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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January 28, 2020 •

Washington Bill Aims to End Appearance of Lobbying Impropriety

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Washington State Capitol Building - Cacophony

Washington lawmakers have reintroduced a bill to impose a two year cooling off period to slow a revolving door of state officials and employees becoming lobbyists when they leave state employment. House Bill 1067 is intended to reduce the perception […]

Washington lawmakers have reintroduced a bill to impose a two year cooling off period to slow a revolving door of state officials and employees becoming lobbyists when they leave state employment.

House Bill 1067 is intended to reduce the perception of lobbyist impropriety.

The House Committee on State Government and Tribal Relations passed the bill out of committee.

The bill needs to pass the Rules Committee before getting a vote of the full House.

The State Government and Tribal Relations Committee passed the legislation during the last session, but the bill stalled.

The legislation would apply to state officers and employees who are employed by the state on or after July 1, 2021.

A companion bill, Senate Bill 5033, is moving through the Senate and passed to the Rules Committee.

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January 23, 2020 •

Los Angeles Repeals Requirements for Contractors to Reveal NRA Ties

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Los Angeles City Hall - Michael J Fromholtz

The Los Angeles City Council is repealing a law requiring companies seeking city contracts to disclose any ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA). This comes weeks after a federal judge blocked the city from enforcing the ordinance. Council members […]

The Los Angeles City Council is repealing a law requiring companies seeking city contracts to disclose any ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA).

This comes weeks after a federal judge blocked the city from enforcing the ordinance.

Council members unanimously voted 12-0 without discussion to repeal the ordinance.

The law required companies vying for city contracts to disclose contracts or sponsorship’s between them or their subsidiaries and the NRA.

In December, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson issued a preliminary injunction preventing the law from being enforced.

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January 21, 2020 •

Anaheim Updates Lobbyist Forms

The Office of the City Clerk updated their lobbyist forms and combined the Lobbyist Registration, Amendment, and Notice of Termination forms into one new form called the Lobbyist Form. The registration fee of $100 is due with submission of the […]

The Office of the City Clerk updated their lobbyist forms and combined the Lobbyist Registration, Amendment, and Notice of Termination forms into one new form called the Lobbyist Form.

The registration fee of $100 is due with submission of the new Lobbyist Form.

Also updated were the Lobbying Guide and the Lobbyist Quarterly Report of Activity Form.

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January 21, 2020 •

Idaho Lawmaker Unanimously Expelled from House

Idaho Capitol Building - JSquish

The Idaho House of Representatives voted unanimously to expel Rep. John Green, a day after a Texas federal jury convicted him of a felony. Rep. Green refused to resign from Seat B of House District 2 following a guilty verdict. […]

The Idaho House of Representatives voted unanimously to expel Rep. John Green, a day after a Texas federal jury convicted him of a felony.

Rep. Green refused to resign from Seat B of House District 2 following a guilty verdict.

The Idaho Attorney General’s Office sent House Speaker Scott Bedke a letter stating based on a review of the Idaho Constitution and state law, under the felony conviction, Green has lost his qualifications for office.

It was also noted in the letter the House is the judge of the qualifications of its own members.

Expelling a House member requires a two-thirds vote of the 70-member body.

With no debate, comment, or discussion the House voted 65-0 to expel Green.

It is the first time a lawmaker has been expelled from the Idaho Legislature.

Gov. Brad Little nominated Tim Kastning to serve as acting state representative during Green’s temporary absence for the trial.

The District 2 Republican Party now has 15 days to present three possible candidates to forward to the governor to choose a replacement.

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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

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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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