November 1, 2017 •

Donuts and Cider and Costumes – Oh My!

State and Federal Communications has a year-round commitment to supporting the United Way of Summit County. This includes taking part in the annual campaign, Read to Me days, and the Day of Action. But, everyone’s favorite is the office’s annual […]

State and Federal Communications has a year-round commitment to supporting the United Way of Summit County. This includes taking part in the annual campaign, Read to Me days, and the Day of Action. But, everyone’s favorite is the office’s annual Halloween Donut and Cider sale and “pay-to-play” costume event. Not only is the event great fun, but all proceeds go to the United Way.

This year’s Halloween Donut and Cider sale was another resounding success, with 58 dozen donuts and 20 gallons of cider sold. Joe May, corporate social responsibility manager, says the sale “gets bigger and bigger every year.”

The staff delivered imaginative costumes as well as tasty treats. We were treated with visits from Kylo Ren, the friendly Starbucks barista, a flowery Snapchat filter, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, among many others. Elizabeth Bartz, our president and CEO, and Joe Vegas, with his sharp silver jacket, just shined with joy at how much we helped the United Way yesterday.

Here’s a glimpse of the office fun yesterday:

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October 4, 2017 •

Will your grassroots advocacy work trigger reporting requirements?

Does your advocacy work include grassroots lobbying? Do you know what actions are considered grassroots lobbying? Generally, Grassroots Lobbying is defined as the act of encouraging the public to contact lawmakers and administrative officials for the purpose of influencing legislation […]

Does your advocacy work include grassroots lobbying? Do you know what actions are considered grassroots lobbying?

Generally, Grassroots Lobbying is defined as the act of encouraging the public to contact lawmakers and administrative officials for the purpose of influencing legislation or other official action.

These actions may trigger registration requirements.  And if your organization already has registered lobbyists, these actions may have to be reported.

State and Federal Communications is here to help you. Our newest tip sheet on Grassroots Lobbying will provide you with guidance on how to ensure you can stay compliant with all your grassroots advocacy efforts.

This tip sheet will provide you with the key information to keep in mind as you begin your efforts, including knowing what activities trigger registration and when you have to register.

Click here to get this FREE tip sheet today – and ensure you and your team can say “I Comply!”

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March 2, 2017 •

Going to the National PAC Conference? So are we!

We can’t wait to see everyone at the Public Affairs Council National PAC Conference. If you’ll be attending, come on by and say hello at our Resource Marketplace booth.

We can’t wait to see everyone at the Public Affairs Council National PAC Conference. If you’ll be attending, come on by and say hello at our Resource Marketplace booth.

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January 12, 2017 •

The Guidebooks Are on Their Way!

We are sending out the 2017 Compliance Laws Guidebook for Government Relations Professionals ™ today! Our clients rave about this handy resource. Keep an eye out for this value-added benefit. If you would like to know more about the guidebook […]

We are sending out the 2017 Compliance Laws Guidebook for Government Relations Professionals ™ today! Our clients rave about this handy resource. Keep an eye out for this value-added benefit.

2017 Guidebooks collage

If you would like to know more about the guidebook and our online compliance publications, contact us at marketing@stateandfed.com.

 

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November 8, 2016 •

Elizabeth Bartz Appearing at PWIA Conference

Elizabeth Bartz has seen it all. For 32 years, she has worked with corporations, trade associations, and professional firms to help them stay on top of the changes made to lobbying, political contributions, and procurement lobbying laws. Now she will […]

eb-20150529-state-0104Elizabeth Bartz has seen it all. For 32 years, she has worked with corporations, trade associations, and professional firms to help them stay on top of the changes made to lobbying, political contributions, and procurement lobbying laws.

Now she will share her experiences and insights with attendees at the Professional Women in Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C., on November 10 in the session “Been There, Done That: Words of Wisdom.”

A crowd favorite of the conference, this panel features women in senior government and public policy positions discussing their experiences in this arena.

This is the third year Elizabeth will be taking part in this panel. Joining her this year are Gloria Dittus, founder of Story Partners; Helen Holton, Baltimore City Council member; and former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.

PWIA aims to provide training and networking opportunities to women in all areas of advocacy – from government relations to community activism.

