July 20, 2020 •

Nevada Special Session Ends with Steep State Budget Cuts

Nevada State Capitol Octagonal Annex

The Nevada Legislature’s 31st special session came to an end Sunday after 12 legislative days of grinding progress on a focused agenda to close a $1.2 billion state budget gap. During the budget focused special session, lawmakers passed four bills […]

The Nevada Legislature’s 31st special session came to an end Sunday after 12 legislative days of grinding progress on a focused agenda to close a $1.2 billion state budget gap.

During the budget focused special session, lawmakers passed four bills implementing a vast majority of budget changes.

Still ahead are a possible second session and further fiscal tightening.

These will come amid uncertainty over another possible round of federal assistance, a resurgent virus spread, and stagnant or worsening economic trends.

Gov. Steve Sisolak stated he would postpone calling a second legislative session due to concerns over a spike in COVID-19 cases.

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July 7, 2020 •

Lobbyist Registration and Reporting Not Required During Nevada Special Session

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The James R. Thompson Center - Ken Lund

The Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau sent a notice stating the requirements for registration and reporting of lobbyist activities will not be applicable to the upcoming special session. To prevent potential spread of the coronavirus, access to the legislative building during […]

The Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau sent a notice stating the requirements for registration and reporting of lobbyist activities will not be applicable to the upcoming special session.

To prevent potential spread of the coronavirus, access to the legislative building during the special session will be limited to legislators, essential staff and a small press pool.

The Legislature’s website and YouTube channel will both host livestreams of all floor sessions and committee meetings.

In addition, the teleconference system will allow individuals to call in to participate in the legislative process.

The Legislators will receive written comments made available through submission by email, fax and mail.

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July 2, 2020 •

San Jose Council Approves Ballot Measure Barring Contributions and Gifts from Lobbyists

San Jose City Hall

San Jose City Hall - by Daderot

The City Council approved a November ballot measure relating to contributions and gifts from lobbyists. The proposed measure would bar lobbyists from making campaign contributions. The mayor, council members, and senior administrators would also be barred from accepting gifts from […]

The City Council approved a November ballot measure relating to contributions and gifts from lobbyists.

The proposed measure would bar lobbyists from making campaign contributions.

The mayor, council members, and senior administrators would also be barred from accepting gifts from lobbyists or city contractors.

The mayor and council members would also be required to sit out of any vote involving a person or entity contributing to their campaign or other cause in the last 12 months and the three months following the vote.

The proposed initiative would also give the mayor the power to hire and fire the city manager and department heads starting January 1, 2023.

The measure also includes a provision to align San Jose’s mayoral races with the presidential election cycle in an effort to increase voter turnout.

The City Council will hold a special meeting on July 28 where they will review the proposed ballot language before sending it off to the county Registrar of Voters.

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July 2, 2020 •

Nevada Governor Announces Date for Special Legislative Session

Nevada State Capitol Octagonal Annex

Gov. Steve Sisolak officially called for the Nevada Legislature to convene in a special session on July 8 to address the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget crisis. At a later date, the governor’s office will issue the formal proclamation to […]

Gov. Steve Sisolak officially called for the Nevada Legislature to convene in a special session on July 8 to address the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget crisis.

At a later date, the governor’s office will issue the formal proclamation to convene the special session.

Gov. Sisolak and legislative leadership are working to assess potential additional items to be included in any special session proclamation.

These additions will be including policy proposals related to criminal and social justice reform.

Furthermore, the governor acknowledged the start date could change based on public health conditions.

The public will be able to watch the floor sessions and committee meetings via the Legislature’s livestreams.

Finally, those who wish to participate will be able to teleconference or submit written comments.

This does affect ALERTS reporting.

A lobbyist activity report will be due between the first and tenth of the month after each month the Legislature in in a special session.

