November 7, 2018 •

Rhode Island Governor Wins Second Term

Incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo has easily won reelection, despite a crowded field vying for her office. Gov. Raimondo faced Republican Allan Fung, three independents, and one minor candidate who was arrested in October for possession of 48 pounds of marijuana. […]

Incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo has easily won reelection, despite a crowded field vying for her office.

Gov. Raimondo faced Republican Allan Fung, three independents, and one minor candidate who was arrested in October for possession of 48 pounds of marijuana.

Despite the crowd, Raimondo still garnered almost 53 percent of the vote, with Fung a distant second at 37 percent.

Raimondo made job creation a priority in her first term. Unemployment has dropped from the highest in the nation to being in step with the national average in her first four years.

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November 7, 2018 •

No Winner Declared in Georgia’s Gubernatorial Race

The battle to be Georgia’s next governor continues as Democrat Stacey Abrams refuses to concede to Republican Brian Kemp. Kemp holds a small margin of less than 70,000 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Democrats believe there are enough […]

The battle to be Georgia’s next governor continues as Democrat Stacey Abrams refuses to concede to Republican Brian Kemp. Kemp holds a small margin of less than 70,000 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Democrats believe there are enough votes submitted by mail still left uncounted to close the gap.

Abrams, a former state legislator, is the first female African-American to be a major party’s nominee for governor. Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Secretary of State, is attempting to break a 20-year slump for Republicans running for governor.

The race took an ugly turn this past weekend as Kemp’s office opened an investigation into the state’s Democratic Party for an alleged attempt to hack the state’s voter registration system. No evidence was cited and the Democrats denied the allegations.

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February 14, 2018 •

Pennsylvania Governor Signs Lobbying Bill

Gov. Tom Wolf signed House Bill 1175 into law, amending filing requirements and penalties for lobbyists. The new law requires electronic filing of lobbying disclosures and increases the monetary penalties assessed for late reports. Fines between $50 and $200 per […]

Gov. Tom Wolf signed House Bill 1175 into law, amending filing requirements and penalties for lobbyists.

The new law requires electronic filing of lobbying disclosures and increases the monetary penalties assessed for late reports.

Fines between $50 and $200 per day, depending on the number of days late, can now be levied and the maximum penalty increases from $2,000 to $4,000.

These new penalties take effect immediately and the electronic filing requirement takes effect in 60 days.

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January 29, 2018 •

New Requirements for Miami, Florida Lobbyists Take Effect

Changes to registration and training requirements are now effective for Miami lobbyists. Following the passage of Ordinance 13718, lobbyists must now register within five business days of being retained as a lobbyist by a principal and prior to engaging in […]

Changes to registration and training requirements are now effective for Miami lobbyists.

Following the passage of Ordinance 13718, lobbyists must now register within five business days of being retained as a lobbyist by a principal and prior to engaging in any type of lobbying activities.

Lobbyists must also complete an ethics training course within 60 days of registering, and if registration is renewed continuously thereafter, a refresher course is required once every two years.

Additional changes include the requirement to report travel and lodging provided to public officials and a fine of $50 per day for failure to file an annual report. The previous fine was a one-time $25 penalty.

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December 8, 2017 •

Special Elections Announced for Georgia House and Senate

Two special elections will take place in the beginning of the new year to fill vacancies in the House and Senate. Secretary of State Brian Kemp set special elections for House District 111 and Senate District 17 for January 9, […]

Two special elections will take place in the beginning of the new year to fill vacancies in the House and Senate.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp set special elections for House District 111 and Senate District 17 for January 9, 2018, with a runoff, if necessary, scheduled for February 6.

Sen. Rick Jeffares resigned the District 17 seat to run for lieutenant governor, while Rep. Brian Strickland stepped down from the District 111 seat to run for the District 17 seat. Jeffares has endorsed Strickland to take his place.

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December 8, 2017 •

Federal Judge Issues Injunction for Kentucky Campaign Finance and Ethics Laws Ruled Unconstitutional

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky has issued a permanent injunction, prohibiting certain portions of state campaign finance and ethics law from being enforced. Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman ruled the prohibition on […]

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky has issued a permanent injunction, prohibiting certain portions of state campaign finance and ethics law from being enforced.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman ruled the prohibition on lobbyists providing gifts and campaign contributions to lawmakers unconstitutional. The judge also found the definition of caucus campaign committee unconstitutional because it only refers to Republican or Democratic caucuses.

Pending appeal, the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance and the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission continued enforcing these statutory provisions. Now, KREF and KLEC are permanently enjoined from doing so.

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November 29, 2017 •

Idaho Working Group Approves Potential Changes to Campaign Finance Laws

A bipartisan working group of lawmakers unanimously approved a proposed bill amending the state’s campaign finance laws. Among the changes, the proposal would require year-round, monthly campaign finance reporting, prohibit PACs from accepting more than $1,000 from groups not registered […]

A bipartisan working group of lawmakers unanimously approved a proposed bill amending the state’s campaign finance laws.

Among the changes, the proposal would require year-round, monthly campaign finance reporting, prohibit PACs from accepting more than $1,000 from groups not registered and disclose the source of their funds, and increase potential fines from $250 to up to $25,000. Additionally, use of the internet and social media would be included in the definition of electioneering communications.

