March 13, 2020 •

Indiana Legislature Adjourns

Indiana State Capitol - By Daniel Schwen / CC BY-SA

The second regular session of the 121st General Assembly adjourned sine die on March 12, after a 14-hour session. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed 25 of the 45 bills received in the last two days of the session. This is including […]

The second regular session of the 121st General Assembly adjourned sine die on March 12, after a 14-hour session.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed 25 of the 45 bills received in the last two days of the session.

This is including one providing for electronic filing of campaign finance reports by candidates and committees.

Additionally, Holcomb signed a bill preventing the state and political subdivisions from contracting with a “prohibited person”.

This is officially defined as a person designated as posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks.

As a result, the remaining acts passed by the Legislature become law on the eighth day after presentment if Holcomb does not sign or veto them.

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March 12, 2020 •

Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission Requests Filing Via Fax or Email

The Kentucky State Capitol building

Effective immediately, the Legislative Ethics Commission has requested updated registration statements be filed either by fax or via email, by scanning and sending the signed forms. Fax to (502) 573-2929 Email to Donnita.crittenden@lrc.ky.gov  or lori.smither@lrc.ky.gov To change from paper filing […]

Effective immediately, the Legislative Ethics Commission has requested updated registration statements be filed either by fax or via email, by scanning and sending the signed forms.

To change from paper filing to filing online, please email the above for an ID and password.

This is a preventative measure to cut down on unnecessary mail handling and interaction by their staff, in order to keep the spread of the coronavirus to a minimum.

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March 12, 2020 •

Illinois Cancels Legislative Sessions and Events Through Next Week

Illinois State Capitol Building

On Wednesday March 11, lawmakers cancelled all legislative sessions through next week. This will also include all other events scheduled to take place at the Capitol in Springfield, including lobby day events and tours of the Capitol. Senate President Don […]

On Wednesday March 11, lawmakers cancelled all legislative sessions through next week.

This will also include all other events scheduled to take place at the Capitol in Springfield, including lobby day events and tours of the Capitol.

Senate President Don Harmon announced next week’s legislative sessions are canceled due to public health concerns over the coronavirus.

The General Assembly was set to return to session in Springfield next Wednesday, the day after Tuesday’s primary.

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March 10, 2020 •

Wisconsin Ethics Commission Issues Formal Opinion

Wisconsin State Capitol Building

The Ethics Commission issued its first formal opinion on lobbying since being established in 2016. Ethics Commission Opinion 2020-02 explains what duties on behalf of a principal are exclusive to lobbying. Additionally, the order explains what duties are not exclusive […]

The Ethics Commission issued its first formal opinion on lobbying since being established in 2016.

Ethics Commission Opinion 2020-02 explains what duties on behalf of a principal are exclusive to lobbying.

Additionally, the order explains what duties are not exclusive to lobbying in order to clarify when the lobbyist’s duties require authorization by the fifth day of lobbying communication on behalf of the principal within a six-month reporting period.

For example, serving as the treasurer of a registered political action committee or administrator of a registered conduit are not duties exclusive to lobbying.

The opinion also provides examples of grassroots efforts that are not lobbying.

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March 5, 2020 •

Cincinnati Council Member Resigns After Arrest on Federal Charges

Cincinnati City Hall - EEJCC

Cincinnati City Council member Tamaya Dennard resigned Monday. Her resignation comes less than a week after being arrested on federal charges accusing her of trading votes for cash on a development deal. Dennard, a Democrat, was not required to resign under […]

Cincinnati City Council member Tamaya Dennard resigned Monday.

Her resignation comes less than a week after being arrested on federal charges accusing her of trading votes for cash on a development deal.

Dennard, a Democrat, was not required to resign under the city’s charter.

However, if she did not, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters stated he would take action.

Deters claims he would have filed a petition with the Ohio Supreme Court seeking to remove her from office.

Dennard’s replacement will be selected by Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, a fellow Democrat.

Dennard, like all council members when they take office, had to name a fellow council member to select her replacement in the event she would be unable to complete her term.

