December 6, 2019 •

Los Angeles Limits Campaign Donations from Developers

The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to prevent real estate developers who have project applications pending at city hall from making campaign contributions to elected officials or candidates for municipal office. City Councilman David Ryu introduced the proposal to […]

The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to prevent real estate developers who have project applications pending at city hall from making campaign contributions to elected officials or candidates for municipal office.

City Councilman David Ryu introduced the proposal to ban developer donations to prevent interference with the ethical commitments candidates make when running for office.

Under the new ordinance, real estate developers will be barred from giving political contributions to Los Angeles city officials and candidates for council, mayor, or city attorney while the city decides on key approvals for building projects.

These restrictions will be in effect for one year after a final decision on each developer application.

The law does not prohibit developers from hosting fundraisers or raising money from other donors and does not apply to major subcontractors on a development project.

Critics contend the new rules will spur developers to donate more money to independent expenditure committees, which have no limits on how much they can receive and cannot coordinate with their chosen candidates.

The council also voted to have a committee reexamine possible restrictions on behested payments, which are donations solicited by candidates or elected officials for various charities or causes.

The ordinance becomes operative the first day a candidate for elected city office can file a Declaration of Intent to Solicit and Raise Contributions for the 2022 general election.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has until December 16 to act on the ordinance.

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December 2, 2019 •

Maryland State Senator Retires

State Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam

Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam announced she is retiring from the Maryland State Senate District 44 seat, effective December 1. Nathan-Pulliam cited health issues as the reason for stepping down from the seat. Both the Baltimore City and Baltimore County state central […]

Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam announced she is retiring from the Maryland State Senate District 44 seat, effective December 1.

Nathan-Pulliam cited health issues as the reason for stepping down from the seat.

Both the Baltimore City and Baltimore County state central committees are now accepting resumes and will make a recommendation to Gov. Larry Hogan.

Gov. Hogan officially makes the appointment to fill the vacant seat.

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December 2, 2019 •

Bentz Resigning from Oregon Senate

State Sen. Cliff Bentz - via Pamplin Media Group

Sen. Cliff Bentz announced his intention to resign from the Oregon State Senate District 30 seat, effective January 2, 2020. Bentz intends to run for the 2nd Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. Greg Walden, who announced that he […]

Sen. Cliff Bentz announced his intention to resign from the Oregon State Senate District 30 seat, effective January 2, 2020.

Bentz intends to run for the 2nd Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. Greg Walden, who announced that he will not run for reelection in 2020.

The 2nd Congressional District is one of the largest in the nation and covers about two-thirds of state.

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November 26, 2019 •

Supreme Court Questions Alaska Contribution Limit

United States Supreme Court Building

The U.S. Supreme Court is raising doubts about Alaska’s $500-a-year limit on contributions to political candidates. The justices are ordering a lower court to take a new look at the issue. The court says in an unsigned opinion on Monday […]

The U.S. Supreme Court is raising doubts about Alaska’s $500-a-year limit on contributions to political candidates.

The justices are ordering a lower court to take a new look at the issue.

The court says in an unsigned opinion on Monday that federal judges who rejected a challenge to the contribution cap did not take into account a 2006 high court ruling.

The 2006 ruling invalidated low-dollar limits on political contributions in Vermont.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a separate opinion expressing that Alaska’s reliance on the energy industry may make the state unusually vulnerable to political corruption and justify the low limits.

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November 26, 2019 •

Maryland Governor Appoints New District 22 Delegate

Del. Nicole Williams

Gov. Larry Hogan has announced the appointment of Nicole Williams to represent District 22 in Prince George’s County. Williams is replacing Del. Tawanna Gaines, who resigned last month after pleading guilty in federal court to illegally using campaign funds for […]

Gov. Larry Hogan has announced the appointment of Nicole Williams to represent District 22 in Prince George’s County.

Williams is replacing Del. Tawanna Gaines, who resigned last month after pleading guilty in federal court to illegally using campaign funds for personal benefit.