“This conference will give women the opportunity to learn and network with other advocacy professionals, providing them with the tools they need to get a seat at the table and keep it,” Elizabeth said. “Through PWIA, all public policy professionals will learn to be better advocates for themselves and their organizations.”

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October 14, 2016 •

Do You Have Questions about Pay-to-Play and the Procurement Process?

Most of us have an idea of what lobbying is, but as states expand the definitions of lobbying, more activities may now trigger registration and reporting requirements. And, as states tighten political contribution rules, more and more contractors may run […]

Most of us have an idea of what lobbying is, but as states expand the definitions of lobbying, more activities may now trigger registration and reporting requirements. And, as states tighten political contribution rules, more and more contractors may run into problems because of pay-to-play laws. But in order to comply with the rules, you need to know the rules.

Nola WerrenState and Federal Communications is taking part in two events over the next few weeks looking specifically at these issues. This fall our Compliance Client Specialist Nola Werren, Esq., will present “Compliance: Pay-to-Play and Procurement Lobbying Process” at events with the Public Affairs Council and WASRG, the Washington Area State Relations Group.

As an expert in the field, Nola will share her knowledge and experiences during a Public Affairs Council webinar and at the annual WASRG Symposium. Topics she will cover include the procurement process; lobbying requirements in the states, including best practices to ensure compliance; and pay-to-play laws. It is this area of pay-to-play, the nexus between making a contribution and the award of a contract, that can have far-reaching consequences for a business.

The Public Affairs Council’s webinar will be held on October 27th and is entitled “Compliance: State-Level Laws and Recent Trends.” The WASRG Annual Symposium begins at noon on November 2nd at Carmine’s at 425 7th Street NW in Washington, DC.

Make sure you keep checking in with State and Federal Communications, Inc. We are your #1 resource on government relations compliance.

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September 26, 2016 •

Voting is a Right and a Responsibility

Voting is one of the most basic civil actions Americans can take. Our ability to vote in an election is a right we should not take for granted, but too often many do. It is a privilege that comes with […]

flagVoting is one of the most basic civil actions Americans can take. Our ability to vote in an election is a right we should not take for granted, but too often many do. It is a privilege that comes with responsibility. With our votes, we shape the future of our country.

September 27, 2016, is National Voter Registration Day. On this day, volunteers and organizations will be out in force in order to reach out to thousands of voters and citizens about the importance of voting and helping people register to vote. So check out the National Voter Registration Day website and see how you can help other citizens register.

But the effort to Get Out the Vote doesn’t end with National Voter Registration Day. Here are some more ways you can help:

  • Make sure your registration record is up-to-date. If you moved recently, have you updated your record?
  • Know where your polling location is. Has it been moved due to building closings or expected crowds?
  • Help someone get to the polls on Election Day. Many people want to vote, but have trouble getting to the polling locations. Do you know someone who could use a lift?
  • If your jurisdiction has early in-person voting, help someone get there to vote early.
  • Help someone request an absentee ballot when it is not possible for them to make it to polls. And help them make sure it is mailed in time to count.
  • Work the polls. Help other voters exercise their rights.
  • Spread the word about voting importance on social media. The more people talk about it, the more people will know about it.

For more information on registering and voting, check out the National Voter Registration Day website.

And always remember to find out the answers to these questions:

  • By when do you have to register?
  • By when do you have to request an absentee ballot?
  • Is there early in-person voting, and if so, where?
  • When do the polls open and close?
  • What candidates and issues are on the ballot?

The answers can be found on the website of your secretary of state’s office and local elections office.

#KeepUSstrong! #VoterRegistrationDay

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September 2, 2016 •

Most Trusted Online Publications on Government Relations Compliance

We had an amazing experience at the 2016 NCSL Legislative Summit. Our team offered immediate, up-to-date knowledge to clients throughout the week. You can benefit from the same expertise. We are always available to answer questions. Contact us today at […]

NCSL Group_lr

We had an amazing experience at the 2016 NCSL Legislative Summit. Our team offered immediate, up-to-date knowledge to clients throughout the week.

You can benefit from the same expertise. We are always available to answer questions. Contact us today at info@stateandfed.com.