 

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March 4, 2020 •

Illinois State Legislators Working on Omnibus Bill

Illinois State Capitol Building

Illinois State District 28 Sen. Laura Murphy announced she is working with District 55 Rep. Martin Moylan on an omnibus bill for ethics reform to fight corruption. The bill will likely incorporate provisions from six existing bills, including recently passed […]

Illinois State District 28 Sen. Laura Murphy announced she is working with District 55 Rep. Martin Moylan on an omnibus bill for ethics reform to fight corruption.

The bill will likely incorporate provisions from six existing bills, including recently passed Senate Bill 1639 and House Joint Resolution 93.

Senate Bill 1639 increases disclosure requirements for registered lobbyists.

Meanwhile House Joint Resolution 93 establishes the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform.

The omnibus bill may also incorporate the following provisions:

    • To require members of the General Assembly to be immediately removed from any leadership position if charged with a crime (Senate Bill 2488).
    • To prohibit members of the General Assembly and members of his or her family from engaging in lobbying (Senate Bill 3020).
    • To prohibit members of the General Assembly from engaging in lobbying for two years after leaving office (Senate Bill 3588).
    • To create a uniform statement of economic interest for anyone required to file under the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act (Senate Bill 3318).
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February 26, 2020 •

Chicago Board of Ethics Releases Fourth Binding Advisory Opinion

Chicago River @ Michigan Ave. By David Wilson

The Chicago Board of Ethics released a fourth binding advisory opinion to provide additional guidance on Ethics Ordinance 2019-5305. Effective April 20, it will impose new registration and reporting requirements on certain nonprofit interactions with the city. The board states […]

The Chicago Board of Ethics released a fourth binding advisory opinion to provide additional guidance on Ethics Ordinance 2019-5305.

Effective April 20, it will impose new registration and reporting requirements on certain nonprofit interactions with the city.

The board states the 14 questions addressed in the new advisory opinion reflect the fundamental principal of Chicago’s lobbying law:

If an individual is paid by another person or organization to influence city administrative or legislative actions, the activity should be done transparently, either through official documented administrative processes or through registration and reporting lobbying activity.

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February 18, 2020 •

Illinois Introduces Legislation to Expand the Definition of Lobbying

Illinois State Capitol Building

Lawmakers introduced legislation to expand the definition of lobbying  to include promoting or opposing the passage of any local legislative matter by a unit of local government. House Bill 5468, sponsored by Rep. Maurice A. West, defines local legislative matter […]

Lawmakers introduced legislation to expand the definition of lobbying  to include promoting or opposing the passage of any local legislative matter by a unit of local government.

House Bill 5468, sponsored by Rep. Maurice A. West, defines local legislative matter as any bill, resolution, nomination, ordinance, or other issue or proposal pending before the unit of local government, its legislative body, or any committee, subcommittee, or commission.

If passed prior to June 1, the bill would become effective January 1, 2021.

If passed after to May 31, the bill would become effective June 1, 2021.

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February 13, 2020 •

Iowa Bill to Amend Lobbyist Reporting Requirements Introduced

Iowa Capitol Building - Ashton B Crew

State Rep. Joel Fry introduced a bill amending lobbyist reporting requirements. House File 2217 will require lobbyist client reports to be filed with the Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board instead of the General Assembly. Additionally, documentation verifying all information in […]

State Rep. Joel Fry introduced a bill amending lobbyist reporting requirements.

House File 2217 will require lobbyist client reports to be filed with the Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board instead of the General Assembly.

Additionally, documentation verifying all information in the report must be filed with the report.

The board will verify the information and may require a lobbyist client to provide additional documents to verify the report.

Violation of the new requirements is a serious misdemeanor, punishable by reprimand, suspension, dismissal or otherwise sanctioned, including confinement for no more than one year and a fine of at least $315, but not more than $1,875.

The new procedures will apply to reports due by July 31, 2020, for the reporting period of July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.