Gov. Hogan appointed Williams following the unanimous recommendations by the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee.

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November 26, 2019 •

Montgomery County, Maryland Launches Bid Solicitation Tracker

The Montgomery County Office of Procurement has launched a new online tool to find the status of a solicitation from issuance to contract execution. The new system increases transparency by giving the public the ability to view the solicitation process […]

The Montgomery County Office of Procurement has launched a new online tool to find the status of a solicitation from issuance to contract execution.

The new system increases transparency by giving the public the ability to view the solicitation process from beginning to end.

The tracker system is located on the procurement website.

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November 26, 2019 •

Conservative Groups Challenge Rhode Island Campaign Finance Law

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Rhode Island Skyline

Two conservative groups are asking a federal judge to strike down Rhode Island campaign finance laws that make them report political advertising and identify donors. Rhode Island’s Gaspee Project and the Illinois Opportunity Project filed a lawsuit against the Rhode […]

Two conservative groups are asking a federal judge to strike down Rhode Island campaign finance laws that make them report political advertising and identify donors.

Rhode Island’s Gaspee Project and the Illinois Opportunity Project filed a lawsuit against the Rhode Island Board of Elections in U.S. District Court arguing that paid political messaging not coordinated with a specific campaign is protected free speech that should not be subject to state financial disclosure laws.

The suit claims the disclosure laws regarding campaign contributions are unconstitutional and that revealing the identity of donors can expose them to retribution, making them less likely to donate.

The Rhode Island law requires any group that makes more than $1,000 in independent expenditures not coordinated with a campaign to report them to the Board of Elections, list what candidate or referendum is involved, list all individual donors who gave more than $1,000 that election cycle, and list the top five donors.

Supporters of the disclosure law believe it will survive the challenge because federal courts around the U.S. have upheld similar disclosure provisions.

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November 21, 2019 •

North Carolina Legislature Adjourns

North Carolina State Legislative Building

The North Carolina General Assembly adjourned after finalizing a replacement map for congressional districts. Legislators extended the legislative session to redraw the map due to state judges blocking lines drawn in 2016 from being used next year. The session was […]

The North Carolina General Assembly adjourned after finalizing a replacement map for congressional districts.

Legislators extended the legislative session to redraw the map due to state judges blocking lines drawn in 2016 from being used next year.

The session was one of the longest legislative sessions in recent history due to the redistricting lawsuit and a fight over the budget.

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November 21, 2019 •

West Virginia Special Session Adjourns

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West Virginia Capitol Building - O Palsson

While the West Virginia Senate approved three bills during the special legislative session, the House is leaving one measure for the December interim meetings. The Senate adjourned the special session sine die after quickly passing versions of all three bills […]

While the West Virginia Senate approved three bills during the special legislative session, the House is leaving one measure for the December interim meetings.

The Senate adjourned the special session sine die after quickly passing versions of all three bills without substantial debates.

Lawmakers approved legislation to limit DUI expungement procedures to be in compliance with federal regulations.

Additionally, legislation approved limits spending authority for debt service payments for the second and third rounds of the general obligation bonds.

However, the House placed Senate Bill 2001 on second reading, which extends tax credits for tourism development projects through December 2025.

The House adjourned until asked to come back.

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November 21, 2019 •

Oregon Lawmakers Consider Capping Campaign Contributions

Oregon State Capitol Building

At a meeting of the Senate Campaign Finance Committee, Sen. Jeff Golden proposed new regulations that would place ceilings on the amount of money individuals and various types of political committees could give to candidates, campaigns, and one another. Oregon […]

At a meeting of the Senate Campaign Finance Committee, Sen. Jeff Golden proposed new regulations that would place ceilings on the amount of money individuals and various types of political committees could give to candidates, campaigns, and one another.

Oregon is currently one of only a few states that has no campaign contribution limits.

