January 21, 2020 •

Multnomah County Commissioners Select Small-Business Owner to Fill House Seat

Oregon State Capitol Building

Akasha Lawrence-Spence was selected by the Multnomah County Commissioners in Oregon to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Jennifer Williamson. Rep. Williamson resigned from the House District 36 seat in late December to run for secretary of state. The unexpired […]

Akasha Lawrence-Spence was selected by the Multnomah County Commissioners in Oregon to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Jennifer Williamson.

Rep. Williamson resigned from the House District 36 seat in late December to run for secretary of state.

The unexpired term ends in January 2021.

Lawrence-Spence will serve through the remainder of the upcoming 2020 legislative session.

Candidates will vie for the District 36 seat in this year’s primary election.

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January 15, 2020 •

Seattle Passes Two Bills in the Clean Campaigns Act

Rootology [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Seattle City Hall - Rootology

The Seattle City Council unanimously passed two bills banning most political spending by foreign-influenced corporations and clamping down on political advertising. These bills are part of the Clean Campaigns Act, a three-bill package introduced in August of last year. The […]

The Seattle City Council unanimously passed two bills banning most political spending by foreign-influenced corporations and clamping down on political advertising.

These bills are part of the Clean Campaigns Act, a three-bill package introduced in August of last year.

The first bill prevents corporations with a single foreign national investor holding at least 1% ownership, or two or more holding at least 5% ownership from contributing directly to Seattle candidates, political races, or through PACs.

Companies that have a non-U.S. investor making decisions on its U.S. political activities will also be prevented from political spending.

The measure closes a loophole because foreign individuals and foreign-based entities already are barred from making contributions in U.S. elections.

The second bill adds transparency to the political advertising realm.

It requires any paid advertisement regarding a political matter of local importance to follow stricter reporting guidelines and to retain and provide records about these advertisements.

The third bill, which would place a cap on Super PAC contributions, remains in the Select Committee on Campaign Finance Reform for further discussions.

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January 14, 2020 •

Anchorage Judge Allows Effort to Recall Alaska Governor to Proceed

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth reversed the Division of Election’s rejection of the Recall Dunleavy campaign application. The Division of Elections rejected a bid to advance the recall effort based on an opinion from Attorney General Kevin Clarkson. Clarkson […]

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth reversed the Division of Election’s rejection of the Recall Dunleavy campaign application.

The Division of Elections rejected a bid to advance the recall effort based on an opinion from Attorney General Kevin Clarkson.

Clarkson found the reasons listed for the recall were factually and legally deficient.

The Recall Dunleavy group argued that Clarkson’s analysis was overreaching and the recall effort should be allowed to move to a second signature-gathering phase.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration stated it will appeal the decision to the Alaska Supreme Court.

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January 9, 2020 •

Alex Ramel Appointed to Replace Jeff Morris as Washington State Representative

Alex Ramel

At a joint meeting of the councils from Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan counties, Alex Ramel was selected to replace Rep. Jeff Morris in the 40th Legislative District. Rep. Morris resigned from the Washington legislature to take a position with […]

At a joint meeting of the councils from Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan counties, Alex Ramel was selected to replace Rep. Jeff Morris in the 40th Legislative District.

Rep. Morris resigned from the Washington legislature to take a position with Schneider Electric.

Ramel was sworn in on the same day Rep. Morris officially resigned.

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January 9, 2020 •

Portland Commissioner Fish’s Passing Triggers Special Election

Commissioner Nick Fish passed away on January 2, creating a vacant council seat. The Portland City Council chose the May 19 municipal primary election date for a special election to fill the vacancy. Potential candidates would have to wait until […]

Commissioner Nick Fish passed away on January 2, creating a vacant council seat.

The Portland City Council chose the May 19 municipal primary election date for a special election to fill the vacancy.

Potential candidates would have to wait until March 10 to file for Fish’s position.

If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters would face each other in a runoff election on November 3.

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January 9, 2020 •

Representative Duncan Hunter Resigns from Congress

Rep. Duncan Hunter - Gage Skidmore

Rep. Duncan Hunter sent a letter of resignation to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Gov. Gavin Newsom after pleading guilty to conspiracy to misuse campaign funds. Hunter will officially step down from his 50th Congressional District seat on January 13. […]

Rep. Duncan Hunter sent a letter of resignation to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Gov. Gavin Newsom after pleading guilty to conspiracy to misuse campaign funds.

Hunter will officially step down from his 50th Congressional District seat on January 13.

Gov. Newsom decided not to call a special election so the seat will remain vacant until the November election.

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January 9, 2020 •

Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Governor Bullock

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock - Gage Skidmore

A lawsuit filed by the Illinois Opportunity Project over Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s executive order on dark money in elections has been dismissed. The Illinois-based conservative advocacy group filed the lawsuit in U.S. federal court in Helena objecting to Executive […]

A lawsuit filed by the Illinois Opportunity Project over Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s executive order on dark money in elections has been dismissed.

The Illinois-based conservative advocacy group filed the lawsuit in U.S. federal court in Helena objecting to Executive Order 15-2018.

The Executive order requires organizations receiving large state contracts to report political contributions that exceed $2,500, even if the disclosures are not required under federal election laws.

Judge Charles C. Lovell ruled the Illinois Opportunity Project could not prove it had been harmed by the executive order because current or potential donors refused to contribute money because they would be named.

The advocacy group has until January 21 to file an amended complaint.

