Presidential Debates 2020

Many of you might remember I had the opportunity to go the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in 2016. It was one for the books because it was large, loud, and the first one.

Four years later we have moved up. State and Federal Communications is one of the sponsors for all four of the 2020 debates.

This was not an easy decision, because it cost money, but it was easy to say we all must step up and help people make the decision to VOTE on November 3rd. 

My team is ready to keep you up to date as to where we are in the country. We are starting out locally since we only need to make the short drive to Cleveland for the first debate. Stay tuned for the next four weeks for our wrap ups. In the meantime, here is what we are using on our digital media.

Until next month, plan how you vote—by mail, in person, or fill out the ballot and deliver it in person to your Board of Elections.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Z. Bartz

President and CEO

Michael Beckett, Esq.,
Associate Director, Research Services

IDAHO: Due to the special legislative session beginning August 24, registered lobbyists will be required to file a monthly report. Monthly reports must be filed on or before September 15, covering the month of August.

ILLINOIS: In a virtual news conference on August 13, a group of Democratic lawmakers proposed a package of ethics reform bills they want the General Assembly to take up during the veto session scheduled to begin on November 17. Proposals include banning current state legislators from also serving as lobbyists; banning former lawmakers from immediately becoming lobbyists after they leave office; amending the list of activities considered to be lobbying; and creating official procedures for investigation, censure, and temporary removal of leadership positions for members facing criminal charges.

MISSISSIPPI: The Legislature passed a resolution extending the legislative session to adjourn sine die on October 10 to consider matters concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. This extension pushes back the due date for the Lobbyist End-of-Session Report due 10 days after adjournment sine die to October 20, unless the Legislature votes to adjourn earlier.

NEBRASKA: The second session of the 106th Nebraska Legislature adjourned sine die on August 13 after 60 legislative days of a session interrupted by COVID-19. Speaker Jim Scheer suspended the session in mid-March in response to growing safety concerns regarding the global pandemic. The delaying of the session affected lobbyist reporting due dates. Any lobbyists or principals who received or expended more than $5,000 for lobbying purposes during the session must file special reports on September 15. Additionally, the lobbyist statement of activity is due on September 27, which marks 45 days after adjournment sine die of the session.

NORTH CAROLINA: The General Assembly has extended the legislative session to adjourn sine die on September 3, to allow for consideration of matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Registered lobbyists who make an expenditure on legislators and legislative employees will be required to file monthly reports as the General Assembly is still in session due to the extension. Monthly reports are due 10 business days after the end of the month. So, the August report will be due on September 14. A monthly report for September will not be required as that activity may be incorporated in the Quarterly report due on October 21.


Marilyn Wesel, Esq.
Manager, Research Services


North Dakota Ethics Commission Proposes Rules for Lobbyist Gift Prohibition

The North Dakota Ethics Commission announced it will hold a public hearing on September 15 to address proposed rules to clarify the constitutional gift ban passed by voters in 2018. Article XIV of the North Dakota Constitution established the state’s first ethics commission and prohibits a lobbyist from giving a gift to a public official. House Bill 1521, effective January 5, 2021, codified the gift ban, but allowed for items from family members, items exchanged for fair market payment, items of informational value, campaign contributions, and for items in educational or social settings if the ethics commission approved by rule.

The proposed rules would also allow:

  • Reimbursement or payment for transportation, lodging costs, and meal costs to facilitate attendance to a public or private educational and social event within the state, if the public official meaningfully participates in the event;

  • Gifts or other things of value shared as a cultural or social norm as part of a public or private social and educational event; and

  • Food and beverage served for immediate consumption at any private or public social and educational event.

Prior to a public or private social and educational event, the sponsor must file notice with the Ethics Commission providing details regarding the planned event. Notice does not constitute approval, but the sponsor may request an advisory opinion to determine permissibility.

The penalty imposed for a violation is up to $1,000 for any prohibited gift valued under $500 or two times the amount of any gift valued at $500 or more.

If a prohibited gift is received by a public official, the gift will not be considered a violation if the gift is not used and is returned or the public official pays market value within 10 days after receipt, or 10 days after learning the gift is prohibited.

Written or oral comments regarding the proposed rules may be submitted by email to All comments received by September 29 will be considered.

[The details for this article will be updated on our website in the Gift section of the U.S. Lobbying Compliance Laws and the U.S. Procurement Lobbying Compliance Laws for North Dakota.]

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 513 52 46 192 7
Procurement Lobbying 315 44 25 131 1


Giving a gift to a public official always requires review of relevant laws, but when you have a contract with the official’s jurisdiction, special care must be taken to ensure the gift does not put the entire contract agreement in jeopardy. State and Federal Communications covers gift restrictions specific to bidders and contractors in both the U.S. Lobbying and Procurement Lobbying Compliance Laws publications. Each entry contains detailed information about any gift regulations specifically applicable to vendors. In addition, there are now two quick reference charts dedicated to cataloging these restrictions in the states and covered municipalities. The charts can be accessed by clicking on the right side of the red Procurement Lobbying Compliance Laws button and selecting "States with Vendor Gift Restrictions” or “Municipalities with Vendor Gift Restrictions” in the pop-up menu. Make sure you refer to this information before you approve a gift because an otherwise acceptable gift can be trouble if given by a person doing business with the official’s jurisdiction.




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 (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 know about recent updates to Washington’s campaign finance laws?

Washington enacted changes to the state’s campaign finance and contribution laws in June that impact the reporting of contributions and certain expenditure activity. Senate Bill 6152 prohibits foreign nationals from financing campaign-related contribution or expenditure activity and requires entities to certify their contributions do not include any foreign national involvement...

Read the full article here



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The state will continue to update guidance on this change in the law as it develops. More information regarding Washington’s new law can be found in the Reporting section of the U.S. Political Contributions Compliance Laws publication on the State & Federal Communications website.

Alexandra Vernis, J.D.
Manager, Compliance Services


The Importance of the One Year Anniversary

As each State and Federal Communications staff member reaches their one year anniversary, they are recognized on the completion of a year of training and given a gift of an engraved pen.  We feel it is important to acknowledge the commitment of those who uphold values and the vision of the company.  We truly appreciate it.

Here is Timothy Kilcullen. After a year plus of meticulous work in our Research Department, he has chosen to attend George Mason University Law School. 

Congratulations, Timothy.
He will, I'm sure, use his new pen.




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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.