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February 12, 2020 •

Executive Director of the North Dakota Ethics Commission Working on Ethics Rules

Executive Director David Theile - Forum News Service

David Thiele became the Executive Director of the newly formed Ethics Commission at the beginning of the year and chaired the first meeting of the commission January 22. Thiele, a Bismarck resident and former judge advocate for the U.S. Army, […]

David Thiele became the Executive Director of the newly formed Ethics Commission at the beginning of the year and chaired the first meeting of the commission January 22.

Thiele, a Bismarck resident and former judge advocate for the U.S. Army, said his background as an attorney and ethics counselor for the National Guard will help him establish ethics rules.

State law gives the commission nine months from its creation (April 2020) to take preliminary steps to create the new rules.

Thiele believes he can meet this goal, but noted the Commission will give members of the public a chance to comment and could ask for an extension, if necessary.

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January 30, 2020 •

Wisconsin Holds Special Session

Wisconsin State Capitol Building

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced a special session to introduce bills regarding the state’s dairy crisis. Gov. Tony Evers, in his State of the State address on January 22, called for the Legislature to convene a special session to address […]

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced a special session to introduce bills regarding the state’s dairy crisis.

Gov. Tony Evers, in his State of the State address on January 22, called for the Legislature to convene a special session to address the dairy crisis.

Wisconsin lost 10% of the state’s dairy farms in 2019, breaking the previous year’s record high of 7.25%.

The governor wants the Legislature to act on a package of proposals to assist rural Wisconsin.

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January 30, 2020 •

Missouri Contributions Limits Increased for Legislative Candidates

Missouri Capitol Building

The Missouri Ethics Commission increased contribution limits for state House and Senate candidates. The per election limits have increased from $2,000 to $2,046 for House candidates and from $2,500 to $2,559 for Senate candidates. The inflationary adjustments are the first […]

The Missouri Ethics Commission increased contribution limits for state House and Senate candidates.

The per election limits have increased from $2,000 to $2,046 for House candidates and from $2,500 to $2,559 for Senate candidates.

The inflationary adjustments are the first under a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2018.

The $5 lobbyist gift limit for members of the General Assembly remains unchanged.

There are several bills pending in the House and Senate that would lower contribution limits.

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January 28, 2020 •

Progress Michigan Seeking to Amend State Constitution to Ban Lobbyist Gifts, etc.

Michigan State Capitol

Progress Michigan is seeking to amend the state constitution to Ban lobbyists and their clients from giving gifts, including meals, drinks, and trips, to public officials Require lobbyists and public officials to make a public record of their phone calls, […]

Progress Michigan is seeking to amend the state constitution to

    • Ban lobbyists and their clients from giving gifts, including meals, drinks, and trips, to public officials
    • Require lobbyists and public officials to make a public record of their phone calls, meetings, and other communications with each other
    • Require a two-year cooling off period before public officials could become lobbyists
    • Ban contingency pay for lobbyists

Progress Michigan is part of the Coalition to Close Lansing Loopholes, which filed proposed language with the state for the November 2020 ballot.

A constitutional amendment requires the group to collect signatures of registered voters equal to at least 10% of the number of votes cast for all candidates in the last gubernatorial election, or at least 425,055 valid signatures by July 6.

The group is seeking a constitutional amendment, rather than a legislative initiative, which requires fewer signatures, to prevent the Legislature from amending the proposal.

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January 23, 2020 •

Don Harmon replaces John Cullerton as Illinois Senate president

Former Sen. John Cullerton - Ashlee Rezin Garcia

John Cullerton, a Democrat from the North Side, resigned from Senate District 6 after more than four decades in office. Cullerton served as the 38th president of the state Senate. Sen. Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, was elected […]

John Cullerton, a Democrat from the North Side, resigned from Senate District 6 after more than four decades in office. Cullerton served as the 38th president of the state Senate.

Sen. Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, was elected unanimously to replace Cullerton as Senate president.

Democratic ward and township committeemen within the 6th District have 30 days after Cullerton’s resignation to name a replacement.

Because Cullerton did not file paperwork for his retirement with the Secretary of the Senate, there will not be a primary for the seat in March.

Local Democratic and Republican party leaders in Cullerton’s district will select who will be on the November ballot to finish out Cullerton’s term ending January 2023.

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