May 24, 2019 •

Fort Wayne Pay to Play Ordinance Challenged in Court

Fort Wayne, Indiana City Hall

Allen Superior Court Judge Jennifer DeGroote heard arguments on Wednesday in a case focused on a 2018 Fort Wayne City Council ordinance. The ordinance limits financial contributions of contractors and their family members to political campaigns in Fort Wayne. The […]

Allen Superior Court Judge Jennifer DeGroote heard arguments on Wednesday in a case focused on a 2018 Fort Wayne City Council ordinance.

The ordinance limits financial contributions of contractors and their family members to political campaigns in Fort Wayne.

The measure prohibits business entities from bidding on city contracts if any officer, partner, or principal with more than 10% ownership has donated more than $2,000 to a campaign of someone with ultimate responsibility for awarding city contracts.

Kyle and Kimberly Suzanne Witwer filed the suit in April challenging the ordinance and requesting a judge block it’s implementation.

While no ruling was made on Wednesday, both sides must submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law by Friday.

There could be a potential ruling next week.

The main issue being considered at this time is whether state contribution laws make this ordinance unnecessary.

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May 23, 2019 •

D.C. Mayor Signs Fair Elections Emergency Amendment Act of 2019

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser - by AFGE [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Fair Elections Emergency Amendment Act of 2019 on May 22. The act amends the definition of a qualified small-dollar contribution to set a minimum value of cash or in-kind contributions at $5. The act became […]

Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Fair Elections Emergency Amendment Act of 2019 on May 22.

The act amends the definition of a qualified small-dollar contribution to set a minimum value of cash or in-kind contributions at $5.

The act became effective following the approval by Mayor Bowser and will remain in effect until August 20.

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May 20, 2019 •

North Dakota Officials Prepare to Appoint Ethics Commission Members

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum by Senior Master Sgt. David H Lipp

Top North Dakota officials are working towards forming a new panel to oversee ethical standards in state government as a result of last year’s passage of Measure 1. Gov. Doug Burgum’s office is accepting applications for the new ethics commission […]

Top North Dakota officials are working towards forming a new panel to oversee ethical standards in state government as a result of last year’s passage of Measure 1.

Gov. Doug Burgum’s office is accepting applications for the new ethics commission through May 24 and hopes to have members selected by July 1.

The five commissioners will be chosen by consensus agreement of the governor and the Senate’s majority and minority leaders.

The state constitution bars certain people from serving on the commission including lobbyists, political party officials, and those who hold statewide elected or appointed office.

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May 20, 2019 •

San Francisco Ethics Commission Propose Code Changes

San Francisco, California - Noahnmf [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

The San Francisco Ethics Commission will hold its next regular meeting on May 29. The commission will consider and possibly act on a set of proposed regulation changes to the Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code. These changes include electronic filing, […]

The San Francisco Ethics Commission will hold its next regular meeting on May 29.

The commission will consider and possibly act on a set of proposed regulation changes to the Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code.

These changes include electronic filing, filing of contribution disclosures no later than 14 days following the contribution, and updating filing forms.

The proposed changes are intended to provide clarity regarding code sections created by the Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance and update the regulations to match other recent changes to the code.

Changes additionally provide clarity about various provisions of the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance.

Opportunity for public comment will be provided at the meeting.

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May 20, 2019 •

Fresno District 2 Special Election

Fresno Arch - by John Walker, Fresno Bee File

The city of Fresno is holding a special election for the District 2 City Council seat on August 13. Steve Brandau stepped down from the District 2 City Council seat after winning the District 2 seat on the Fresno County […]

The city of Fresno is holding a special election for the District 2 City Council seat on August 13.

Steve Brandau stepped down from the District 2 City Council seat after winning the District 2 seat on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.

If a runoff is required, the special runoff election will be held on November 5.

The elected candidate will serve the remainder of Brandau’s term, which ends in 2020.

