March 24, 2020 •

No Late Fees for DC Lobbyist Reports due April 15

Washington D.C. City Hall

On March 23, the District of Columbia Board of Ethics and Government Accountability issued a notice to lobbyists informing them penalties will not be issued for late filings due in April because of the coronavirus pandemic. On April 15, lobbyists […]

On March 23, the District of Columbia Board of Ethics and Government Accountability issued a notice to lobbyists informing them penalties will not be issued for late filings due in April because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On April 15, lobbyists are required to file activity reports for the first three months of calendar year 2020.

That deadline has not been changed.

The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is open and operating on full telework status through April 27.

Filing electronically online is working normally and payments can still be accepted by mail.

However, the OGE will be unable to provide walk-in assistance or to accept deliveries.

In addition to the OGE not assessing late fees on filings that are delayed due to the public health crisis, the agency will also consider other measures to assist registrants during this time, according to the notice.

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March 23, 2020 •

Canadian Parliament to Reconvene to Address Coronavirus

Temporary Canadian House of Commons in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

On March 24, the Canadian House of Commons will reconvene for a one-day session to vote on legislation to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers are expected to allocate more than $80 billion in emergency aid for the nation. The Canadian […]

On March 24, the Canadian House of Commons will reconvene for a one-day session to vote on legislation to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers are expected to allocate more than $80 billion in emergency aid for the nation.

The Canadian Senate is then expected to meet for a one-day session on March 25 to vote on that legislation.

On March 13, the Parliament had adjourned until at least April 20 because of the emerging health crisis.

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March 19, 2020 •

Saskatchewan Lawmakers Recess Because of Coronavirus Pandemic

The Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan was adjourned at the end of its sitting on March 18 because of the coronavirus pandemic. A motion by Government House Leader Jeremy Harrison to recess the session, which was agreed to by all the […]

The Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan was adjourned at the end of its sitting on March 18 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A motion by Government House Leader Jeremy Harrison to recess the session, which was agreed to by all the lawmakers, leaves open the return date.

Specifically, the legislature will be recalled by the speaker upon the request of the government, which will determine the appropriate date for members to resume their session.

When the Assembly reconvenes, the rules of the parliamentary calendar will still apply and the completion day for the Fourth Session of the Twenty-Eighth Legislature will be set.

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March 19, 2020 •

Ontario Lawmakers Call Emergency Sitting With Planned Social Distancing

Legislative Assembly of Ontario building - Saforrest (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

At 1:00 p.m. on March 19, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario will meet in an emergency sitting to address the coronavirus pandemic. The parliament is on a scheduled recess but is meeting to try and pass legislation related to dealing […]

At 1:00 p.m. on March 19, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario will meet in an emergency sitting to address the coronavirus pandemic.

The parliament is on a scheduled recess but is meeting to try and pass legislation related to dealing with the COVID-19 virus.

Following Ontario health officials’ recommendations of social distancing, lawmakers are planning on only 24 of the 124 members to actually be present in the legislative building, according to iPolitics.

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March 17, 2020 •

The Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories Adjourns Until May

Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories

The Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories have recessed the winter legislative session. The Assembly will be on recess until May 26 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The legislature was recalled early from a one-week recess, met on March […]

The Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories have recessed the winter legislative session.

The Assembly will be on recess until May 26 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislature was recalled early from a one-week recess, met on March 16, and decided to adjourn until May.

This will allow the cabinet and lawmakers to focus efforts on addressing the spread of the virus.

While the cabinet will continue to meet during the recess, members of the Legislative Assembly will return to their respective constituencies.

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March 17, 2020 •

National Assembly of Quebec Announces Adjournment of Legislative Session

National Assembly of Quebec by Avramescu Marius

On March 17, the National Assembly of Quebec agreed to adjourn parliamentary business until Tuesday, April 21, 2020, at 1:40 p.m. The adjournment is in response to the coronavirus pandemic. If required, the leaders of the four parliamentary groups will […]

On March 17, the National Assembly of Quebec agreed to adjourn parliamentary business until Tuesday, April 21, 2020, at 1:40 p.m.

The adjournment is in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

If required, the leaders of the four parliamentary groups will recommend to the President of the National Assembly to extend the adjournment beyond April 21.

