February 21, 2020 •

New Jersey Governor Proposes Ethics and Transparency Reforms

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

On February 19, Gov. Murphy released a legislative package of Ethics and Transparency Reforms. The legislative package contains five bills with the aim to strengthen restrictions on lobbying, enhance financial disclosures, and increase public access. The lobbying bill requires lobbying […]

On February 19, Gov. Murphy released a legislative package of Ethics and Transparency Reforms.

The legislative package contains five bills with the aim to strengthen restrictions on lobbying, enhance financial disclosures, and increase public access.

The lobbying bill requires lobbying firms and companies to disclose when a person or firm is hired to provide professional services other than lobbying.

Additionally, the bill reduces the registration threshold from 20 hours of lobbying to one hour per calendar year.

The bill will prohibit legislators and their staff from accepting any gift related to their public duties.

Furthermore, the bill aligns the gift rules to the same standard currently governing executive branch employees.

The legislative package also extends the one-year cooling off period for the governor, cabinet, and legislators to two years before being able to register as lobbyists.

Gov. Murphy also introduced a bill to increase transparency and requires bills or resolutions not to be voted on unless their final form has been publicly available for 72 hours on the Legislature’s website.

The governor is also expected to issue other executive actions regarding requirements for those that do business with the state.

The bill proposals were sent to Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Coughlin for review.

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February 12, 2020 •

Pennsylvania Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Stop Revolving Door

Pennsylvania Capitol Building

On February 3, State Representative Melissa Shusterman introduced a bill amending the revolving door provision. The bill requires public officials to wait one year after their term of office before lobbying. House Bill 2263 establishes a lifetime ban for public […]

On February 3, State Representative Melissa Shusterman introduced a bill amending the revolving door provision.

The bill requires public officials to wait one year after their term of office before lobbying.

House Bill 2263 establishes a lifetime ban for public officials from lobbying the governmental body they were associated with.

The bill also increases the waiting period for former public employees from one to two years.

If passed, this act takes effect in 60 days after enactment.

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February 11, 2020 •

New Jersey Introduces Local Lobbying Disclosure Bill

New Jersey Capitol Building

On February 3, a bill was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly establishing the Local Governmental Process Activities Disclosure Act. Assembly Bill 2432 extends the same disclosure, reporting, and other requirements that govern the activities of governmental affairs agents to […]

On February 3, a bill was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly establishing the Local Governmental Process Activities Disclosure Act.

Assembly Bill 2432 extends the same disclosure, reporting, and other requirements that govern the activities of governmental affairs agents to their activities with respect to all local government levels.

If passed, this act takes effect immediately.

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January 3, 2020 •

New York Commission Launches System-Generated Client Semiannual Reports

New York Capitol Building

On December 19, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics launched the system-generated Client Semiannual Report (CSA) feature on the state’s online Lobbying Application system. Contractual clients who lobby on their own behalf and do not utilize the services of any […]

On December 19, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics launched the system-generated Client Semiannual Report (CSA) feature on the state’s online Lobbying Application system.

Contractual clients who lobby on their own behalf and do not utilize the services of any retained lobbyists are not required to file CSA reports.

Instead, system-generated CSA reports will be created with information directly imported from filed lobbyist bimonthly reports covering the applicable reporting period.

The system will not create a system-generated CSA if an Employed Principal Lobbyist has submitted a CSA report for the January to June reporting period.

Also, contractual clients are still required to disclose sources of funding or indicate source of funding reporting is not required.

No filing fee is required for system-generated CSA reports except to add retained lobbyist information.

Adding retained lobbyists requires a $50 filing fee and filing CSA reports going forward.

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December 12, 2019 •

Connecticut General Assembly to Convene Two Special Sessions

Connecticut State Capitol

The Connecticut General Assembly is scheduled to convene for a special session on December 18. The special legislative session is to vote on issues regarding a hospital tax settlement and a restaurant workers wage bill. Gov. Ned Lamont and the […]

The Connecticut General Assembly is scheduled to convene for a special session on December 18.

The special legislative session is to vote on issues regarding a hospital tax settlement and a restaurant workers wage bill.

Gov. Ned Lamont and the Legislature also agreed to convene a special session in early January to address a bonding bill and a long-term infrastructure plan.

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December 11, 2019 •

Georgia Secretary of State Announces Special Election for House District 171

The Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced a special election for January 28 for House District 171. The seat is vacant after Rep. Jay Powell unexpectedly died in November while attending a Republican leadership retreat. A runoff election is scheduled […]

The Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced a special election for January 28 for House District 171.

The seat is vacant after Rep. Jay Powell unexpectedly died in November while attending a Republican leadership retreat.

A runoff election is scheduled for February 25 if no candidate receives a majority of the vote during the special election.

The winner of the election will serve the remaining year of Powell’s term.

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December 9, 2019 •

Connecticut Governor Announces Special Election for House District 151

Connecticut State Capitol

Gov. Ned Lamont announced a special election on January 21, 2020 for House District 151. The seat for House District 151 was vacated earlier this week by Rep. Fred Camillo after being elected first selectman of Greenwich in November. The […]

Gov. Ned Lamont announced a special election on January 21, 2020 for House District 151.

The seat for House District 151 was vacated earlier this week by Rep. Fred Camillo after being elected first selectman of Greenwich in November.