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June 29, 2016 •

State and Federal Communications Giving Back: Mitzvah Day and Project Linus

One of the benefits of working for State and Federal Communications is the availability of Charitable Service Hours. These hours are provided by the company so employees can volunteer in the community and help out on various service projects. This […]

Mitzvah Day--Stack of clothOne of the benefits of working for State and Federal Communications is the availability of Charitable Service Hours. These hours are provided by the company so employees can volunteer in the community and help out on various service projects.

This year I used my hours to work on a project for Mitzvah Day. Mitzvah Day Akron is a day devoted to helping various groups in the area. Started by Temple Israel in 2002, it has become a community service day involving many faith-based and secular organizations. In 2016, 14 organizations participated in this day of caring and service.

The project I worked on is Project Linus, which makes no-sew fleece blankets for patients at Akron Children’s Hospital. This was my fourth year working on this project. This year I spent three days assisting the project leader, Ruth Huber, (full disclosure, we are related) in preparing for the work to be done on Mitzvah Day and in finishing the blankets and delivering them to Akron Children’s Hospital.

The first day of prep work was mostly spent buying the materials. While it may sound fun, it actually requires a large amount of time. Shopping took a good part of the day because we needed to go to multiple stores to find enough material in a variety of colors and patterns. We ended the day with enough material for more than 40 blankets.

Finalizing the volunteer lists, sending volunteers reminders, and handling administrative duties rounded out the day. Given my writing and computer skills, I was drafted to handle the emailing.

The second prep day was spent preparing the material for the volunteers. While we bought it cut to size, we still had to remove the selvage. On each piece of fleece there are two edges where you can see machine marks from when it was woven. That area along the edge has to be trimmed off before the blanket can be made. Also, any uneven edges have to be trimmed so each blanket starts with four straight edges. Trimming took almost all day, as there were over 80 edges to trim and only three of us working.

On Mitzvah Day, Project Linus had 10 volunteers who produced 39 blankets.

The final day of work took place after Mitzvah Day. We finished four blankets, sent thank-you notes to the volunteers, and delivered the blankets to Akron Children’s Hospital so they could be distributed to the children.

And then we did a final good deed. All of the selvages we were left with didn’t get thrown away. Instead, we cut the long pieces into shorter lengths and tied them together: instant kitten toys. These we delivered to Kitten Krazy, a nonprofit rescue shelter in Medina.

All told, the volunteers of Project Linus were able to make dozens of kids and kittens happy.

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May 31, 2016 •

Primer: Democratic Superdelegates

As the primaries come to an end, more and more is being heard about the superdelegates’ role in choosing the Democratic nominee. But what exactly are superdelegates? How did they become part of the nominating process? And what do they […]

superdelegateAs the primaries come to an end, more and more is being heard about the superdelegates’ role in choosing the Democratic nominee. But what exactly are superdelegates? How did they become part of the nominating process? And what do they mean in this year’s nominating process?

Simply put, superdelegates are unpledged delegates. They can be party leaders and elected officials or individuals who are selected by the party to attend the convention. These delegates, because they are unpledged, can give their votes to any candidate they choose, regardless of how their state voted.

Superdelegates became a part of the Democratic nominating process following the 1980 convention. At that convention Sen. Ted Kennedy had fought to win the nomination from President Jimmy Carter through rule changes. It was a contentious convention, with the fight focusing on Rule 11(H), which required delegates to support the candidate to which they were bound by the primary process. In order to avoid another convention fight, the rule was rewritten for the 1984 convention (and is still in effect today). Delegates pledged to a specific candidate are no longer be required to support the candidate; instead, they are strongly urged to support the candidate “in all good conscience.”

However, some party members were still worried about a convention fight even with the new rule. A plan was proposed to have a percentage of convention delegates be unpledged voting delegates. It was hoped such change would allow the party to respond to changing circumstances, to better address situations where the electorate hasn’t clearly chosen a candidate, and to include more elected officials in the convention voting without requiring them to declare for one candidate or another.

It was during this process when the term “superdelegate” was coined.

The final agreement allowed for 14 percent of convention delegates to be unpledged delegates and congressional delegates were to be chosen by the congressional caucuses in the House and Senate.

Today, superdelegates are no longer chosen by the caucuses, and the ratio of unpledged delegates to pledged delegates has changed with the addition of more unpledged delegates over the years.