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January 8, 2020 •

Seattle City Council Considering Caps on Super PAC Donations

Rootology [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Seattle City Hall - Rootology

The Seattle City Council is considering legislation limiting the ability of Super PACs to spend unlimited amounts of money in Seattle elections. Council Member Lorena González introduced the Clean Campaigns Act to reduce the amount of money Super PACs funnel […]

The Seattle City Council is considering legislation limiting the ability of Super PACs to spend unlimited amounts of money in Seattle elections.

Council Member Lorena González introduced the Clean Campaigns Act to reduce the amount of money Super PACs funnel into elections.

The proposed legislation would limit Super PACs from receiving more than $5,000 per year from any single individual or corporation.

The act would also block multinational corporations, defined as companies with more than one percent ownership from a single foreign national or more than five percent ownership from multiple foreign nationals, from spending money on local elections.

Another proposed change would require all political advertising outside of election years to follow similar reporting requirements to current rules for election advertisements.

The Clean Campaigns Act is currently being considered in council chambers and could see a full council vote as early as next week.

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January 6, 2020 •

Oregon Representative Resigns to Campaign for Secretary of State

Rep. Jennifer Williamson resigned from her Oregon House of Representatives District 36 seat to focus on her campaign for secretary of state. Multnomah County Democrats can forward three to five names to the Multnomah County Commission for a replacement. The […]

Rep. Jennifer Williamson resigned from her Oregon House of Representatives District 36 seat to focus on her campaign for secretary of state.

Multnomah County Democrats can forward three to five names to the Multnomah County Commission for a replacement.

The commissioners will hold a public hearing on January 16 to decide which of the Democratic Party’s several nominees to select to fill the vacancy.

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January 3, 2020 •

Idaho Governor Appoints Boise Woman to Vacant House Seat

Lauren Necochea - MARSHALL CLARKE

Gov. Brad Little appointed Lauren Necochea to fill the vacant House of Representatives District 19 seat. Necochea was one of three possible candidates and the top choice the Democratic Legislative Committee for District 19 submitted to the governor. The seat […]

Gov. Brad Little appointed Lauren Necochea to fill the vacant House of Representatives District 19 seat.

Necochea was one of three possible candidates and the top choice the Democratic Legislative Committee for District 19 submitted to the governor.

The seat became vacant when former Rep. Mat Erpelding resigned to take a job with the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce.

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December 13, 2019 •

Federal Judge Blocks Los Angeles from Enforcing NRA Disclosure Law

NRA Headquarters - Joe Loong

A federal judge temporarily blocked a Los Angeles law requiring businesses seeking city contracts to disclose any links to the National Rifle Association (NRA). The Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance in February requiring companies doing business with the […]

A federal judge temporarily blocked a Los Angeles law requiring businesses seeking city contracts to disclose any links to the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance in February requiring companies doing business with the city to disclose any financial connections to the gun-rights advocacy organization.

The NRA responded with a federal lawsuit against the city, arguing the policy silences NRA members and supporters in the city by forcing them to disclose their ties with the organization.

U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of the ordinance while the case moves forward.

However, the judge granted the city’s motion to dismiss claims the ordinance violates the NRA’s equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and the ordinance has the effect of compelling speech.

Also, the judge removed Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city clerk as defendants in the lawsuit.

The city may appeal the ruling or the NRA may request the injunction be made permanent.

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December 12, 2019 •

Utah Governor Calls Special Session

Utah Capitol Building - Jkinsocal

Gov. Gary Herbert called a special session of the Utah Legislature for December 12 to consider a massive tax reform plan. The special session comes a day after a divided legislative panel voted to advance a significant tax cut for […]

Gov. Gary Herbert called a special session of the Utah Legislature for December 12 to consider a massive tax reform plan.

The special session comes a day after a divided legislative panel voted to advance a significant tax cut for Utah residents.

In addition to the tax reform, the special session will include discussion of funding for behavioral health programs.

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December 11, 2019 •

Federal Appeals Court Rejects Maryland Online Political Ad Law

Maryland Capitol Building - Jimmy Emerson

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Maryland law aimed at extending the state’s campaign finance oversight into online political ads to prevent foreign interference in local elections is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment. The […]

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Maryland law aimed at extending the state’s campaign finance oversight into online political ads to prevent foreign interference in local elections is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment.

The Online Electioneering Transparency and Accountability Act, passed by state legislators in 2018, requires newspapers and other media platforms to collect and self-publish information about sponsors of online political ads.

The three-judge panel found that the law targets political expression and compels certain speech, and affirmed a lower court’s ruling to strike down the law.

The state’s attorney general’s office will review the decision and decide whether to file an appeal.

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December 9, 2019 •

New Portland, Oregon Lobbying Administrative Rules in Place

The Portland Auditor has announced administrative rule changes to the city’s lobbying regulations. The revised rules clarify the definition of lobbying to include grassroots lobbying and attempts to gain goodwill. Fiscal disclosures are required to include expenses related to grassroots […]

The Portland Auditor has announced administrative rule changes to the city’s lobbying regulations.

The revised rules clarify the definition of lobbying to include grassroots lobbying and attempts to gain goodwill.

Fiscal disclosures are required to include expenses related to grassroots lobbying.

The rule changes also provide guidance on governments registering as lobbying entities if certain types of lobbying occur.

Governments will be considered lobbying entities when certain outside individuals lobby on their behalf.

The regulation changes also exclude certain cultural gifts from the city’s lobbying registration and reporting requirements if the market value of the gift cannot be easily determined and declining the gift is likely to cause offense.

Additionally, the revised rules provide guidance on when lobbying groups and city officials may be fined for late filings.

The auditor’s office will issue a warning notice for late filings.

Reports must be filed within 24 hours after the deadline or a late fee will be assessed up to $500 per report.

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