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June 30, 2020 •

California Legislature Passes Special Election Bill

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California State Capitol Building - Jeff Turner

Lawmakers passed a bill calling a statewide special election to be consolidated and held on November 3, 2020. Senate Bill 300 requires the Office of the Secretary of State to submit various Assembly Constitutional Amendments, including lowering the voting age, […]

Lawmakers passed a bill calling a statewide special election to be consolidated and held on November 3, 2020.

Senate Bill 300 requires the Office of the Secretary of State to submit various Assembly Constitutional Amendments, including lowering the voting age, wages, elections, and state of emergency procedures, to voters for their approval at the general election if the amendments are passed by the Legislature on or before July 1, 2020.

If signed by the governor, the bill would take effect immediately as an act calling an election.

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June 30, 2020 •

Oregon Legislature Adjourns Special Session

Oregon Senate Chamber

Oregon Senate Chamber - photo by Cacophony

Oregon’s Legislative Assembly adjourned the first special session of 2020. During the session lawmakers passed a slew of bills dealing with police accountability and the coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers passed 24 bills with more than 600 pieces of public testimony submitted […]

Oregon’s Legislative Assembly adjourned the first special session of 2020.

During the session lawmakers passed a slew of bills dealing with police accountability and the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers passed 24 bills with more than 600 pieces of public testimony submitted and over 100 virtual testimonies during the three day special session.

At least one other special session may be called this year in order to focus on the state budget.

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June 19, 2020 •

FPPC to Require LLC’s Provide More Political Spending Transparency

Sacramento, CA Skyline - Basil D Soufi

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) voted to require more transparency and disclosure of those who use limited liability companies (LLC’s) to make political contributions. Aditionally, they would require campaigns to list the name of the actual person who directed […]

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) voted to require more transparency and disclosure of those who use limited liability companies (LLC’s) to make political contributions.

Aditionally, they would require campaigns to list the name of the actual person who directed the LLC political spending.

The first new regulation requires LLC’s involved in raising and spending money for political activity to name the person making the decisions.

The second new regulation requires campaigns receiving donations from LLC’s to also list the name of the person responsible for the political activity.

A 2019 FPPC Enforcement Division examination of LLC’s found it was relatively easy to find information about the type of business, its address and an agent for service of process.

However, it was extremely difficult to find the identities of the people behind the LLC’s owners or the true source of the political expenditures.

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June 17, 2020 •

Oregon Governor Brown Calls Special Session

Oregon Governor Kate Brown

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown

Gov. Kate Brown has called for a special session of the Oregon Legislature to convene on June 24. Lawmakers will be addressing issues regarding police accountability, the coronavirus pandemic, children’s education, and jobs. With social distancing measures still in place, […]

Gov. Kate Brown has called for a special session of the Oregon Legislature to convene on June 24.

Lawmakers will be addressing issues regarding police accountability, the coronavirus pandemic, children’s education, and jobs.

With social distancing measures still in place, the upcoming special session will be different than what any lawmaker has seen.

The Capitol will generally be closed to the public, however legislators will still be able to get in to do business.

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June 15, 2020 •

Alaska Supreme Court Approves Election Reform Ballot Measure

Alaska State Capitol Buildling - Jay Galvin

The Alaska Supreme Court unanimously ruled an election reform initiative can appear on the November Ballot. The court upheld a lower court decision confirming the legality of a proposed ballot measure. This will be imposing ranked choice voting, nonpartisan primary […]

The Alaska Supreme Court unanimously ruled an election reform initiative can appear on the November Ballot.

The court upheld a lower court decision confirming the legality of a proposed ballot measure.

This will be imposing ranked choice voting, nonpartisan primary elections, and tough new rules on campaign finance disclosure.

In August of 2019, Attorney General Kevin Clarkson released an opinion stating the election reform initiative was unconstitutional under the single subject rule.

On his advice, the Division of Elections attempted to block the Better Elections committee from gathering signatures to put the issue on the ballot.

However, Superior Court Judge Yvonne Lamoureux ruled Clarkson’s analysis was incorrect.

Additionally she ordered the state to issue signature booklets and continue the certification process as the state appealed to the Supreme Court.