The winner of the special election will complete the remaining year of Camillo’s term.

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December 6, 2019 •

Tallahassee City Commission Passes Ordinance Amending Ethics Code

Tallahassee City Hall

On December 4, the Tallahassee City Commission approved an ordinance amending the city’s ethics code. The ordinance expands the Independent Ethics Board’s jurisdiction to covered individuals including: Each public official An employee or member of a city board, commission, or […]

On December 4, the Tallahassee City Commission approved an ordinance amending the city’s ethics code.

The ordinance expands the Independent Ethics Board’s jurisdiction to covered individuals including:

  • Each public official
  • An employee or member of a city board, commission, or council required to file financial disclosures, or with purchasing authority exceeding $35,000
  • Employees participating in the procurement of services or commodities exceeding $10,000

The amended ethics code extends the ban on solicitation and acceptance of gifts to covered individuals.

Additionally, the amended code extends the prohibition against misuse of public position to all public officials and employees of the city.

The ordinance becomes effective January 1, 2020.

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December 6, 2019 •

U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Calls Special Session for Amendment to Cannabis Law

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. announced a special session for December 18. The special session is to consider an amendment to the Medicinal Cannabis Patient Care Act. The amendment provides more regulatory controls and enables the generation of tax and fee […]

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. announced a special session for December 18.

The special session is to consider an amendment to the Medicinal Cannabis Patient Care Act.

The amendment provides more regulatory controls and enables the generation of tax and fee revenues.

If passed, the amendment would allow for the sale of cannabis products to tourists and create a regulated system to prevent fraud, increase transparency, testing, licensing and penalties.

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December 5, 2019 •

New York Commission Announces Enforcement of Specificity Requirements

The New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) announced the commission will require 2019 bimonthly reports due in September and later to include the level of specificity required by lobbying regulations. The commission will require lobbying activity information to […]

The New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) announced the commission will require 2019 bimonthly reports due in September and later to include the level of specificity required by lobbying regulations.

The commission will require lobbying activity information to correctly disclose the focus type, focus (including the specific bill, resolution, or executive order), the identifying number, description of the focus, type of lobbying communication, and names of the party lobbied.

Lobbyists may be required to amend previously filed reports in September and November to comply with the specificity requirements.

JCOPE has produced a guideline, “How to Properly Disclose Lobbying Activities” on their website outlining the required information required for proper disclosure.

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December 5, 2019 •

New York Campaign Finance Reform Commission Recommends Public Finance System, Lower Contribution Limits

The New York Campaign Finance Reform Commission released their report containing recommendations regarding the creation of a public campaign finance system and reforms to the state election laws. The commission proposes to create a voluntary public campaign finance system for […]

The New York Campaign Finance Reform Commission released their report containing recommendations regarding the creation of a public campaign finance system and reforms to the state election laws.

The commission proposes to create a voluntary public campaign finance system for statewide and legislative candidates.

The public campaign finance system establishes reporting requirements for participating candidates and sets initial eligibility requirements for the program.

The commission also proposed lowering campaign contribution limits for candidates seeking statewide office to $18,000.

Contribution limits for candidates seeking the office of state senator and assembly member would also be lowered to $10,000 and $6,000, respectively.

Contribution limits would be divided equally between primary and general elections and applied to both participating and nonparticipating candidates in the proposed public campaign finance system.

The commission’s recommendations become effective December 22, unless the Legislature supersedes the report’s proposals by statute.

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December 4, 2019 •

Connecticut Governor Announces Special Elections

Connecticut State Capitol

Gov. Ned Lamont announced a special election on January 14, 2020, to fill two vacancies in the House of Representatives. House District 48 was most recently held by Rep. Linda Orange who passed away due to pancreatic cancer. Rep. Brenda […]

Gov. Ned Lamont announced a special election on January 14, 2020, to fill two vacancies in the House of Representatives.

House District 48 was most recently held by Rep. Linda Orange who passed away due to pancreatic cancer.

Rep. Brenda Kupchick resigned from the House District 132 seat on November 22 to assume office as chief elected official of Fairfield.

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November 18, 2019 •

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards Wins Reelection

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards

On Saturday, Gov. John Bel Edwards defeated Republican challenger Eddie Rispone to win reelection. The election was close heading into the final week and Edwards held onto his seat with a difference of 40,300 votes. Edwards becomes the first Democrat […]

On Saturday, Gov. John Bel Edwards defeated Republican challenger Eddie Rispone to win reelection.

The election was close heading into the final week and Edwards held onto his seat with a difference of 40,300 votes.

Edwards becomes the first Democrat in Louisiana to win reelection since 1975.

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November 14, 2019 •

New York JCOPE Correspondence Clarifies Client Report Due Date

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) sent out a statement clarifying an earlier email reminder regarding lobbyist bimonthly filings due this week. The previous email reminder was sent out to JCOPE’s distribution list containing clients, lobbyists, and other entities […]

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) sent out a statement clarifying an earlier email reminder regarding lobbyist bimonthly filings due this week.

The previous email reminder was sent out to JCOPE’s distribution list containing clients, lobbyists, and other entities no longer registered in New York.

The email reminder was only relevant for lobbyists filing bimonthly reports covering the period of September through October.

Client filings are not due again until January 15, 2020.

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