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March 17, 2020 •

FEC Will Delay Processing Reports and Requests Submitted by Mail

On March 17, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced it will be receiving but not processing mail. The FEC closed its offices to visitors on March 13. The delay in processing is due to the bulk of the agency’s staff […]

On March 17, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced it will be receiving but not processing mail.

The FEC closed its offices to visitors on March 13.

The delay in processing is due to the bulk of the agency’s staff teleworking in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

This affects all documents submitted on paper, including:

    • Non-electronically filed reports
    • Advisory opinion requests
    • Enforcement complaints
    • Court-case documents

While campaign finance reports filed electronically will be processed in the normal fashion, the FEC will not be processing campaign finance reports filed by mail or other delivery services until the agency resumes normal mail operations.

The FEC maintains filers should still continue to file their reports on time.

The FEC does not have legal authority to extend any deadlines, but it “may choose not to pursue administrative fines against filers prevented from filing by reasonably unforeseen circumstances beyond their control,” according to its press release.

All electronic filing systems, web-based programs, and the agency’s website remain online and functional.

The FEC staff will still respond to all telephone and email inquiries.

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March 13, 2020 •

Canadian Parliament to Adjourn Until At Least April 20

Temporary Canadian House of Commons in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

After completing its legislative business today, the Parliament of Canada will adjourn until at least April 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The political parties have agreed to the adjournment, according to Conservative House of Commons leader Mark Strahl. “Members […]

After completing its legislative business today, the Parliament of Canada will adjourn until at least April 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The political parties have agreed to the adjournment, according to Conservative House of Commons leader Mark Strahl.

“Members of Parliament are speaking with one voice today to say that we will do our part,” said MP Peter Julian on behalf of the New Democratic Party, according to Politico.

Additionally, on March 12, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus.

Even while adjourned, the government will still have the ability to allocate federal funds to try to stem the spread of the virus.

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March 12, 2020 •

U.S. Capitol Limits Access to Public Over Virus Concerns

Starting today at 5 p.m. and ending on April 1 at 8 p.m., the public will have limited access to the United States Capitol because of concerns of the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Michael C. Stenger, the Sergeant […]

Starting today at 5 p.m. and ending on April 1 at 8 p.m., the public will have limited access to the United States Capitol because of concerns of the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Michael C. Stenger, the Sergeant at Arms of U.S. Senate, and Paul D. Irving, the Sergeant at Arms of U.S. House of Representatives, in consultation with the Office of the Attending Physician, issued a statement on March 12.

They stated the Capitol Visitor Center will close all tours of the Capitol and other congressional office buildings, including the House and Senate office buildings and the Capitol grounds.

“Lawmakers, staff, credentialed journalists and visitors with official business would still be allowed entry,” according to Reuters. 

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March 6, 2020 •

Nomination for Fourth FEC Commissioner to be Considered

On March 10, the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee will hold a nomination hearing. This will comprise of the full committee to consider James “Trey” Trainor as a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission (FEC).   Trainor is a […]

On March 10, the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee will hold a nomination hearing.

This will comprise of the full committee to consider James “Trey” Trainor as a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

 

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 the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, in the Department of Defense, Office of General Counsel.

President Donald J. Trump had originally nominated Trainor to serve as a commissioner in 2017, but a hearing was never held.

 

Currently the FEC, which has three of its six commissioner positions vacant, does not have a quorum to take most formal measures.

The FEC requires at least four commissioners to agree on any official action.

 

To become a commissioner, Trainor must be confirmed by the full U.S. Senate.

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March 4, 2020 •

British Columbia In-House Lobbyist Guidance Issued For Upcoming Changes

British Columbia Legislature

British Columbia’s Office of the Registrar issued a guidance document for organizations last month. This in anticipation of the changes to the province’s lobbying laws taking effect on May 4. The guidance document provides an overview for organizations with in-house […]

British Columbia’s Office of the Registrar issued a guidance document for organizations last month.

This in anticipation of the changes to the province’s lobbying laws taking effect on May 4.

The guidance document provides an overview for organizations with in-house lobbyists under the Lobbyists Transparency Act.

Beginning on May 4, the time threshold for requiring in-house lobbyists to register is reduced from 100 hours to 50 hours in the preceding 12-month period.

