in the life of friends

Remember the love
Remember the love
Remember the love
Measure in love

My dear friends, I look forward to when we are all together again at conferences, meetings, or just running into folks at airports. In the meantime, stay close to your family, figure out how to expand the bubble to see people, and remember we will all get through this together.

Thank you.

Elizabeth Z. Bartz

President and CEO
@elizabethbartz


Oregon Political Contributions Remain Unlimited Despite State Supreme Court Ruling

Mario Dalessandro, J.D. 
Manager, Research Services

The Oregon Supreme Court reversed its longstanding ban on strict campaign finance limits by ruling in favor of a voter approved Multnomah County law putting a $500 limit on campaign donations. The court concluded contribution limits are not invalid under the state constitution.

However, Oregon political candidates in legislative and statewide races can continue to accept contributions vastly exceeding the caps voters approved in 2006. Measure 47 placed a $1,000 limit on donations to statewide candidates and a $100 limit on contributions to legislative candidates, but was held unenforceable by a prior state Supreme Court ruling. On May 1, Secretary of State Bev Clarno announced Measure 47 was not made operative by the Oregon Supreme Court decision and as such there remains no change in current state election laws. Clarno’s decision was based on a verbal opinion from the state Department of Justice.

In Portland, Multnomah County Circuit Judge Thomas Ryan ruled Mayor Ted Wheeler’s campaign did not need to limit spending after a suit filed by his main opponent questioned his use of contributions. Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone had joined several campaign finance activists in a lawsuit against Wheeler’s campaign, contending the mayor must repay all the donations he’s received surpassing the $500 campaign finance limit approved by city voters in 2018, but never enforced due to legal challenges.

Because of the Oregon Supreme Court ruling, the Office of City Auditor will begin enforcing Portland’s campaign finance measure starting May 4. However, the auditor’s office will not be retroactively punishing candidates for taking large donations. Portland Attorney Dan Meek said he would ask the state Supreme Court to reconsider its April decision to make it clear Measure 47 should go into effect immediately. Candidates who violate the new donation limits will face fines of up to $3,000 per violation.

In November, voters will decide on a proposed amendment to the Oregon Constitution authorizing adoption of state and local laws limiting political contributions and expenditures and requiring campaign finance related disclosures.


Michael Beckett, Esq.,
Associate Director, Research Services

ARKANSAS: A federal judge has made his temporary injunction permanent to allow Arkansas candidates for statewide office to accept campaign contributions more than two years before an election. U.S. District Judge James Moody, Jr. reinforced his initial ruling that it is unconstitutional for the state to ban contributions for state office candidates more than two years before an election. In January, a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Moody’s decision to grant a preliminary injunction against the state’s blackout period for accepting campaign contributions. 

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: At the request of the executive director of the Board of Ethics, Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposed an amendment to the lobbying ordinance passed late last year. Lightfoot’s proposed Ordinance 2020-2328 would amend lobbying rules to allow elected officials from outside Chicago to lobby the City Council, the mayor’s office and other city government offices, as long as the public body they represent does not have pending or recurring legislative or contractual matters involving the city of Chicago. If passed, the ordinance would become effective immediately. 

FEDERAL: On May 19, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump’s nominee to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), restoring a quorum for the agency. With the confirmation of James “Trey” Trainor, the FEC now has four commissioners, which meets the minimum threshold of commissioners required for any official action. The Commission has two registered members of the Republican Party, one registered member of the Democratic Party, and one Independent. Trainor is a lawyer licensed in Texas who specializes in election law, campaign finance, and ethics. Trainor previously served in the president’s administration as a special assistant to Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Trump had originally nominated Trainor to serve as a commissioner in 2017, but a hearing in the Senate was never held. Two seats on the FEC still remain vacant.

HAWAII: The State Ethics Commission voted to accept new testimony prior to its public hearing on May 21 concerning proposed amendments to lobbying and gift rules. In order to consider the new testimony, the commission deferred the matter to its next meeting scheduled for mid-June. The proposals include clarifications as to what activities constitute lobbying, exclusions from lobbyist registration requirements, and a requirement that expenditures be reported on an accrual rather than cash basis. Additionally, the proposals would amend prohibitions on certain kinds of gifts, valuation of gifts, and gift disclosure statements. Once the commission approves the rules, the rules are subject to approval by the attorney general and the governor. Afterward, they will be posted with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor for a period of 10 days before becoming effective. 

NORTH DAKOTA: The North Dakota Ethics Commission website is now live. The website, ethicscommission.nd.gov, includes board information, meeting minutes, and complaint forms. The website includes board information, meeting minutes, and complaint forms. On April 23, the five-member board discussed reconciling perceived conflicts in constitutional and statutory language related to commission procedures. During the live streaming meeting on May 13, the commission heard from Ellen Chaffee of North Dakotans for Public Integrity regarding allowable gifts between public officials and lobbyists.


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 310 41 19 48 0
Political Contributions 505 52 37 79 7
Procurement Lobbying 3027 43 20 51 1

 


To help keep you up-to-date, www.stateandfed.com contains news updates relevant to your government affairs program. The updates appear in the right-hand column of your User Dashboard, which is the first thing you see after logging in to the website. Updates appear on the list for 10 days after their initial appearance. Clicking on the headlines will bring you to the text of the article. A list of the news updates also appears on the home page. However, you must log in to view the text of the articles. Please also take advantage of our feature that allows you to search news updates by jurisdiction. Click on the Important Jurisdictional Updates and choose your jurisdiction to see all the updates of the past year.


   

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 do I need to do to make sure I am staying compliant during the COVID-19 pandemic?

For the April issue of Compliance Now, my colleague Nola Werren addressed some of the responses of state governments early on in the pandemic. Now that some time has passed since stay-at-home orders became widespread, we have advice on how to remain compliant during the ever-shifting government responses.

The most important thing to remember is that no lobbying reporting requirements have been eliminated. Reports remain due, and if you took advantage of a delayed due date or other relief offered by the state, you need to take steps to ensure those reports are filed on time. There are several steps you will need to take to ensure these reports are not missed:

  Read the full article here

Click here to read ALL Ask the Experts articles in full

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For complete and up-to-date information on changes due to COVID-19, please visit our LobbyComply Blog at https://stateandfed.com/lobbycomply/how-the-states-are-reacting-to-covid-19/.

John Cozine, Esq.
Associate Director, Compliance Services


Celebrating as our former interns graduate

Zoe Wrisley
Kent State University



French and International Relations
Political Science
Sia Konstantinopoulos
Kent State University

Entrepreneurship
International Business
Abigail Siegfried
University of Akron

with honors

Political Science
Music
Meghan Geist
Kent State University

with honors

Political Science
History
Kayleigh Crumb
Kent State University


Journalism and Mass Communications
Political Science
Elaina Laikos, DPT
Tennessee State University

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Kimberly Crowley Kimberly Crowley, J.D.
Boston University School of Law

Lawyer

 

 

t  GIVING TUESDAY t

Sharing her heartfelt desires with her friends and colleagues on digital media, Elizabeth asks you
to give to
WKSU 89.7.

Public radio needs your donations.

u  BE THE CHANGE  u

The
Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank
has been feeding our neighbors during this pandemic. Monetary donations make the biggest impact and help meet the needs of our community.

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank
needs your donations.

 


We look forward to seeing you again.

 

 


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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.

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