March 17, 2020 •

Hawaii Lawmakers Recess Due to COVID-19 Concerns

Hawaii Capitol Building

The House and Senate leadership announced on March 16 that the 60-day legislative session is going into an immediate recess expected to last eight weeks. Legislators are following the recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The […]

The House and Senate leadership announced on March 16 that the 60-day legislative session is going into an immediate recess expected to last eight weeks.

Legislators are following the recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The guidelines urge the public to refrain from gathering in groups of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

The session will resume where it left off subject to the call of Senate President Ron Kouchi and House Speaker Scott Saiki.

This does not affect lobbyist reporting.

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March 16, 2020 •

Lousiana Legislature Suspends Session

On March 16, the Louisiana Legislature was temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. The suspension is scheduled to be in effect until 11 a.m. on March 31. Per the constitution, the legislature is still scheduled to adjourn sine die on June […]

On March 16, the Louisiana Legislature was temporarily suspended due to COVID-19.

The suspension is scheduled to be in effect until 11 a.m. on March 31.

Per the constitution, the legislature is still scheduled to adjourn sine die on June 1.

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March 16, 2020 •

Colorado Adjourns Until March 30 Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Colorado Capitol Building

State lawmakers voted on March 14 to suspend the Colorado legislature for two weeks over concerns about the coronavirus. The decision comes after Gov. Jared Polis issued guidance against gatherings of more than 250 people. The General Assembly, which began […]

State lawmakers voted on March 14 to suspend the Colorado legislature for two weeks over concerns about the coronavirus.

The decision comes after Gov. Jared Polis issued guidance against gatherings of more than 250 people.

The General Assembly, which began its session on January 8, will adjourn until March 30 in the interest of public health.

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March 16, 2020 •

Nebraska Suspends Legislative Session

Nebraska Capitol Building

The Nebraska Legislature announced on March 16 that it will temporarily suspend its legislative session due to growing concerns about COVID-19. The Legislature will not meet as scheduled March 17 and will remain suspended until reconvened by the speaker’s office. […]

The Nebraska Legislature announced on March 16 that it will temporarily suspend its legislative session due to growing concerns about COVID-19.

The Legislature will not meet as scheduled March 17 and will remain suspended until reconvened by the speaker’s office.

This does not immediately affect lobbyist reporting.

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March 16, 2020 •

Puerto Rico Considers Unpaid Emergency Leave for Private Sector Employees

Puerto Rico Capitol Building

House legislators approved a bill to establish a new unpaid emergency leave of 20 days for employees with a suspected or actual diagnosis of a pandemic illness. House Bill 2428 seeks to amend Puerto Rico Law 180-1998. This establishes paid […]

House legislators approved a bill to establish a new unpaid emergency leave of 20 days for employees with a suspected or actual diagnosis of a pandemic illness.

House Bill 2428 seeks to amend Puerto Rico Law 180-1998.

This establishes paid sick and vacation leave benefits to some private sector employees, excluding employees classified as executives, administrators, and professionals, among others.

If the bill is enacted, employees who are sick or suspected of being sick as a result of a pandemic illness during a state of emergency must first use any accrued sick leave.

Once accrued sick leave is exhausted, employees may use accrued vacation leave to receive pay during any absence.

The bill also allows employees to use the unpaid emergency leave before using accrued vacation leave.

House Bill 2428 is before the Puerto Rico Senate for consideration.

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March 16, 2020 •

Louisiana Prepares Spending Package for Coronavirus Concerns

Louisiana lawmakers plan to create a contingency package of spending bills in case coronavirus concerns threaten to derail the session. Under the constitution, the legislature is required to pass a balanced budget before the fiscal year ends on June 30. […]

Louisiana lawmakers plan to create a contingency package of spending bills in case coronavirus concerns threaten to derail the session.

Under the constitution, the legislature is required to pass a balanced budget before the fiscal year ends on June 30.

Ordinarily, legislators don’t pass a state budget until the final hours of the session, which must end this year by June 1.

The state’s Revenue Estimating Conference has not yet settled on an official revenue projection.

The purpose of the projection is to dictate how much a lawmaker may spend.

Both the House and Senate remain on schedule to debate the budget and all other legislation.

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March 16, 2020 •

Oklahoma Lawmakers to Hold Meeting on Coronavirus

Oklahoma Capitol Building

Members of the Oklahoma Legislature will meet in a special closed-door meeting March 16 to discuss the impact of the coronavirus in the state. Republicans and Democrats will meet with state health officials to discuss the following: State services What […]

Members of the Oklahoma Legislature will meet in a special closed-door meeting March 16 to discuss the impact of the coronavirus in the state.

Republicans and Democrats will meet with state health officials to discuss the following:

    • State services
    • What other states are doing to curtail the spread of the virus
    • The future of the legislative session

Additionally, if the legislative session is suspended, Gov. Kevin Stitt may call lawmakers back into session at a later date.

