January 22, 2016 •

California’s FPPC Tightens Reporting Regulations

At its January 21, 2016, meeting, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) adopted rules amending reporting requirements for “other payments to influence legislative or administrative action”, as provided in California Government Code section 86116. The adopted regulations require such payments […]

FPPCAt its January 21, 2016, meeting, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) adopted rules amending reporting requirements for “other payments to influence legislative or administrative action”, as provided in California Government Code section 86116. The adopted regulations require such payments to be itemized on periodic disclosure reports.

According to the FPPC, these payments encompass a range of expenditures and lump sum reporting does not provide the type of transparency imagined by the drafters of the statute. The amended regulations affect lobbyist employers and persons spending $5,000 or more to influence legislative or administrative action.

The rules become effective 30 days after they are filed with the Secretary of State.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

January 18, 2016 •

Washington AG Recommends Revolving Door Legislation

Attorney General Bob Ferguson has recommended legislation prohibiting state officials and employees from becoming lobbyists for one year after leaving office. This is his second attempt to address his state’s revolving door. The bill is being considered in committee. Photo of […]

Bob FergusonAttorney General Bob Ferguson has recommended legislation prohibiting state officials and employees from becoming lobbyists for one year after leaving office.

This is his second attempt to address his state’s revolving door. The bill is being considered in committee.

Photo of Attorney General Bob Ferguson by Joe Mabel on Wikimedia Commons.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

January 13, 2016 •

San Mateo County Implements Online Campaign Finance Reporting

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, along with the county chief elections officer, has implemented an electronic filing system for campaign finance reporting. The electronic filing system is now available. Candidates and committees can file disclosures online, and the […]

San_Mateo_County_government_centerThe San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, along with the county chief elections officer, has implemented an electronic filing system for campaign finance reporting. The electronic filing system is now available.

Candidates and committees can file disclosures online, and the disclosures will be posted immediately on the county elections website, www.shapethefuture.org.

Photo of the San Mateo County Government Center by Coolcaesar on Wikimedia Commons.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

January 13, 2016 •

San Francisco Ethics Commission Meets to Begin Implementing Proposition C

The San Francisco Ethics Commission will meet January 13, 2016, to discuss the implementation of Proposition C, the November 2015 ballot measure imposing registration and reporting requirements on expenditure lobbyists. The measure takes effect February 1, 2016. The Ethics Commission […]

Seal of San FranciscoThe San Francisco Ethics Commission will meet January 13, 2016, to discuss the implementation of Proposition C, the November 2015 ballot measure imposing registration and reporting requirements on expenditure lobbyists. The measure takes effect February 1, 2016.

The Ethics Commission welcomes public input on the promulgation of regulations related to the registration threshold, how to account for staff time spent on expenditure lobbying, registration fee exemptions for nonprofit organizations, and other related topics. The meeting is at noon in City Hall.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

January 13, 2016 •

San Francisco Ethics Commission to Consider Closing Pay-to-Play Loophole

A 2014 Superior Court decision is being reviewed by the San Francisco Ethics Commission. Critics of the decision argue it created a loophole wherein money a candidate raised via a general purpose committee can be used to elect or defeat […]

San FranciscoA 2014 Superior Court decision is being reviewed by the San Francisco Ethics Commission. Critics of the decision argue it created a loophole wherein money a candidate raised via a general purpose committee can be used to elect or defeat candidates for other offices.

Further, the decision allows candidates and officeholders to skirt contribution limits and raise money from sources that would otherwise be prohibited.

The San Francisco Ethics Commission is being urged to consider regulations that would prevent candidates from circumventing the rules.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

January 13, 2016 •

CA Lawmaker Wants to Legalize Ballot Selfies

California state Assemblyman Marc Levine has proposed a bill to allow “ballot selfies.” Under current state law, such pictures are illegal. Levine believes allowing voters to post pictures of their ballots on social media will boost voter turnout. California voter […]

Marc LevineCalifornia state Assemblyman Marc Levine has proposed a bill to allow “ballot selfies.” Under current state law, such pictures are illegal.

Levine believes allowing voters to post pictures of their ballots on social media will boost voter turnout. California voter turnout hit a record low in 2014 and many state lawmakers are attempting to bolster it with legislation this session.

Levine’s bill is being considered in committee.

Photo of Assemblyman Marc Levine courtesy of the California State Assembly on Wikimedia Commons.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

January 12, 2016 •

California Special Election Slated for April 5, 2016

Gov. Jerry Brown has called a special election for April 5, 2016, to fill a vacancy in the 31st District. Rep. Henry Perea vacated his seat in December of 2015. Perea’s term was expiring in December 2016. Therefore, the candidate […]

CaliforniaGov. Jerry Brown has called a special election for April 5, 2016, to fill a vacancy in the 31st District. Rep. Henry Perea vacated his seat in December of 2015.

Perea’s term was expiring in December 2016. Therefore, the candidate elected in the special election will serve the remainder of Perea’s term while running for re-election in the regularly scheduled general election on November 8, 2016.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

January 6, 2016 •

CA Senate Bill Has Pay-to-Play Implications

On January 5, California legislators introduced a bill with pay-to-play implications. Sen. Jerry Hill introduced a bill forbidding members of the state Board of Equalization from acting on any tax matters involving donors who had given any amount of money […]

Sen. Jerry HillOn January 5, California legislators introduced a bill with pay-to-play implications. Sen. Jerry Hill introduced a bill forbidding members of the state Board of Equalization from acting on any tax matters involving donors who had given any amount of money to their political campaigns in the previous 12 months.

