March 13, 2020 •

Wyoming Governor Signs Procurement Bill

Wyoming Capitol

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

Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill modifying provisions related to procurement and contracting by governmental entities. House Bill 50 increases the amount to $15,000 for bids or contracts for supplies or services required to be made by competitive sealed bidding. […]

Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill modifying provisions related to procurement and contracting by governmental entities.

House Bill 50 increases the amount to $15,000 for bids or contracts for supplies or services required to be made by competitive sealed bidding.

Additionally, the bill allows an elected state official to contract for supplies or services by competitive negotiation without department approval.

This can be done when:

    • The contract is for $25,000 or less
    • The elected state official determines the use of competitive sealed bidding is not feasible or practical

House Bill 50 becomes effective October 1, 2020.

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March 13, 2020 •

FPPC of California Creates Task Force

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California State Capitol Building - Jeff Turner

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) announced the formation of a Digital Transparency Task Force. The purpose of this group is to address the issues surrounding political advertising through social media and other digital outlets. The Digital Transparency Task […]

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) announced the formation of a Digital Transparency Task Force.

The purpose of this group is to address the issues surrounding political advertising through social media and other digital outlets.

The Digital Transparency Task Force will study the current landscape of these outlets.

They will also look at trends and ways to keep up with the ever-changing field, including regulations possibly needing updated, enhanced, added, or strengthened.

The FPPC created the task force to help set standards and to develop best practices for transparent digital political advertising.

They will also assist the public to easily find the information in a publicly accessible database.

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March 13, 2020 •

Washington Legislature Adjourns, Ups COVID-19 Funding

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Washington State Capitol Building - Cacophony

The 2020 session of the Washington State Legislature adjourned sine die on March 12 after 60 days in session. Lawmakers’ final hours of work were overshadowed by the continued onslaught of COVID-19 news in the state. This prompted passage of […]

The 2020 session of the Washington State Legislature adjourned sine die on March 12 after 60 days in session.

Lawmakers’ final hours of work were overshadowed by the continued onslaught of COVID-19 news in the state.

This prompted passage of a supplemental state budget doubling funding from $100 million to $200 million for the COVID-19 response.

Lawmakers noted the sense of urgency to finish their work quickly due to growing concerns about the spread of the virus.

During the session, legislators passed a bill concerning certification of the level of foreign national ownership for corporations participating in state elections.

Senate Bill 6152 requires a certification from each corporation making a contribution to the candidate, political committee, or incidental committee.

The certification must state the corporation’s ownership is comprised of less than 50% of foreign nationals.

Legislators also passed a procurement bill providing for accountability and transparency in government contracting.

House Bill 1521 requires evaluation of contract performance.

The evaluation assess whether decisions to contract out government services to the private sector are achieving their stated objectives.

In addition, the bill intends to ensure public contractors given access to state resources are held to ethical standards consistent with public values.

Gov. Jay Inslee has 20 days to act on the bills.

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March 10, 2020 •

Oregon Legislative Session Officially Ends

Oregon State Capitol Building

The Oregon legislative session officially ended at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. The short session came to a halt when both House and Senate Republican lawmakers walked out. This was done in order to stop progress on controversial cap-and-trade bills designed […]

The Oregon legislative session officially ended at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

The short session came to a halt when both House and Senate Republican lawmakers walked out.

This was done in order to stop progress on controversial cap-and-trade bills designed to combat climate change.

Only three bills passed the Legislature during this session, with more than 250 bills left stalled.

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March 10, 2020 •

Fundraising Window to Open for Los Angeles Citywide 2022 Candidates

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Los Angeles City Hall - Michael J Fromholtz

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission announced the fundraising window for the regular 2022 primary election. The window for citywide candidates will open March 8, 2020, while primary election are scheduled for March 8, 2022. City law specifies the primary election […]

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission announced the fundraising window for the regular 2022 primary election.

The window for citywide candidates will open March 8, 2020, while primary election are scheduled for March 8, 2022.

City law specifies the primary election fundraising window for citywide races will be 24 months.

Additionally, the window for City Council and Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education (LAUSD) races will be 18 months.

The fundraising window for City Council and LAUSD candidates in the regular 2022 primary election will open September 8, 2020.

The Ethics Commission has not changed the campaign contribution limits for candidates at this time.

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February 26, 2020 •

Oregon Republican Legislators Walkout Over Climate Bill

Oregon State Capitol Building

The Oregon state legislature adjourned Tuesday after House Republicans joined their Senate counterparts in walking out. Their goal is to stop progress on controversial cap-and-trade bills designed to combat climate change. The walkout came as Republican legislators accused the majority […]

The Oregon state legislature adjourned Tuesday after House Republicans joined their Senate counterparts in walking out.

