March 29, 2019 •

South Dakota Governor Signs Campaign Finance Bills

Gov. Kristi Noem recently signed several campaign finance bills into law. House Bill 1189 provides any person who is subject to a Class 2 misdemeanor for campaign finance violations up to seven days to cure the violations prior to having […]

Gov. Kristi Noem recently signed several campaign finance bills into law.

House Bill 1189 provides any person who is subject to a Class 2 misdemeanor for campaign finance violations up to seven days to cure the violations prior to having a charge brought against him or her.

House Bill 1092 clarifies reporting requirements for candidates.

House Bill 1143 states all political action committees established, financed, maintained, or controlled by the same person or entity are affiliated and share a single contribution limit both with respect to contributions made and contributions received.

Senate Bill 114 requires any contribution from a person who is an unemancipated minor to be deducted from the total contribution permitted by the unemancipated minor’s custodial parent or parents.

The bills become effective July 1.

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March 29, 2019 •

Michigan Secretary of State Creates Election Security Commission

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson created a new state Election Security Commission along with recommendations to improve the integrity of Michigan’s elections. Included on the board of the Election Security Commission are the clerks of Kalamazoo, Wayne, and Ingham […]

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson created a new state Election Security Commission along with recommendations to improve the integrity of Michigan’s elections.

Included on the board of the Election Security Commission are the clerks of Kalamazoo, Wayne, and Ingham counties.

The commission will begin meeting next month.

The recommendations are expected to be released by the end of the year.

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March 29, 2019 •

New Mexico Independent Ethics Commission Bill Signed by Governor

Senate Bill 668, relating to the State Ethics Commission Act, was signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday, March 28, 2019. The bill creates the new independent ethics commission demanded by voters in the November 2018 election. The new […]

Senate Bill 668, relating to the State Ethics Commission Act, was signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday, March 28, 2019.

The bill creates the new independent ethics commission demanded by voters in the November 2018 election.

The new commission will oversee state public officials and employees and give the commission investigative powers over ethics violations.

Sections one through eight and 34 of the bill, relating to the creation of the new commission, will become effective July 1, 2019.

The remaining sections, mostly relating to the commission’s investigative powers, will become effective on January 1, 2020.

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March 29, 2019 •

News You Can Use Digest – March 29, 2019

      Federal: Barr’s Declaration on Trump Puts Justice Dept. Back in Political Crucible MSN – Charlie Savage, Mark Mazzetti, and Katie Benner (New York Times) | Published: 3/25/2019 Attorney General William Barr’s decision to declare that evidence fell short of proving […]

 

 

 

Federal:

Barr’s Declaration on Trump Puts Justice Dept. Back in Political Crucible
MSN – Charlie Savage, Mark Mazzetti, and Katie Benner (New York Times) | Published: 3/25/2019

Attorney General William Barr’s decision to declare that evidence fell short of proving President Trump illegally obstructed the Russia inquiry was an extraordinary outcome to a narrative that spanned nearly two years. Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to remove the threat of political interference from an investigation involving the president, but he reached no conclusion on the key question of whether Trump committed an obstruction-of-justice offense. Barr stepped in to make the determination, bringing the specter of politics back into the case. Senior Justice Department officials defended his decision as prudent and within his purview, but it reignited a debate about the role of American law enforcement in politically charged federal investigations.

‘No PAC Money’ Pledges Leave Corporations in a Partisan Bind
Roll Call – Kate Ackley | Published: 3/21/2019

It is not just the number of members of Congress pledging not to accept money from PACs for corporations and trade groups (more than 50 so far) that is a problem, but their party affiliation – almost entirely Democratic. If the trend spreads into the 2020 campaign cycle, it could put companies and associations in a bind. Many of the top PACs connected to businesses and trade associations maintain roughly balanced giving ratios and some of them have enshrined such practices. “Most PACs pride themselves on being bipartisan and supporting candidates who are understanding of their issues, so they can engage in a policy conversation. There’s a real fear of just losing that balanced approach,” said Kristin Brackemyre of the Public Affairs Council.