Hill and his fellow lawmakers are concerned about a loophole that currently exists allowing companies with an interest in board decisions to skirt the limit.

The bill is now being considered in committee.

Photo of Sen. Jerry Hill by Dave on Wikimedia Commons.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

January 4, 2016 •

California Supreme Court Allows Advisory Measure on November 2016 Ballot

Following a ruling by the California Supreme Court, the California Legislature is permitted to place an advisory measure related to campaign finance on the November 2016 ballot. The advisory measure asks voters their opinions on campaign finance and whether there […]

California Supreme Court sealFollowing a ruling by the California Supreme Court, the California Legislature is permitted to place an advisory measure related to campaign finance on the November 2016 ballot. The advisory measure asks voters their opinions on campaign finance and whether there should be a federal constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

A conservative group challenged the constitutionality of the advisory measure, insisting the Legislature was prohibited from putting such measures before voters. The California Supreme Court ruled the advisory measure is permissible because state legislatures have a role in passing federal constitutional amendments, and therefore it met the required nexus between an advisory measure and a potential legislative action.

Proposition 49, the “Citizens United” measure, will appear on the general election ballot in November 2016.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

December 17, 2015 •

California FPPC Adopts Amendment to Gift Regulation

On December 17, 2015, the Fair Political Practices Commission amended its regulations related to agency provided tickets or passes. Currently, tickets and passes an agency provides to agency officials for entertainment, amusement, or recreational events are treated as gifts. Regulation […]

FPPCOn December 17, 2015, the Fair Political Practices Commission amended its regulations related to agency provided tickets or passes. Currently, tickets and passes an agency provides to agency officials for entertainment, amusement, or recreational events are treated as gifts.

Regulation 18944.1 creates an exception from the statutory definition of “gift” for tickets or passes provided by an agency to certain agency officials under specified circumstances, allowing agency officials to use tickets and passes without violating the state’s gift law.

The proposed regulation was adopted with a vote of 5-0. It will go into effect 30 days after filing with the Secretary of State.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

December 16, 2015 •

New Campaign Finance Ordinance Effective in San Jose

The San Jose City Council approved an ordinance modifying the city’s campaign finance law. Ordinance No. 29642 allows separate contribution limits for both the special municipal election and the special runoff election. The ordinance also changed the campaign contribution period […]

Seal_of_San_Jose,_CaliforniaThe San Jose City Council approved an ordinance modifying the city’s campaign finance law.

Ordinance No. 29642 allows separate contribution limits for both the special municipal election and the special runoff election. The ordinance also changed the campaign contribution period to end at 11:59 p.m. on the day before the election.

The new law took effect December 14, 2015.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

December 15, 2015 •

Washington Legislative Ethics Board Clarifies Free Meals for Legislators

The Legislative Ethics Board in Washington clarified its rule on free meals for legislators, which became effective January 1, 2015. At its December meeting, the board considered whether the rule should have more flexibility in its application in certain circumstances. […]

Washington State CapitolThe Legislative Ethics Board in Washington clarified its rule on free meals for legislators, which became effective January 1, 2015. At its December meeting, the board considered whether the rule should have more flexibility in its application in certain circumstances.

The board determined the following based on its discussion: annual, sit-down complimentary dinners to which all legislators are invited during a legislative session are not the type of dinners sought to be limited by the rule; when complimentary lunch is served at a city council meeting that is open to the public, such meal does not count toward the 12 free meals permitted under the rule; annual, sit down lunches hosted by business associations who employ lobbyists do not count against the 12 free meals permitted under the rule because such lunches are permissible under a separate exemption to the state gift ban; and potluck meals held as a result of a social relationship between a legislator and a lobbyist where the purpose of the meal is not to discuss legislative business do not count against the 12 free meals permitted under the rule.

Photo of the Washington State Capitol building by Nikopoley on Wikimedia Commons.

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close

December 11, 2015 •

San Jose Considering New Lobbyist Requirements

Mayor Sam Liccardo is proposing new lobbyist disclosure rules for the city of San Jose. The rules would require lobbyists to report lobbyist activity weekly in electronic form. Currently, the city of San Jose requires quarterly disclosures be filed on […]

Seal_of_San_Jose,_CaliforniaMayor Sam Liccardo is proposing new lobbyist disclosure rules for the city of San Jose. The rules would require lobbyists to report lobbyist activity weekly in electronic form. Currently, the city of San Jose requires quarterly disclosures be filed on paper.

The new rules also would require lobbyists to specify how they are contacting city officials – in person, by phone, or by email.

The city council will consider the mayor’s proposals at its next meeting, scheduled for December 15, 2015.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

December 4, 2015 •

Washington PDC Considers Amending Campaign Finance Regulations

The Public Disclosure Commission is considering whether to adopt new regulations increasing monetary penalties for campaign finance reporting violations. As part of the same proposed rules, the commission is considering changing its methods for resolving some disclosure complaints. Currently, there […]

WashingtonThe Public Disclosure Commission is considering whether to adopt new regulations increasing monetary penalties for campaign finance reporting violations. As part of the same proposed rules, the commission is considering changing its methods for resolving some disclosure complaints.

Currently, there is a three year backlog of complaints; this proposed rule-making is an effort to streamline the complaint process in order to reduce the backlog.

The commission meets December 3, 2015, to consider these new regulations.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close