Their goal is to stop progress on controversial cap-and-trade bills designed to combat climate change.

The walkout came as Republican legislators accused the majority Democrats of attempting to rush through aggressive emissions restrictions on industry and business.

They argue the proposed limits should be placed on the ballot for voters to decide.

The House walkout came a day after Senate Republicans staged their own walkout.

This denies Democrats the two-thirds majority needed to reach a quorum.

Senate Republicans walked out twice during last year’s session over a similar cap-and-trade bill and a $1 billion a year tax for education.

The House has not declared sine die, though the session is scheduled to end March 8.

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February 17, 2020 •

Judge Set to Confirm Most of San Francisco Political Ad Disclosure Rules

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U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer will uphold the bulk of a San Francisco ordinance requiring political ads to disclose top donors and secondary funding sources. Proposition F requires print, audio, and video political ads disclose the top three donors who […]

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer will uphold the bulk of a San Francisco ordinance requiring political ads to disclose top donors and secondary funding sources.

Proposition F requires print, audio, and video political ads disclose the top three donors who contributed at least $5,000. If one of those donors is a PAC, the committee’s top two donors must also be disclosed.

The judge rejected claims the ad disclosure law hinders political speech.

Yes on Prop B argued the law unconstitutionally burdens its right to free speech and cited an en banc Ninth Circuit panel decision in American Beverage Association v. San Francisco blocking the city from requiring health warnings taking up 20% of billboard ads for sodas and sweetened drinks.

Judge Breyer found the court decision was not really on point because Proposition F was passed by a voter referendum and regulates political speech as opposed to commercial speech.

The judge also rejected an argument donor information is easily accessible on the San Francisco Ethics Commission website stating putting the onus on voters to look up the information would not match the law’s intent.

While refusing to block most of the law, Judge Breyer agreed requiring lengthy disclaimers for small print and short length political ads is likely unconstitutional and indicated he will issue a partial injunction blocking those types of restrictions.

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February 17, 2020 •

Alaska Supreme Court Allows Recall Dunleavy to Begin Gathering Signatures

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

The Alaska Supreme Court issued an order allowing the campaign to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy to begin collecting signatures. The decision reverses a lower court ruling pausing signature gathering and putting the case on an extremely speedy schedule by the […]

The Alaska Supreme Court issued an order allowing the campaign to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy to begin collecting signatures.

The decision reverses a lower court ruling pausing signature gathering and putting the case on an extremely speedy schedule by the standards of the court.

Oral arguments over the legality of the recall will be held on March 25.

The Division of Elections will begin printing petition booklets for Recall Dunleavy to collect the required 71, 252 signatures.

If the Supreme Court rules the recall campaign legal, any election would take place 60 to 90 days after the Division of Elections confirms enough signatures have been gathered.

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February 13, 2020 •

Idaho Election Filing Deadlines Extended

Idaho Capitol Building - JSquish

At the request of Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, and in consultation with the office of the Governor, the Idaho Office of the Secretary of State is extending the February 10 filing deadline for PACs and candidates under the […]

At the request of Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, and in consultation with the office of the Governor, the Idaho Office of the Secretary of State is extending the February 10 filing deadline for PACs and candidates under the Idaho Sunshine Laws to February 17, 2020.

Being the first report due under the new revisions of the Sunshine Law, various unanticipated issues have made achieving the deadline by midnight unlikely for some candidates and PACs.

The fines stipulated by the new laws will also be pushed back and not be assessed at this time.

Another contributing factor to the delayed deadline is for many in local and special district offices, this report represents their first time ever filing with the Office of the Secretary of State and many were not aware of the steps required to gain access to the state’s campaign finance filing system.

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February 12, 2020 •

San Francisco Judge to Hear Challenge to New Campaign Finance Disclosure Rules

San Francisco, California - Noahnmf

A federal judge in San Francisco will hear arguments on February 14 on a free speech challenge to the new donor disclosure rules enacted by city voters in November. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer will consider the Yes on B […]

A federal judge in San Francisco will hear arguments on February 14 on a free speech challenge to the new donor disclosure rules enacted by city voters in November.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer will consider the Yes on B campaign committee’s request for a preliminary injunction blocking the rules approved by voters as part of Proposition F.

The federal lawsuit was filed on January 28 claiming the rules violate the First Amendment free speech rights because the required disclosures occupy so much space in audio, video, and newspaper advertisements effectively drowning out the political message.