From the States and Municipalities:

California: A State Lawmaker Borrowed Nearly a Half-Million Dollars to Buy a Home. You Might Have Voted for Her Lender.
CALmatters – Matt Levin | Published: 3/26/2019

To buy a house, a state legislator received a $430,000 personal loan from a former member of Congress from Orange County, an arrangement that some legal experts labeled unusual, but that both politicians said was not improper. State Assemblyperson Sharon Quirk-Silva borrowed the sum from former U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, an unsuccessful 2016 U.S. Senate candidate, in the fall of 2017. Quirk-Silva and her husband repaid Sanchez with interest. While California law bans state and local elected officials from borrowing money from each other, nothing appears to prohibit the arrangement Quirk-Silva struck with Sanchez, who did not hold elected office at the time. In late 2018, Sanchez would announce her candidacy for a seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, going on to lose.

Colorado: Lawmakers Take Aim at Disclosure Loopholes in Colorado Lobbying Laws
Colorado Sun – Sandra Fish | Published: 3/25/2019

Colorado lawmakers have introduced a measure to eliminate loopholes in lobbying laws and require more disclosure to the public, part of an effort to address long-standing concerns about transparency. House Bill 1248 would require more frequent reporting by lobbyists what bills they were hired to follow, and the position taken by their clients. Lobbyists would need to file any changes in their positions on legislation within 48 hours during the session. Now, those updates are required only once a month. The legislation also aims to close loopholes that some lobbyists appear to use to avoid reporting income from clients.

Connecticut: Jon Lender: Lobbyists pay $13,000 in fines connected to tech schools controversy
Hartford Courant – Jon Lender | Published: 3/22/2019

The Office of State Ethics collected $13,000 in fines from the lobbying and consulting firm Kozak & Salina and one of its owners. The firm had a contract with the Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS) from 2014 to 2016 to provide “external relations and strategic consulting services,” and a similar contract for 2015 with the lighting fixture company Penn Globe. Kozak & Salina relayed communications between Penn Globe and CTHSS and charged both for the same services. So, when the lobbying firm submitted invoices to the state to obtain payment, it was getting paid twice, said Carol Carson, executive director of the ethics office. In addition to a $10,000 fine against his firm, David Kozak paid $3,000 for failing to file required registration and disclosure statements about his work for Penn Globe.

District of Columbia: As D.C. Leaders Tout Reforms, Latest Ethics Scandal Evokes City’s History of Corruption
Washington Post – Paul Schwartzman | Published: 3/23/2019

District of Columbia Councilperson Jack Evans admitted he violated the council’s code of conduct when he repeatedly used his government email account to offer potential clients the benefit of his political connections and the influence he amassed as a lawmaker and chairperson of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Civic groups chided the council as being too lenient when it reprimanded Evans rather than strip him of powerful committee posts. Reform activist Bryan Weaver said Evans’ actions, and the council’s response, evoke the worst aspects of the city’s history of official misconduct, one that has triggered periodic crises engulfing mayors, council members, government appointees, and employees.

Florida: ‘As American as Apple Pie’: How Miami commissioner’s aunt became a high-priced lobbyist
Miami Herald – David Smiley and Joey Flechas | Published: 3/26/2019

Some companies have chosen not to hire Barbara Hardemon as a lobbyist due to concerns about the perception of undue influence as she is the aunt of Miami City Commissioner Keon Hardemon. But in the years since his 2013 election, the commissioner’s aunt has emerged as a closer for some of Miami’s biggest businesses. Barbara Hardemon’s lobbying shop is allowed under state and local laws, which prohibit elected officials and their immediate family from profiting personally off the contracts they oversee but say nothing about their extended family. Her lucrative rise from occasional City Hall lobbyist to 11th-hour power broker has blurred the lines between negotiations and nepotism.