If approved by voters, the ballot measure would require additional reporting requirements for large donations to political campaigns.

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June 4, 2020 •

Governor Makes Appointment to Fill Idaho House Seat

Aaron von Ehligner

Aaron von Ehligner - by FinallyGoodIT

Gov. Brad Little appointed Aaron von Ehlinger to fill the Idaho House District 6 seat until November’s general election. The appointment was made one day after von Ehlinger challenged incumbent Rep. Thyra Stevenson, and won the Republican primary for the […]

Gov. Brad Little appointed Aaron von Ehlinger to fill the Idaho House District 6 seat until November’s general election.

The appointment was made one day after von Ehlinger challenged incumbent Rep. Thyra Stevenson, and won the Republican primary for the seat.

However, Stevenson passed away on May 11 following a heart attack.

She remained on the Republican primary ballot because it was too late to change forms.

The 6th Legislative District Republican Central Committee nominated von Ehlinger and two others as potential picks following the passing of Stevenson.

Von Ehlinger will now be the incumbent in the November general election, where he is running unopposed.

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June 2, 2020 •

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to Campaign Finance Law

U.S. Supreme Court Building

United States Supreme Court Building

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a case challenging a Montana disclosure law. Specifically, the law requires disclosure of spending for political ads within 60 days of an election. In August 2019, the 9th U.S Circuit […]

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a case challenging a Montana disclosure law.

Specifically, the law requires disclosure of spending for political ads within 60 days of an election.

In August 2019, the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Montana’s law requiring nonprofit groups running ads mentioning candidates, political parties or ballot issues in the 60 day window before an election to report any spending of $250 or more and disclose who funded their efforts.

This law is part of the state’s Disclosure Act, while the case was filed by the National Association of Gun Rights in 2016.

In their lawsuit, the group stated they were planning on sending mailers in Montana.

However, they would not report their donors or spending because it violated their constitutional rights of free speech.

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May 21, 2020 •

Alaska Legislature Adjourns Sine Die

Governor Mike Dunleavy

Governor Mike Dunleavy - by The Alaska Landmine

The Alaska Legislature adjourned after approving Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s plan to spend over $1 billion in federal coronavirus funding. Lawmakers were spurred by a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the plans Gov. Dunleavy submitted to the Legislative Budget and Audit […]

The Alaska Legislature adjourned after approving Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s plan to spend over $1 billion in federal coronavirus funding.

Lawmakers were spurred by a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the plans Gov. Dunleavy submitted to the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee.

They were submitted through a process allowing a governor to submit plans to accept and spend additional federal or other program funds on a budget item.

In addition, the committee agreed to more than $1 billion in plans despite concerns some of the items fell outside the scope of what can go through the committee process.

Following the vote, the Legislature adjourned the 2020 regular session, though members of the House and Senate have said a special session may be needed later in the year.

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May 18, 2020 •

Wyoming Special Session Ends with Approval of Three Bills

Wyoming Capitol

Wyoming Capitol - By Bradlyons - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The Legislature’s first special session since 2004 ended Saturday night with three bills headed to the desk of Gov. Mark Gordon for his consideration. The main task of the special session was to set up programs and time frames for […]

The Legislature’s first special session since 2004 ended Saturday night with three bills headed to the desk of Gov. Mark Gordon for his consideration.

The main task of the special session was to set up programs and time frames for the spending of $1.25 billion Wyoming received through the federal CARES act.

Though Gov. Gordon has the ultimate authority to spend the money, the approved legislation provides a broad outline of where that money will go.

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May 14, 2020 •

California Becomes First State to Mail Ballots to All Voters

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order requiring election officials to send mail-in ballots to every registered voter ahead of the November general election. Newsom acknowledged attempting traditional voting on a mass scale would likely still be too dangerous […]

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order requiring election officials to send mail-in ballots to every registered voter ahead of the November general election.

Newsom acknowledged attempting traditional voting on a mass scale would likely still be too dangerous even in November due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In-person voting is still expected to occur, but the number of people voting at polling places is expected to decline.

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