November 7, 2018 •

County Clerk Who Refused to Sign Marriage Licenses for Gay Couples Loses Reelection Bid

In Kentucky, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis lost her bid for reelection Tuesday. Davis, who became nationally known when she refused to sign marriage licenses for gay couples, lost to her Democratic challenger by roughly 700 votes. Davis was initially […]

In Kentucky, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis lost her bid for reelection Tuesday. Davis, who became nationally known when she refused to sign marriage licenses for gay couples, lost to her Democratic challenger by roughly 700 votes.

Davis was initially thrust into the spotlight in 2015, when she was ultimately jailed for five days by U.S. District Judge David Bunning for contempt of court for her continued refusal to grant marriage licenses to gay couples.

She was ultimately released when she promised not to interfere with licenses granted by deputy clerks.

Elwood Caudill Jr., her victorious opponent, is currently the chief deputy property valuation administrator for the county.

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July 7, 2016 •

Ask the Experts – 2016 Party Conventions

Q. In what ways are my company and I allowed to get involved in the 2016 national party conventions? A. The opportunities for individuals and companies to involve themselves in this year’s party conventions are legion, but caution must be […]

John CozineQ. In what ways are my company and I allowed to get involved in the 2016 national party conventions?

A. The opportunities for individuals and companies to involve themselves in this year’s party conventions are legion, but caution must be exercised to avoid running afoul of the many intersecting laws governing your interaction with the delegates and other officials in attendance as well as the committees putting on the conventions.

Convention delegates and those seeking selection as delegates are subject to the federal contribution rules, which means corporations, labor organizations, foreign nationals and businesses, and federal contractors are not permitted to make contributions. However, those permitted to contribute may do so without limits. Delegates who are public officials are subject to the gifts laws governing the office they hold. In other words, federal officials are subject to federal gift laws, state officials are subject to state gift laws, and local officials are subject to any state and local laws applicable to their office.

Individuals and organizations seeking to become involved with the conventions may contribute to the convention host committees. The host committees are nonprofit organizations set up to encourage commerce in and project a favorable image of the convention city. Organizations and individuals may donate money and make in-kind donations to the host committee to defray the costs of the convention, including costs related to promoting the city and welcoming attendees, providing information and samples to attendees, administrative expenses, providing the use of convention facilities, transportation, law enforcement, hotel rooms, accommodations and hospitality for party site selection groups, and for other convention-related facilities and services.

Convention committees are related to the national party organizations and therefore federal campaign finance laws apply. As a result, direct and in-kind contributions using funds from a corporation, labor organization, foreign nations and businesses, and federal contractors are prohibited. Goods and services may be provided to the national committee in the ordinary course of business. Obviously, it’s quite important to distinguish the host committees from the convention committees. Thankfully, both host committees, the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee and the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee, use the word “host” in their official names.

The national party conventions represent high profile ways to gain exposure both personally and for your organization. This high profile is also why compliance with the rules governing your dealings with committees, delegates, and attendees is so important.

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You can directly submit questions for this feature, and we will select those most appropriate and answer them here. Send your questions to: experts@stateandfed.com.

(We are always available to answer questions from clients that are specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call or e-mail us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies to your questions are not legal advice. Instead, these replies represent our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.

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March 6, 2015 •

New Jersey Proposes Increase in Lobbyist Registration Fee

The Election Law Enforcement Commission has published a proposed lobbyist registration fee increase in the New Jersey Register. The proposed increase, which would change the registration fee from $425 to $575, is now subject to a 60-day comment period, followed […]

New Jersey state sealThe Election Law Enforcement Commission has published a proposed lobbyist registration fee increase in the New Jersey Register.

The proposed increase, which would change the registration fee from $425 to $575, is now subject to a 60-day comment period, followed by a public hearing scheduled for May 19, 2015.

The registration fee has not changed since 2004.