Florida: Ethics Board Aims to Put Teeth in Code, Seeks Greater Oversight of Tallahassee City Hall
Tallahassee Democrat – Jeff Burlew | Published: 3/23/2019

The Tallahassee Independent Ethics Board is finalizing proposals that could expand its oversight of City Hall and strengthen an ethics code that has long been seen as weak and toothless. The board currently has jurisdiction over only nine people. But proposed changes would extend its jurisdiction to cover all employees who work in procurement or are required by state law to file financial disclosures. The proposals include giving the board the power to issue subpoenas and take sworn testimony, a ban on all gifts no matter their value, and higher fines for lobbyists who try to influence city officials without registering and disclosing their clients.

Iowa: Iowa Treasurers End Scholarships Amid Ethics Law Inquiries
AP News – Ryan Foley | Published: 3/27/2019

County treasurers in Iowa canceled a scholarship program that benefited their relatives and employees amid criticism the vendor-funded awards were illegal gifts under state ethics law. The program consisted of four, $500 scholarships that were awarded each year to the college-bound children and grandchildren of county treasurers and their staffs. The money came from two companies that do extensive business with treasurers: GovTech Services, which runs the website that 88 counties use to collect property and motor vehicle taxes, and SRI Inc., which operates tax auctions for dozens of counties. Since the program’s inception, critics have worried the scholarships violated the gift law, which bars public employees and their immediate relatives from accepting money from contractors.

Maryland: Maryland House of Delegates Votes Unanimously to Reprimand Jalisi Over ‘Abusive’ Treatment of His Staff
Baltimore Sun – Luke Broadwater | Published: 3/27/2019

The Maryland House voted unanimously to publicly reprimand Del. Jay Jalisi for “an ongoing pattern of bullying and abusive workplace behavior.” The delegates voted after receiving a report outlining the investigation from the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics that alleged Jalisi forced his staff to work overtime without pay, bullied others, got kicked out of a hotel, and made a staffer stand in the delegate’s office and repeat: “I am incompetent. I am incompetent.” This is not the first time Jalisi’s actions have been scrutinized. In 2015, a Baltimore County judge issued a protective order barring Jalisi from contact with his then-teenage daughter.

Massachusetts: House Proposal for Caucus Funding Left Out of Budget Bill – but Caucuses May Still Fundraise
MassLive.com – Shira Schoenberg | Published: 3/25/2019

A controversial Massachusetts House proposal to let caucuses raise private money did not make it into the final version of a budget bill. But House leaders say that under their internal rules, caucuses will still be able to raise private money as long as they comply with ethics rules, which bar lobbyists from giving and require any gift of over $50 to be approved by House counsel to avoid conflicts-of-interest. When the House passed its rules in January, members approved a rule that would let caucuses raise money from public or private sources. But some advocates for open government worried this could create a legislative “slush fund” where special interests with business before the Legislature could donate to lawmakers with no transparency.

New Jersey: Dark Money Disclosure Bill Advanced to Gov. Phil Murphy’s Desk
Burlington County Times – David Levinsky | Published: 3/26/2019

Legislation to require so-called dark money groups operating in New Jersey to reveal their donors was sent to Gov. Phil Murphy. The bill has undergone several changes after being approved by the Senate, but it would still mandate the disclosure of donors who give more than $10,000 to nonprofit 501(c)4 groups that are not currently subject to disclosure requirements if they engage in political activities, lobbying, or campaigning. It would also mandate the disclosure of expenses of more than $3,000 and would also boost contribution limits to state and county political committees. Those groups are already subject to strict reporting requirements but have been usurped by “dark-money” groups in recent years.

Pennsylvania: GOP Legislator Prays to Jesus for Forgiveness Before State’s First Muslim Woman Swears In
MSN – Reis Thebault (Washington Post) | Published: 3/26/2019

Movita Johnson-Harrell brought 55 guests to her swearing in as the Pennsylvania Legislature’s first Muslim woman. Thirty-two of them were Muslim. She later for the General Assembly to censure State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, who delivered the opening prayer to begin the legislative session day. By the time she said “Amen,” Borowicz had invoked Jesus 13 times. She mentioned “Lord” and “God” another six times each and referenced “The Great I Am” and “the one who’s coming back again, the one who came, died, and rose again on the third day.” As the prayer reached a crescendo, at least one member shouted objections. Afterward, the protests only grew louder.