Time spent preparing to lobby, researching and writing reports, and strategizing would be included in calculating the time threshold required for registration.

However, activities predating a decision to lobbying would “likely not be included in the calculation,” according to the published guidance.

Organizations that are not member-based or that do not have a primary purpose to promote or oppose issues may qualify for the exception.

This is only if the organizations have fewer than six employees and the lobbying activities add up to fewer than 50 hours in the preceding 12-month period.

Examples of organizations unlikely to qualify for the exemption are unions and chambers of commerce.

Presently, a new online Lobbyists Registry is in development to replace the current Lobbyists Registry.

This registry is scheduled to launch on May 4, 2020.

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March 2, 2020 •

Nova Scotia Bill Would Give Chief Electoral Officer Power to Impose Penalties on Third Parties

Province House, Nova Scotia - Louperivois

On February 27, a bill containing over 40 amendments and changes to Nova Scotia’s Election Act, passed its Second Reading. The bill was only introduced into the Nova Scotia House of Assembly last week. Government Bill No. 225, Elections Act […]

On February 27, a bill containing over 40 amendments and changes to Nova Scotia’s Election Act, passed its Second Reading.

The bill was only introduced into the Nova Scotia House of Assembly last week.

Government Bill No. 225, Elections Act (amended), was introduced by Mark Furey, the Minister responsible for the Elections Act.

 

The bill imposes penalties on third parties failing to file their election advertising report within four months after election day.

The penalty is up to $50 for each day the third party fails to file the report, up to a maximum of $1,500.

The Chief Electoral Officer has the sole discretion of imposing the penalty.

The Chief Electoral Officer could also deduct the amount of any outstanding penalties from reimbursement to be paid to those third parties.

 

The legislation would allow for internet voting for members of the Canadian Armed Forces stationed outside the province or to be so stationed during an election.

As introduced, the bill would amend the definition of election expenses.

It would clarify the timing of when expenses are considered election expenses.

This will be done by including expenses related to an official addition or a judicial recount, and by adding family and accessibility expenses.

 

By enacting a definition of family and accessibility expenses, reimbursements would be allowed to candidates for childcare, spousal care, elder care, or the care of a person with a disability.

Additionally, candidates with disabilities could seek reimbursement for expenses incurred during an election in relation to their disabilities.

 

The bill includes various other amendments related to voting and polling procedures for the province.

If passed, the legislation would come into force upon proclamation.

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February 24, 2020 •

Ontario Canada electoral districts Byelection for Orleans and Ottawa-Vanier: Political Blackout

Legislative Assembly of Ontario building - Saforrest (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

From February 26 at 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on February 27, there will be the statutory blackout on political advertising. The blackout will be for the February 27 by-election being held for the Ontario Canada electoral districts of Orleans […]

From February 26 at 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on February 27, there will be the statutory blackout on political advertising.

The blackout will be for the February 27 by-election being held for the Ontario Canada electoral districts of Orleans and Ottawa-Vanier.

On August 2, 2019, the Chief Electoral of Ontario received a notice of vacancy in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for the electoral district of Ottawa-Vanier.

MPP Mona Fortier left her seat to become the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance.

On September 24, 2019, a second notice of vacancy in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario was received for the electoral district of Orleans.

MPP Marie-France Lalonde resigned from her seat to run for a seat in Canadian Parliament, which she won on October 21.

On January 29, 2020, the Office of Premier Doug Ford issued writs for the byelections to be held on February 17.

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February 13, 2020 •

Federal Lobbyist Bundling Disclosure Threshold Increased to $19,000

Today, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) published its price index adjustments for expenditure limitations and the federal lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold. The lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold has increased for 2020 from $18,700 to $19,000. This threshold amount is adjusted annually. […]

Today, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) published its price index adjustments for expenditure limitations and the federal lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold.

The lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold has increased for 2020 from $18,700 to $19,000. This threshold amount is adjusted annually.

Federal law requires authorized committees of federal candidates, leadership political action committees (PACs), and political party committees to disclose contributions bundled by lobbyists and lobbyists’ PACs.

Additionally, the FEC published its adjusted Coordinated Party Expenditure Limits for political parties for 2020.

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