In this year’s Democratic primary campaigns, superdelegates have been come an issue on the campaign trail. Because so many superdelegates have pledged early to support Hillary Clinton, her delegate numbers give her a huge lead over Bernie Sanders.

As of May 27, Clinton has 2,309 delegates to Sander’s 1,539. But when the superdelegates are removed from the count, Clinton has 1,769 pledged delegates to Sander’s 1,497. To win the nomination, the Democratic candidate needs a total of 2,383 delegate votes.

This year it appears the superdelegates will decide who the nominee will be. Because of the early and overwhelming majority of superdelegates pledging to Clinton, the delegate count has been showing Clinton with a huge lead over Sanders, when in fact the primary outcomes indicate a much closer race.

Many of Sanders’ supporters tried to convince superdelegates to refrain from pledging to a candidate too early. They felt that by pledging early, superdelegates were skewing the media coverage and perception of success in favor of one candidate over another. The media was treating Clinton as the presumptive candidate and providing more coverage of her campaign than of Sander’s campaign.

With this year’s Democratic primaries, superdelegates are going to be the deciding force. While some might say superdelegates are imposing the party’s candidate on the people, others will say superdelegates are fulfilling their intended role: to avoid a contested convention and ensure the nominee is able to enter the general election with a clear mandate and the firm support of the party.

Sources:

Andrews, Wilson; Bennett, Kitty; and Parlapiano, Alicia. 2016 Delegate County and Primary Results. The New York Times. May 27, 2016.

Kamarck, Elaine. A History of ‘Super-Delegates’ in the Democratic Party. February 14, 2008.

Strauss, Daniel. Sanders Supporters Revolt Against Superdelegates. Politico. Febraury 14, 2016.

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April 26, 2016 •

Canadian Senator Cleared of Bribery and Fraud Charges

Sen. Mike Duffy was cleared of 31 charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust on April 21, 2016. The charges stem from Duffy using Senate funds to pay for travel, housing in Ottawa, and other activities loosely tied to […]

Mike_DuffySen. Mike Duffy was cleared of 31 charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust on April 21, 2016. The charges stem from Duffy using Senate funds to pay for travel, housing in Ottawa, and other activities loosely tied to his work as a senator. He was also charged with soliciting a bribe from then-Prime Minster Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, in order to repay expenses ruled improper.

Following a 62-day trial, Ontario Court Justice Charles Vaillancourt dismissed 27 counts and found Duffy not guilty on the last four charges. In the 308-page decision, Vaillancourt found Duffy followed the rules of the Senate to the best of his ability, as the rules regarding legitimate expenses are vague.

Vaillancourt’s ruling also singled out Wright and other staff members in the Prime Minister’s Office for their behavior when dealing with the situation. Evidence, including emails, showed staff threatening, cajoling, and ultimately forcing Duffy to accept the money from Wright.

Had he been convicted, Duffy would have faced fines and jail time.

Photo of Sen. Mike Duffy by Ayelie on Wikimedia Commons.

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March 21, 2016 •

Primer: Contested Convention for the Republican Party

As the primaries wind down and the conventions draw closer, there is more and more discussion of the Republican convention being contested. But what is a contested convention? How does the Republican Party handle such an event? And what does […]

Megan Huber-KovachikAs the primaries wind down and the conventions draw closer, there is more and more discussion of the Republican convention being contested. But what is a contested convention? How does the Republican Party handle such an event? And what does it mean for the eventual nominee?

The Pew Research Center describes a contested convention occurring “when no candidate has amassed the majority of delegate votes needed to win his or her party’s nomination in advance of the convention. A candidate still might gather the delegates needed by the time balloting begins, in which case the nomination is settled on the first ballot. But should the first ballot not produce a nominee, most delegates become free to vote for whomever they wish, leading potentially to multiple ballots.”

Since the adoption of the modern primary system in the early 1970s, most presidential conventions have not been contested as one candidate usually won enough delegates to enter the convention as the presumptive nominee. But this year there is a possibility no Republican candidate will have the majority of delegates when the convention begins.