West Virginia: Governor Signs Bills Raising Campaign Contribution Limits, Cutting Coal Tax
Beckley Register-Herald – Erin Beck | Published: 3/27/2019

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed into law a bill that increases the limits on campaign contributions by individuals. Senate Bill 622 increases the limits to $2,800 for candidates, $5,000 for PACs, and up to $10,000 per year for party committees. Current limits for each category are set at $1,000. Julie Archer of the West Virginia Citizen Action Group said bill does nothing about “dark money.” She said Democrats attempted to amend the bill at least twice to require disclosures by donors that “funnel” money through groups.

Wisconsin: Judge Bocks GOP Lame-Duck Laws Limiting Tony Evers’ Powers; Evers Seeks to Remove Wisconsin from Obamacare Challenge
madison.com – Mark Sommerhauser | Published: 3/21/2019

A judge blocked several actions by Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled Legislature to limit the power of its incoming governor, Democrat Tony Evers, and preserve policies implemented by his predecessor, Scott Walker. The Legislature acted in what is known as an “extraordinary session,” called with little notice. It lasted two days and one night and sparked heated protests. The three bills enacted during the sessions were extraordinary in breadth. One of them gave the Legislature powers usually and exclusively reserved for the attorney general, such as approving legal actions by the state. At the time of the session, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos stated its purpose plainly: “We are going to have a very liberal governor who is going to enact policies that are in direct contrast to what many of us believe in,” Vos said.

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March 28, 2019 •

Former Arizona Attorney General Launches Campaign Against Dark Money

Former Attorney General Terry Goddard launched an effort to prohibit the use of dark money in political campaigns. The proposed constitutional amendment, called The Voters Right to Know Act, seeks to require anyone spending at least $5,000 to influence the […]

Former Attorney General Terry Goddard launched an effort to prohibit the use of dark money in political campaigns.

The proposed constitutional amendment, called The Voters Right to Know Act, seeks to require anyone spending at least $5,000 to influence the outcome of an Arizona election to disclose the original source of the money.

The disclosure requirement would apply to both state and local elections in Arizona.

In order for the proposal to appear on the ballot in the 2020 general election, the campaign committee behind the citizen initiative will need close to half a million signatures.

Last year, the same campaign committee missed qualification for the ballot by just over 2,000 signatures.

The amendment would require the Citizens Clean Elections Commission to enforce the new campaign finance disclosure rules and exempt the commission’s anti-dark money rules from oversight by the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council.

The proposal coincides with current Attorney General Mark Brnovich investigating whether Tempe’s ordinance banning dark money violates a law passed last year banning cities from enacting their own dark money disclosure regulations.

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March 28, 2019 •

West Virginia Governor Signs Campaign Contribution Bill

Gov. Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 622 on March 27, with an effective date of June 7. The bill increases campaign contribution limits allowing $2,800 to candidates, $5,000 to political action committees (PACs), and $10,000 to party committees. The current […]

Gov. Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 622 on March 27, with an effective date of June 7.

The bill increases campaign contribution limits allowing $2,800 to candidates, $5,000 to political action committees (PACs), and $10,000 to party committees. The current limits for each category are set at $1,000.

PACs will also be required to electronically file all independent expenditure reports and financial statements.

The bill also requires federal PACs who spend money on state elections to file disclosures with the Office of Secretary of the State.