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March 2, 2015 •

Virginia General Assembly Sends Ethics Bill to Governor

The Virginia General Assembly adjourned sine die on Friday, February 27, 2015. Before adjourning, the legislature sent an ethics bill to the governor. House Bill 2070 changes the $250 annual, aggregate gift limit to a $100 per-gift limit. However, the […]

Virginia CapitolThe Virginia General Assembly adjourned sine die on Friday, February 27, 2015. Before adjourning, the legislature sent an ethics bill to the governor.

House Bill 2070 changes the $250 annual, aggregate gift limit to a $100 per-gift limit. However, the bill also contains a lengthy list of exceptions to the gift limit. Additionally, the bill creates an ethics council, but provides it with little power.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe spoke positively about the bill, but promised to look at it carefully due to the last-minute nature of its passage.

Photo of the Virginia State Capitol by Anderskev in Wikimedia Commons.

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February 6, 2015 •

Federal Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin Campaign Finance Provisions

U.S. District Court Judge Charles Clevert ruled several portions of Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws unconstitutional. The court permanently enjoined the state from enforcing campaign finance laws against groups discussing candidates. Those laws, however, continue to be enforceable against express advocacy. […]

WisconsinU.S. District Court Judge Charles Clevert ruled several portions of Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws unconstitutional. The court permanently enjoined the state from enforcing campaign finance laws against groups discussing candidates. Those laws, however, continue to be enforceable against express advocacy.

The court also struck down attribution and disclaimer requirements as applied to radio speech 30 seconds or shorter and enjoined enforcement of limits on what organizations could spend to solicit contributions to their own political committees.

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January 6, 2015 •

Jurisdictions Added to Our Website

The number of municipalities and regional governments our research associates track continues to grow. We now cover more than 230 municipalities and local governments. This is part of a continuous effort to better serve the needs of our clients. In […]

The number of municipalities and regional governments our research associates track continues to grow. We now cover more than 230 municipalities and local governments. This is part of a continuous effort to better serve the needs of our clients.

In that effort, we have recently added jurisdictions to our website. These entries provide the core information our clients need for their government relations work.

 

The new jurisdictions are:

American Samoa           Guam           Northern Mariana Islands     U.S. Virgin Islands

                                             

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December 12, 2014 •

State and Federal Adds Inaugural Coverage

State and Federal Communications is pleased to announce the addition of information to assist you with your planning for the upcoming gubernatorial inaugurations and related events. The document, available for subscribers to our services, can be found on the User […]

Inauguration RulesState and Federal Communications is pleased to announce the addition of information to assist you with your planning for the upcoming gubernatorial inaugurations and related events. The document, available for subscribers to our services, can be found on the User Dashboard, which is the landing page you arrive at after logging in to the website. The link can be found on the left-hand side, below your bookmarks and the link to the Classroom tutorial videos.

Two common scenarios are covered: the rules on providing inaugural event tickets to public officials and the rules covering contributions to inaugural committees. All 36 states that elected a governor in 2014 are covered.

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December 2, 2014 •

Missouri Governor Changes Mind: No special session

In an about-face, Gov. Jay Nixon announced a special session is not necessary. After alerting the Legislature he was planning on calling a special session, legislative leaders suggested the governor already possessed the power required to ensure Missouri Highway Patrol […]

JeffersonstatueIn an about-face, Gov. Jay Nixon announced a special session is not necessary.

After alerting the Legislature he was planning on calling a special session, legislative leaders suggested the governor already possessed the power required to ensure Missouri Highway Patrol officers and Missouri National Guard troops were paid for the time spent dealing with unrest in Ferguson.

The governor agreed with the leadership’s suggested interpretation of the law and declared the special session no longer necessary.

Photo of the statue of Thomas Jefferson at the south entrance of the Missouri State Capitol by Nickbigd on Wikimedia Commons.

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December 1, 2014 •

Missouri Governor Plans to Call Special Session

Gov. Jay Nixon has informed legislative leaders he would be calling a special session to address funding issues related to the deployment of Missouri National Guard troops and Missouri State Highway Patrol officers in the city of Ferguson. Gov. Nixon […]

Gov. Jay NixonGov. Jay Nixon has informed legislative leaders he would be calling a special session to address funding issues related to the deployment of Missouri National Guard troops and Missouri State Highway Patrol officers in the city of Ferguson.