Under this new proposal, individual donors would be limited to giving $2,000 per election for statewide races and $750 per election for House and Senate races.

Those same restrictions would apply to candidates contributing to other campaigns and multi-candidate committees, which would be similar to current special-interest PACs.

State political parties and committees associated with party members in the House or Senate could contribute up to $40,000 per election to statewide candidates and $15,000 per election to legislative candidates.

The same limits would also be applied to new small-donor committees. In exchange for being able to donate larger sums, those committees could only support a single candidate for a single election.

The committees could accept no more than $200 per election from individuals and many PACs.

In November 2020, Oregon voters will decide whether to modify the state’s constitution to explicitly allow campaign finance limits.

The Oregon Supreme Court is also considering whether to overturn a two-decade-old decision that struck down the state’s voter-approved campaign finance limits.

The court is considering the constitutionality of a 2016 ordinance passed by Multnomah County voters that places a $500 per person limit on campaign donations.

Given all that, lawmakers hope to have a framework ready should the legal landscape shift.

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November 21, 2019 •

Alaska Governor Chooses Candidate to Fill Vacant House Seat

Alaska State Capitol Buildling - Jay Galvin

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced that Melvin Gillis has been selected to fill the vacant South Anchorage state House of Representatives District 25 seat. The seat became vacant when Josh Revak was confirmed to the Senate seat that was held by […]

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced that Melvin Gillis has been selected to fill the vacant South Anchorage state House of Representatives District 25 seat.

The seat became vacant when Josh Revak was confirmed to the Senate seat that was held by Sen. Chris Birch, who passed away in August.

Gillis was one of three candidates picked by local party officials.

House Republicans will have to approve the appointment.

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November 21, 2019 •

D.C. Council Aims to Tighten Loopholes in Subcontracting Law

Washington D.C. City Hall

The D.C. Council introduced a procurement bill designed to improve compliance with a district law that requires companies with large public contracts to subcontract some work to small local businesses. B23-0545 is aimed at closing loopholes to prevent program abuse […]

The D.C. Council introduced a procurement bill designed to improve compliance with a district law that requires companies with large public contracts to subcontract some work to small local businesses.

B23-0545 is aimed at closing loopholes to prevent program abuse and manipulation.

The bill would prohibit contractors from subcontracting work to companies in which they have an ownership stake to fulfill the law’s requirements.

Businesses applying to be considered local would be required to certify under penalty of perjury that the information they provide is correct.

The bill would also require more evidence from businesses that they are local, create a tip line for reporting violations, and increase the frequency of site inspections.

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November 19, 2019 •

Kentucky Governor Sets Date for Special Election

The Kentucky State Capitol building

Gov. Matt Bevin executed a writ of election to fill the vacant Senate 38th District seat. The special election will be held on Tuesday, January 14, 2020. The seat became vacant after Sen. Dan Seum resigned effective November 16.

Gov. Matt Bevin executed a writ of election to fill the vacant Senate 38th District seat.

The special election will be held on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

The seat became vacant after Sen. Dan Seum resigned effective November 16.

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November 19, 2019 •

North Carolina Lawmakers Redraw State’s Congressional Map

A replacement map for North Carolina’s congressional districts was finalized with new lines drawn to address alleged extreme partisan bias. The map was redrawn after state judges blocked lines drawn in 2016 from being used next year. The judges ruled […]

A replacement map for North Carolina’s congressional districts was finalized with new lines drawn to address alleged extreme partisan bias.

The map was redrawn after state judges blocked lines drawn in 2016 from being used next year.

The judges ruled there was enough evidence of partisan gerrymandering to make it likely that the 2016 map violated the state constitution.

The voters whose legal challenge led to the new map went to court immediately to oppose the newly drawn map.

However, the North Carolina Supreme Court refused to fast-track the redistricting appeal.

Without a bypass to the state Supreme Court, any appeal would have resulted in a lengthy process that would likely not have been resolved until the 2020 elections were over, making a ruling largely moot.

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