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March 28, 2019 •

Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance Massachusetts: “MassFiscal’s Biggest Funder Is a Nonprofit It Founded” by Matt Stout for Boston Globe Mississippi: “Effort to Protect Identity of Nonprofit Donors Passes Amid Charges It Opens Door to ‘Dark Money’ in State Politics” by Bobby Harrison […]

Campaign Finance

Massachusetts: “MassFiscal’s Biggest Funder Is a Nonprofit It Founded” by Matt Stout for Boston Globe

Mississippi: “Effort to Protect Identity of Nonprofit Donors Passes Amid Charges It Opens Door to ‘Dark Money’ in State Politics” by Bobby Harrison for Mississippi Today

Ethics

National: “Federal Appeals Court to Consider: Can Trump block his critics on Twitter?” by Ann Marimow (Washington Post) for Chicago Tribune

California: “A State Lawmaker Borrowed Nearly a Half-Million Dollars to Buy a Home. You Might Have Voted for Her Lender.” by Matt Levin for CALmatters

Pennsylvania: “GOP Legislator Prays to Jesus for Forgiveness Before State’s First Muslim Woman Swears In” by Reis Thebault (Washington Post) for MSN

Vermont: “Ethics Commission Head Worried Organization Viewed as ‘Toothless’” by Mark Johnson for VTDigger.org

Washington D.C.: “Constituent Services Funds Are Supposed to Help D.C. Residents in Need. Do They?” by Fenit Nirappil for Washington Post

Lobbying

National: “‘Happy to Do It’: Emails show current FAA chief coordinated with ex-lobbyist colleagues on policy” by Derek Kravitz and Jack Gillum for ProPublica

Florida: “‘As American as Apple Pie’: How Miami commissioner’s aunt became a high-priced lobbyist” by David Smiley and Joey Flechas for Miami Herald

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March 27, 2019 •

Nanaimo–Ladysmith (British Columbia) By-Election Scheduled for May 6

On May 6, a by-election will be held for the electoral district of Nanaimo–Ladysmith (British Columbia) to fill a vacancy in the Canadian House of Commons. On January 7, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Stéphane Perrault, had received official […]

On May 6, a by-election will be held for the electoral district of Nanaimo–Ladysmith (British Columbia) to fill a vacancy in the Canadian House of Commons.

On January 7, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Stéphane Perrault, had received official notice from the Speaker of the House of Commons that the seat became vacant following the resignation of Sheila Malcolmson, who resigned on January 2 to run in a provincial byelection.

On March 24, Elections Canada declared the May election date and announced the opening of its local office in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

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March 27, 2019 •

Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance Idaho: “Campaign Finance Overhaul Passes House” by Nathan Brown for Idaho Falls Post Register Massachusetts: “House Proposal for Caucus Funding Left Out of Budget Bill – but Caucuses May Still Fundraise” by Shira Schoenberg for MassLive.com Massachusetts: “Mayor […]

Campaign Finance

Idaho: “Campaign Finance Overhaul Passes House” by Nathan Brown for Idaho Falls Post Register

Massachusetts: “House Proposal for Caucus Funding Left Out of Budget Bill – but Caucuses May Still Fundraise” by Shira Schoenberg for MassLive.com

Massachusetts: “Mayor Walsh Has an Effective Fund-Raising Firm; It Employs His Girlfriend” by Matt Stout for Boston Globe

New Jersey: “Dark Money Disclosure Bill Advanced to Gov. Phil Murphy’s Desk” by David Levinsky for Burlington County Times

Oregon: “Oregon Campaign Finance Reformers Focus On ‘Dark Money’” by Jeff Mapes for Oregon Public Broadcasting

Elections

Florida: “Florida Agreed to Let Felons Vote. Now Republicans Are Trying to Limit Who Is Eligible” by Amy Gardner for Washington Post

Ethics

National: “Barr’s Declaration on Trump Puts Justice Dept. Back in Political Crucible” by Charlie Savage, Mark Mazzetti, and Katie Benner (New York Times) for MSN

Maryland: “Ethics Committee Recommends Reprimand of Baltimore County Del. Jay Jalisi Over ‘Toxic’ Work Environment” by Pamela Wood and Luke Broadwater for Baltimore Sun

Redistricting

National: “High Court Questions Courts’ Role in Partisan Redistricting” by Mark Sherman for AP News

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March 26, 2019 •

Kentucky Governor Signs Executive Agency Lobbying Bill

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed Senate Bill 6 on March 25. The bill requires executive agency lobbyists to disclose compensation and prohibits compensation contingent on awarding of a government contract or based on a percentage of a government contract awarded. […]

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed Senate Bill 6 on March 25.