Gov. Nixon has yet to issue a formal call with the convening date for the session, but has stated he will do so shortly.

Photo of Gov. Jay Nixon by Bernard Pollack on Wikimedia Commons.

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November 24, 2014 •

Puerto Rico Begins Special Legislative Session

Legislators will meet beginning Monday, November 24, 2014 in a special session. Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla called a special session to debate an increase in an oil tax in an attempt to bolster the financial standing of the Highway and […]

Puert Rico CapitolLegislators will meet beginning Monday, November 24, 2014 in a special session.

Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla called a special session to debate an increase in an oil tax in an attempt to bolster the financial standing of the Highway and Transportation Authority.

Photo of the Capitol of Puerto Rico courtesy of Mtmelendez on Wikimedia Commons.

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November 21, 2014 •

Alaska Governor-Elect Walker to be Sworn In on December 1

On December 1, 2014 Bill Walker will be sworn in as Alaska’s governor. If you are planning involvement in inaugural events, be aware of the gift and campaign finance laws. Lobbyists and non-lobbyists may provide legislators with tickets or contributions […]

AlaskaOn December 1, 2014 Bill Walker will be sworn in as Alaska’s governor. If you are planning involvement in inaugural events, be aware of the gift and campaign finance laws.

Lobbyists and non-lobbyists may provide legislators with tickets or contributions to a preapproved charity event with an annual aggregate value of less than $250.

Executive branch officials are prohibited from accepting gifts that may improperly influence the official. A gift from a lobbyist to a public official or to an immediate family member is presumed to be intended to influence the performance of official duties unless the giver is an immediate family member of the person receiving the gift. Occasional gifts of $50 or less from a non-lobbyist are presumed not to improperly influence.

Corporate contributions are prohibited in Alaska. Additionally, candidates are unable to use campaign funds for inaugural expenses until they receive an opinion from APOC designating inaugural activities as reasonably related to their political campaign. Use caution if asked to make contributions for inaugural events.

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October 1, 2014 •

2015 Information Added to State and Federal Communications Website

State and Federal Communications is pleased to announce the addition of 2015 legislative session and key dates information to its website. In the Lobbying Laws publication, the key dates information addresses all of the reports and registrations due in 2015. […]

key datesState and Federal Communications is pleased to announce the addition of 2015 legislative session and key dates information to its website.

In the Lobbying Laws publication, the key dates information addresses all of the reports and registrations due in 2015. In the Political Contributions publication, the key dates address the reports due, the scheduled statewide elections, and, where dictated by the state, scheduled local elections.

This information has been added for the federal government, the states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Continue to watch the website for updates to the 2014 and 2015 key dates and for the addition of key dates information for local jurisdictions and for Canada.

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September 30, 2014 •

Supreme Court Stays Ohio Early Voting Decision

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed a lower court order requiring the state to begin early voting on September 30, 2014. The stay eliminates the period known as the “Golden Week,” when voters were able to register […]

OhioIn a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed a lower court order requiring the state to begin early voting on September 30, 2014.

The stay eliminates the period known as the “Golden Week,” when voters were able to register and vote on the same day.

The stay will remain in effect until the state formally appeals the lower court’s order and the Court acts upon that appeal.

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September 12, 2014 •

Democrats Fail to Pass Constitutional Amendment

A constitutional amendment sought by Democrats failed to pass the Senate on Thursday. The amendment, which would allow Congress and state legislatures to overturn recent campaign finance decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, did not get the required 60 votes […]

Flag of the United States Senate.svgA constitutional amendment sought by Democrats failed to pass the Senate on Thursday.

The amendment, which would allow Congress and state legislatures to overturn recent campaign finance decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, did not get the required 60 votes required for passage.

Republicans argued the bill was an attack on free speech, protected by the First Amendment.

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