The bill will be introduced during the 2018 legislative session.

The group declined to take up the issue of raising the lobbyist registration fee, not wanting to jeopardize the bill’s success. Member’s stated raising the fee is a legitimate concern and should be examined during the session.

The current $10 per client fee has not increased since 1974, when the lobbying statute first became law.

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November 29, 2017 •

Special Election Set in Florida for Open House Seat

Gov. Rick Scott has set a special election for an opening in the state House of Representatives. A primary election for House District 39 will be held on February 20, 2018, with a general election on May 1. Rep. Neil […]

Gov. Rick Scott has set a special election for an opening in the state House of Representatives.

A primary election for House District 39 will be held on February 20, 2018, with a general election on May 1.

Rep. Neil Combee resigned the position after being appointed Florida’s State Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

With the legislature’s 2018 session scheduled through March 9, the seat will remain empty for the duration of the session.

Photo of former Rep. Neil Combee

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November 28, 2017 •

Special Election Announced for Open Connecticut House Seat

Gov. Dannel Malloy announced a special election for Assembly District 15 will take place on January 9, 2018. Rep. David Baram resigned the seat following his election as a probate court judge earlier this month. Assembly District 15 consists of […]

Gov. Dannel Malloy announced a special election for Assembly District 15 will take place on January 9, 2018.

Rep. David Baram resigned the seat following his election as a probate court judge earlier this month.

Assembly District 15 consists of Bloomfield and parts of Windsor.

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November 27, 2017 •

Special Election Announced for Open Pennsylvania House Seat

House Speaker Mike Turzai announced a special election will be held for Pennsylvania’s 35th House District on January 23, 2018. Rep. Marc Gergely resigned the seat on November 6 after pleading guilty to corruption charges for his role in an […]

House Speaker Mike Turzai announced a special election will be held for Pennsylvania’s 35th House District on January 23, 2018.

Rep. Marc Gergely resigned the seat on November 6 after pleading guilty to corruption charges for his role in an illegal gambling machine ring.

Democrats and Republicans will each select a nominee to appear on the ballot.

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November 17, 2017 •

Illinois Governor Signs Sexual Harassment Bill

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill passed by lawmakers during the fall veto session aimed at curbing sexual harassment within state government. Senate Bill 402 expressly prohibits sexual harassment by lobbyists, provides for a $5,000 fine for violations, and requires […]

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill passed by lawmakers during the fall veto session aimed at curbing sexual harassment within state government.

Senate Bill 402 expressly prohibits sexual harassment by lobbyists, provides for a $5,000 fine for violations, and requires lobbyists to take an annual sexual harassment training course. The training course must be completed within 30 days of registration or renewal, beginning January 1, 2018.

Additionally, each person and entity required to register must have a written sexual harassment policy by January 1, 2018.

Gov. Rauner criticized the bill as rushed and needing more work, but conceded it was a step in the right direction.

The bill takes effect immediately.

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November 14, 2017 •

Special Election Announced for Florida House District 114

Gov. Rick Scott announced a special election will be held for House District 114. The special primary is schedule for February 20, 2018 and the special general for May 1, 2018. Rep. Daisy Baez of Coral Gables resigned the seat […]

Gov. Rick Scott announced a special election will be held for House District 114. The special primary is schedule for February 20, 2018 and the special general for May 1, 2018.

Rep. Daisy Baez of Coral Gables resigned the seat as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. She pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge after signing a change-of-address voter form stating she lived in District 114, when in fact she still lived in District 112.

Baez is additionally barred from running for office for a one-year probation period.

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November 10, 2017 •

Illinois Legislature Moves Quickly to Address Sexual Harassment Issues

Lawmakers passed a series of bills during the fall veto session this week aimed at curbing sexual harassment within state government. Among them, Senate Bill 402 expressly prohibits sexual harassment by lobbyists, provides for a $5,000 fine for violations, and […]

Lawmakers passed a series of bills during the fall veto session this week aimed at curbing sexual harassment within state government.

Among them, Senate Bill 402 expressly prohibits sexual harassment by lobbyists, provides for a $5,000 fine for violations, and requires lobbyists to take an annual sexual harassment training course. The Secretary of State’s inspector general is also granted additional authority to investigate reports of sexual harassment.

The measure unanimously passed both houses and now awaits the governor’s signature.

Former federal prosecutor Julie Porter has been appointed as temporary inspector general after reports surfaced of harassment claims going unnoticed for more than a year while the post was vacant.

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November 8, 2017 •

Ohio Voters Reject Issue 2

Voters rejected a ballot measure Tuesday to reduce the price of prescription drugs for the state. Issue 2, or Drug Price Relief Act, would have limited the amount the state is allowed to pay for pharmaceuticals to the amount the […]

Voters rejected a ballot measure Tuesday to reduce the price of prescription drugs for the state.

Issue 2, or Drug Price Relief Act, would have limited the amount the state is allowed to pay for pharmaceuticals to the amount the Department of Veterans Affairs pays, typically a greatly discounted price. The state provides these drugs to prisoners, injured workers, and those who cannot afford them.

Nearly 80 percent of voters rejected the proposal, many citing a lack of transparency on how the change would affect prices for the general public.

The pharmaceutical industry contributed around $70 million to oppose the measure while AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a California-based group, spent only $17 million.

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