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May 17, 2019 •

Alaska Legislature Adjourns, Governor Calls Special Session

Alaska State Capitol Buildling - Jay Galvin [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

The 31st Alaska Legislature adjourned the first regular session at the constitutional deadline on May 15. The legislature did not find resolution on some of the biggest issues including crime, the budget, and the dividend residents receive from the state’s […]

The 31st Alaska Legislature adjourned the first regular session at the constitutional deadline on May 15.

The legislature did not find resolution on some of the biggest issues including crime, the budget, and the dividend residents receive from the state’s oil-wealth fund.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy called a special session to begin on May 16.

The special session will be limited to discussing a crime reform package, an operating budget containing a full permanent fund dividend, a capital budget, funding for K-12 education, and a mental health trust budget.

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May 15, 2019 •

Wyoming Working Towards Limiting Corporate Money Influence on State Elections

Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming

State lawmakers and the Office of the Secretary of State are working on legislation to limit the influence of corporate money on state elections. The Office of the Secretary of State proposed a slate of election code changes to the […]

State lawmakers and the Office of the Secretary of State are working on legislation to limit the influence of corporate money on state elections.

The Office of the Secretary of State proposed a slate of election code changes to the Joint Committee on Corporations, Elections, and Political Subdivisions.

Changes include a prohibition on corporations donating to political parties or political action committees in coordination to back a specific candidate in an election.

A motion was unanimously approved by members of the committee and a bill could be introduced during the 2020 budget session.

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May 14, 2019 •

Maryland Governor Signs Bill Allowing Limits on County Developer Contributions

Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill authorizing Anne Arundel County to change local ethics rules covering county elections to limit developer money and reduce influence on campaigns. The bill also prohibits a member of the Anne Arundel County Council from […]

Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill authorizing Anne Arundel County to change local ethics rules covering county elections to limit developer money and reduce influence on campaigns.

The bill also prohibits a member of the Anne Arundel County Council from participating in any legislative action relevant to a zoning change, amendment, or an application if the member has received or benefited from a contribution or donation.

The bill becomes effective July 1.

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May 10, 2019 •

Federal Judge Rules South Dakota Initiated Measure 24 Unconstitutional

U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann struck down a ban on out-of-state contributions to ballot question committees recently passed by voters. Kornmann found Initiated Measure 24 unconstitutional because it violates First Amendment rights to engage in political speech. Additionally, Kornmann said […]

U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann struck down a ban on out-of-state contributions to ballot question committees recently passed by voters.

Kornmann found Initiated Measure 24 unconstitutional because it violates First Amendment rights to engage in political speech.

Additionally, Kornmann said the measure violates the Commerce Clause by interfering with the free flow of money between persons from another state and South Dakota committees.

The ruling is a permanent injunction that stops the planned implementation on July 1.

The state must now determine if it will appeal the decision to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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May 10, 2019 •

Long Beach Residents Can Apply to Serve on Newly Formed Ethics Commission

Long Beach, California

City officials are accepting applications for the ethics commission approved by voters last November. The charter amendment established a seven-member ethics commission. The ethics commission will implement campaign finance, lobbying, conflicts of interest, and governmental ethics laws. Qualified applicants may […]

City officials are accepting applications for the ethics commission approved by voters last November.

The charter amendment established a seven-member ethics commission.

The ethics commission will implement campaign finance, lobbying, conflicts of interest, and governmental ethics laws.

Qualified applicants may not concurrently hold elective office, work as an officer for a city candidate campaign, be a city employee, or employ or be employed by anyone required to register as a city lobbyist.

The mayor and city auditor will make four appointments to be confirmed by City Council.

The remaining three members will be appointed by the confirmed commissioners.

The deadline for submitting applications is June 7.