Proposition F, also known as the Sunlight on Dark Money Initiative, requires ads list the contribution amounts as well as the names of the top three donors of $5,000 or more, plus the names and amounts of the top two donors of more than $5,000 to a secondary committee contributing to a primary committee.

The lawsuit also disputes the lowering of the donation threshold to $5,000 from the previous threshold of $10,000 and a requirement donation disclosures be made at the beginning rather than the end of an audio or video message or telephone call.

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February 5, 2020 •

Oregon Referendum Process Could Change

Oregon State Capitol Building

Salem attorney Steve Elzinga has proposed changes to the state administrative rules to prevent manipulation of a mechanism allowing citizens to stop new laws passed by legislators. Our Oregon, a union backed political group, is alarmed about the proposed changes […]

Salem attorney Steve Elzinga has proposed changes to the state administrative rules to prevent manipulation of a mechanism allowing citizens to stop new laws passed by legislators.

Our Oregon, a union backed political group, is alarmed about the proposed changes to the state’s election rules.

The group says the rules give special interests excessive influence.

The opposing sides argue they are defending the ability of voters to directly access the state’s political system.

The Office of the Secretary of State held a hearing on the rule changes earlier this week. Secretary of State Bev Clarno could decide on the rule changes as soon as next month.

In Oregon, if citizens want to challenge a new law passed by the Legislature they can put it to a statewide vote by using the state’s referendum process.

Citizens have 90 days after the Legislature adjourns to petition for a referendum, unless a new law is written to take effect right away.

The number of signatures required to trigger a referendum is based on turnout in previous elections

The number of signatures required is currently 74,680.

However, signatures can’t be gathered until the governor signs the legislation into law.

The proposed change would permit collecting signatures for a referendum as soon as the targeted legislation passes both the House and the Senate.

Governors have 30 business days after the Legislature adjourns to sign a bill into law.

The change would prevent governors delaying the signing of a bill to chew up some of the 90 days set aside for petition work.

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January 30, 2020 •

Judge Places Recall Dunleavy Signature Gathering on Hold

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

A superior court judge has delayed signature gathering for a campaign seeking to remove Gov. Mike Dunleavy from office. Judge Eric Aarseth issued a stay halting Recall Dunleavy from advancing its efforts, pending a decision from the Alaska Supreme Court. […]

A superior court judge has delayed signature gathering for a campaign seeking to remove Gov. Mike Dunleavy from office.

Judge Eric Aarseth issued a stay halting Recall Dunleavy from advancing its efforts, pending a decision from the Alaska Supreme Court.

The judge previously overruled a state Division of Elections decision rejecting the recall application.

Last week, there was some confusion over a stay, when the stay was issued and revoked a day later due to an error in the court system.

Although the ruling halts the recall campaign from moving forward with collecting signatures, both parties agreed to an expedited appeal.

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January 30, 2020 •

Oregon Democrats Seek to Delay Campaign Contribution Limits Until July 2021

Oregon State Capitol Building

House Democrats introduced a bill putting the 2006 voter approved campaign contribution limits on hold until at least July 2021. House Bill 4124 would give lawmakers more time to pass new campaign contribution limits to replace those approved by voters. […]

House Democrats introduced a bill putting the 2006 voter approved campaign contribution limits on hold until at least July 2021.

House Bill 4124 would give lawmakers more time to pass new campaign contribution limits to replace those approved by voters.

The bill would allow the Legislature to appoint a task force to study campaign finance and make recommendations on how to best establish effective political contribution limits.

Currently, Oregon has no campaign contribution limits because courts have repeatedly struck down or suspended them, including the initiative voters passed almost two decades ago.

The Oregon Supreme Court is expected to rule on Multnomah County’s voter approved campaign finance limits at some point this year.

A ruling in favor of the campaign finance limits would likely revive statewide donation caps as well.

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January 30, 2020 •

Oakland Public Ethics Commission to Consider Adjusting Contribution Limits

The Public Ethics Commission will consider annual adjustments to the contribution limits at their regular meeting next week. Commission staff will present an updated list of the campaign contribution limits and expenditure ceiling amounts, as adjusted according to the increase […]

The Public Ethics Commission will consider annual adjustments to the contribution limits at their regular meeting next week.

Commission staff will present an updated list of the campaign contribution limits and expenditure ceiling amounts, as adjusted according to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as required by the Oakland Campaign Finance Reform Act.

The limitations on contributions from persons to candidates who adopt the voluntary expenditure ceiling will increase to $900 per election.

If approved, the adjusted limits will be in effect for the 2020 elections.

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