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March 16, 2020 •

Louisiana Capitol Building Screens Visitors for COVID-19

The Louisiana State Legislature announced that anyone planning to enter the state Capitol building will be screened for coronavirus beginning March 16. An email was sent from the Senate and House Communication Offices regarding how to prevent the spread of […]

The Louisiana State Legislature announced that anyone planning to enter the state Capitol building will be screened for coronavirus beginning March 16.

An email was sent from the Senate and House Communication Offices regarding how to prevent the spread of the virus.

Besides all legislators, the staff and members of the public who enter will be subject to COVID-19 screening.

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March 16, 2020 •

Utah Democrats, GOP Cancel In-person State Conventions

Utah Capitol Building - Jkinsocal

The Utah Republican and Utah Democratic parties intend to cancel their in-person state conventions. Previously they were scheduled for April 25, and were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decisions come after Gov. Gary Herbert announced that mass gatherings […]

The Utah Republican and Utah Democratic parties intend to cancel their in-person state conventions.

Previously they were scheduled for April 25, and were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decisions come after Gov. Gary Herbert announced that mass gatherings of groups in the state will be limited to 100 people.

Both party leaders say they are restructuring their April 25 state conventions, but had little information about how the meetings will look.

Vetting and candidate voting traditionally associated with the state convention will still occur, but primarily in an online format.

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March 13, 2020 •

Louisiana Postpones Presidential Primary

Louisiana will postpone its presidential primary originally scheduled for April 4. The state is the first to do so in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Louisiana will push the election to June 20, from the planned date of April 4. […]

Louisiana will postpone its presidential primary originally scheduled for April 4.

The state is the first to do so in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Louisiana will push the election to June 20, from the planned date of April 4.

It has also delayed its municipal elections scheduled for May 9 to July 25.

States such as Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio, which hold primaries on March 17, have so far moved forward with their election events as planned.

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March 13, 2020 •

Utah Legislature Adjourns, Responds to COVID-19

Utah Capitol Building - Jkinsocal

In the final hours of the legislative session ending just before midnight on March 12, lawmakers pushed through a series of measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislature extended the state of emergency for Utah to June 30, […]

In the final hours of the legislative session ending just before midnight on March 12, lawmakers pushed through a series of measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislature extended the state of emergency for Utah to June 30, and instituted a “no handshake” rule at the Capitol.

To help seniors who are highly susceptible to the novel coronavirus, $24 million was appropriated.

An additional $16 million was appropriated to the Utah Department of Health.

Finally, $4 million was passed for Utah’s Division of Emergency Management dealing with COVID-19.

Senate Majority Whip Dan Hemmert passed a resolution that allows lawmakers to meet remotely, using electronic communication methods.

House Bill 186, relating to lobbyist registration as a foreign agent, was introduced but not passed.

The bill would have required a foreign agent to register with the lieutenant governor prior to engaging in any lobbying activity.

In total, lawmakers passed 510 bills ranging from affordable housing and education to women’s rights and technology.

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March 6, 2020 •

Hawaii Proposes Lobbying, Gift Law Changes

Hawaii Capitol Building

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission will hold a public hearing on its proposed administrative rules on March 19. These proposals will include amendments to the state lobbying and gift laws. The committee will also review changes to Title 21, addressing […]

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission will hold a public hearing on its proposed administrative rules on March 19.

These proposals will include amendments to the state lobbying and gift laws.

The committee will also review changes to Title 21, addressing procedures such as issuing advisory opinions.

Decisions on the proposed rules will either take place at the conclusion of the public hearing or at a properly noticed meeting of the ethics commission.

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March 5, 2020 •

Arkansas Contribution Blackout Unenforceable

Arkansas State Capitol

An order barring the state from enforcing a campaign contribution blackout period of more than two years was reinstated on March 3. Arkansas Code Annotated 7-6-203(e) prohibits candidates for state offices from accepting campaign contributions more than two years before […]

An order barring the state from enforcing a campaign contribution blackout period of more than two years was reinstated on March 3.

Arkansas Code Annotated 7-6-203(e) prohibits candidates for state offices from accepting campaign contributions more than two years before an election.

In place since 1996, the constitutionality of the law was challenged in June 2019.

The court agreed to stay the injunction, keeping the law in effect while the proceedings continued.

The injunction was affirmed on January 27.

This prompts the plaintiff’s attorney to push for the stay to be lifted, and the law to become unenforceable.

The stay was lifted on March 3, enjoining the state from enforcing the law while the lawsuit is pending.

A date has yet to be determined for a final hearing on the matter.

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March 2, 2020 •

Hawaii State Office Tower Strengthens Security

The Campaign Spending Commission released a statement indicating that the State Office Tower will have a security guard stationed in the lobby. This will begin March 2 due to heightened security measures. All visitors to the building must sign in […]

The Campaign Spending Commission released a statement indicating that the State Office Tower will have a security guard stationed in the lobby.

This will begin March 2 due to heightened security measures.

All visitors to the building must sign in and out with the security guard and will be asked to provide a photo ID.

Additionally, all visitors will be issued a visitor pass at check-in, which must be returned to the security guard at check-out.

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