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May 8, 2019 •

North Dakota Governor Signs Lobbying Bills

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum by Senior Master Sgt. David H Lipp

Gov. Doug Burgum signed the last 53 bills remaining from the 2019 North Dakota legislative session, including House Bill 1521 and Senate Bill 2148. House Bill 1521 establishes an ethics commission to hold state elected officials and legislators accountable. The […]

Gov. Doug Burgum signed the last 53 bills remaining from the 2019 North Dakota legislative session, including House Bill 1521 and Senate Bill 2148.

House Bill 1521 establishes an ethics commission to hold state elected officials and legislators accountable.

The bill also requires a lobbyist who expends an amount greater than $200 for the purpose of lobbying to file a report with the Office of Secretary of State.

The report must include the source of the funds and prohibits a lobbyist from giving, soliciting, or facilitating a gift to a public official with a value of over $60.

Additionally, the bill requires any person who expends an amount greater than $200 to influence state government action file a report with the Office of Secretary of State on or before August 1.

The sections of House Bill 1521 establishing an ethics commission became effective on May 2, while the sections on report filing become effective on January 5, 2021.

Senate Bill 2148 requires the legislative management to study the implementation and requirements of Article XIV of the Constitution of North Dakota.

The study concerns the transparency of funding sources, lobbyists, responsibilities of the ethics commission, and a review of existing laws and laws enacted to implement Article XIV.

The legislative management must report its findings and recommendations to the 67th Legislative Assembly, with any legislation necessary to implement the recommendations.

Senate Bill 2148 becomes effective on August 1.

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May 7, 2019 •

Annapolis Mayor Sets Dates for Ward 6 Special Elections

Annapolis City Hall via Preserve Maryland

On May 5, Mayor Gavin Buckley issued a proclamation declaring the Ward 6 council seat vacant after the resignation of former Alderwoman Shaneka Henson. Henson was selected to complete the term of the late Michael Busch in the Maryland House […]

On May 5, Mayor Gavin Buckley issued a proclamation declaring the Ward 6 council seat vacant after the resignation of former Alderwoman Shaneka Henson.

Henson was selected to complete the term of the late Michael Busch in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Henson resigned after last Monday’s regular City Council meeting.

According to the City Charter, the Mayor had to issue a proclamation to fill the council seat within five days after receiving the resignation and schedule the dates for a special election.

The dates for the two special elections are the primary on June 4, with the general on July 2.

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May 6, 2019 •

Oregon Governor Signs Bill Amending Revolving Door Restrictions

Oregon House of Representatives Chamber - Cacophony [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]

Gov. Kate Brown signed House Bill 2595 on May 3. The bill prohibits a former member of the Legislative Assembly from receiving money or any other consideration for lobbying within one year after ceasing to be a member of the […]

Gov. Kate Brown signed House Bill 2595 on May 3.

The bill prohibits a former member of the Legislative Assembly from receiving money or any other consideration for lobbying within one year after ceasing to be a member of the Legislative Assembly.

Currently, the revolving door period begins on the date the person ceases to be a member of the Legislative Assembly. The period then ended on the date of adjournment sine die of the next regular session after the person ceases to be a member.

House Bill 2595 applies to persons who cease to be members of the Legislative Assembly on or after the effective date of January 1, 2020.

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May 1, 2019 •

Maryland Delegates Elect New Speaker

Del. Adrienne Jones (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

The Maryland House of Delegates elected Del. Adrienne Jones as the new House speaker on May 1. Last month, Gov. Larry Hogan called the special session to elect a successor to the late Michael E. Busch, who passed away on […]

The Maryland House of Delegates elected Del. Adrienne Jones as the new House speaker on May 1.

Last month, Gov. Larry Hogan called the special session to elect a successor to the late Michael E. Busch, who passed away on April 7.

Del. Jones was the speaker pro tem and had been Busch’s second-in-command for 16 years.

The special session was delayed for more than two hours as Democrats battled over who should succeed the longtime speaker.

After much debate, Del. Jones won the nomination and was subsequently elected to the position, making her the first female and first African American speaker in state history.

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