The bill requires executive agency lobbyists to disclose compensation and prohibits compensation contingent on awarding of a government contract or based on a percentage of a government contract awarded.

Senate Bill 6 also extends the length of time a public servant must wait to have certain government contracts from six months to one year.

The bill becomes effective 90 days after the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn sine die on March 30.

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March 26, 2019 •

NJ Legislature Sends Independent Expenditure Disclosure Bill to Governor

Senate Bill 1500 has made it Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk after being introduced in early 2018. The bill requires committees to report contributions in excess of $10,000 and expenditures in excess of $3,000 to the Election Law Enforcement Commission. Additionally, […]

Senate Bill 1500 has made it Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk after being introduced in early 2018.

The bill requires committees to report contributions in excess of $10,000 and expenditures in excess of $3,000 to the Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Additionally, when the contributor is an individual giving more than $10,000, the committee must disclose the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual’s employer.

If signed by the governor, the bill will impact the January 15, 2020, independent expenditure report.

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March 26, 2019 •

Tuesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Ethics National: “Trump’s Legal Troubles Are Far from Over Even as Mueller Probe Ends” by Rosalind Helderman and David Fahrenthold for San Jose Mercury News National: “Prosecutors No Longer Pursuing 188 Inauguration Protest Cases” by Keith Alexander (Washington Post) for […]

Ethics

National: “Trump’s Legal Troubles Are Far from Over Even as Mueller Probe Ends” by Rosalind Helderman and David Fahrenthold for San Jose Mercury News

National: “Prosecutors No Longer Pursuing 188 Inauguration Protest Cases” by Keith Alexander (Washington Post) for MSN

Connecticut: “State Ethics Board Drops Appeal of Edsall Nepotism Ruling” by Paul Doyle for Connecticut Post

Florida: “Ethics Board Aims to Put Teeth in Code, Seeks Greater Oversight of Tallahassee City Hall” by Jeff Burlew for Tallahassee Democrat

Washington D.C.: “As D.C. Leaders Tout Reforms, Latest Ethics Scandal Evokes City’s History of Corruption” by Paul Schwartzman for Washington Post

Lobbying

Colorado: “Lawmakers Take Aim at Disclosure Loopholes in Colorado Lobbying Laws” by Sandra Fish for Colorado Sun

Florida: “Fisher Island Residents Needed a Lobbyist. They Hired Miami’s Mayor.” by Douglas Hanks and Joey Flechas for Miami Herald

Nevada: “After Kelvin Atkinson’s Downfall, Will There Be Strong Anti-Corruption Reforms in Nevada?” by James DeHaven for Reno Gazette-Journal

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March 25, 2019 •

NYCU Video Digest – March 25, 2019

We know there’s a story that’s going to be dominating the headlines for awhile, but here are a few stories on new campaign finance laws, ethics commissions and revolving door restrictions you don’t want to miss!  

We know there’s a story that’s going to be dominating the headlines for awhile, but here are a few stories on new campaign finance laws, ethics commissions and revolving door restrictions you don’t want to miss!

 

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March 25, 2019 •

Connecticut Announces Special Election for House District 130

Gov. Ned Lamont announced a special election for May 7, to fill a state representative vacancy in House District 130. The seat became vacant following the passing of State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago on March 15. The winner of the special […]

Gov. Ned Lamont announced a special election for May 7, to fill a state representative vacancy in House District 130.

The seat became vacant following the passing of State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago on March 15.

The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of Santiago’s term through 2020.

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