Under the rules of the Republican National Convention, “each candidate for nomination for President … shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight or more states” (including territories) before he or she is able to be on the convention’s first ballot. The balloting process ends when one candidate receives the majority of delegate votes. This year there are 2,472 delegates, so to secure the Republican nomination a candidate will need 1,237—one more vote than 50 percent. Simply having a plurality of delegates is not enough to become the Republican nominee.

Entering the convention, each candidate who ran in the primaries will have a dedicated number of delegates from each state based on his or her performance in that state. Candidates who fail to have the support of enough states or who dropped out will not be able to be on the first ballot.

For the first ballot, the majority of delegates are bound to a specific candidate based on the performance of the candidate in the delegate’s state due to convention rules and, in some cases, state law. Some states assign delegates based on percentage of votes won in the primary, while others are “winner take all.” About 5 percent of the delegates come to the convention free to vote for who they want. These delegates, which include state party leaders and delegates from states or territories electing to not hold a primary, are able to vote their preference on the first ballot. Delegates who were bound to candidates who do not appear on the first ballot may also become unbound for the first ballot.

If no candidate receives a majority vote on the first ballot, the second and subsequent ballots are open to all who wish to put forth their names. Delegates are progressively unbound until all of them are free to vote their personal preference. The balloting will continue until a nominee is chosen. But the more ballots that occur, the less likely the nominee will win in November.

A Pew Research Center study looking at presidential elections since the Civil War found that only seven candidates coming out of contested conventions with multiple ballots were elected president. However, four of those seven candidates had opponents who had also been elected through a contested convention requiring multiple ballots. The last time this occurred was in 1920 when Warren Harding, who required 10 ballots to secure the nomination, beat James Cox, who required 44 ballots to secure his nomination.

The last president to be elected after a contested convention and face a candidate from an uncontested convention was Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. Adlai Stevenson was the last candidate to require multiple ballots to win the party nomination.

Sources:

Call of the 2016 Republican National Convention, Republican National Committee, 11/30/15

Contested presidential conventions, and why parties try to avoid them, Drew DeSilver, Pew Research Center, 2/4/16

The Democratic Convention of 1924, Digital History (archived page)

An Extremely Detailed Guide to What the Heck Might Happen at a GOP Contested Convention, Josh Voorhees, Slate Magazine, 3/10/16

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January 13, 2016 •

New Jersey Legislative Session Adjourns

The state Legislature adjourned on Monday, January 11. Among the business handled the last day of the session was an amendment to the state constitution to change how redistricting is handled. Due to criticism and a lack of support, the […]

New Jersey State HouseThe state Legislature adjourned on Monday, January 11.

Among the business handled the last day of the session was an amendment to the state constitution to change how redistricting is handled. Due to criticism and a lack of support, the measure was pulled, with state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, who had sponsored the bill, promising the measure would be studied further and reintroduced in next legislative session.

The Legislature passed bills allowing counties to impose a hotel tax, to expand the state’s DNA database, and to require nonprofit hospitals to pay “community service assessments” to the counties in which they are located.

Bills concerning required sick leave for employees and required licensing and insurance for ride-share service drivers, like those who work for Uber or Lyft, expired at the end of the session.

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January 13, 2016 •

Ethics Bills Pass Missouri House Committee

Four ethics bills have passed out of the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee and now move to consideration by the entire House. These bills include banning statewide elected officials or legislators from working as political consultants while in office, […]

Missouri CapitolFour ethics bills have passed out of the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee and now move to consideration by the entire House.

These bills include banning statewide elected officials or legislators from working as political consultants while in office, creating a “cooling off” period of at least a full legislative session before elected officials or officials in jobs subject to Senate confirmation may work as lobbyists, requiring public officials to file semiannual reports detailing their personal finances, and reporting any out-of-state travel for official business when paid for by a third party.

Rep. Gina Mitten questioned the effectiveness of the revolving door bill during the committee hearing, asking if the cooling off period was long enough. She advocated having the measure cover legislative staff, requiring elected officials who leave office early to be prohibited from acting as lobbyists until the end of the term, and making the measure become effective as quickly as possible.

Hearings for bills regulating how to handle surplus campaign funds once an official leaves office and the banning of gifts from lobbyists have been delayed due to issues with the drafting of the bills. The committee will take those bills up next week.

Photo of the Missouri Capitol courtesy of RebelAt on Wikimedia Commons.

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