January 20, 2020 •

Baltimore City Council President Seeks to Close Lobbyist Gift Loophole

Baltimore City Hall

City Council President Brandon Scott introduced a proposed ordinance in an attempt to close a loophole regarding gifts to elected officials from lobbyists and persons doing business with the city. Council Bill 20-0483 will prohibit elected officials and their staff […]

City Council President Brandon Scott introduced a proposed ordinance in an attempt to close a loophole regarding gifts to elected officials from lobbyists and persons doing business with the city.

Council Bill 20-0483 will prohibit elected officials and their staff from accepting gifts from not only anyone they know to be a lobbyist, but also anyone they reasonably should know to be a lobbyist.

Like current gift restrictions, this prohibition will also extend to those doing business with the city, engaging in regulated activity, or having a financial interest in the performance of an elected official’s duties.

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October 15, 2019 •

Baltimore City Ethics Board Implements Online Lobbying System

In 2018, the Baltimore City Council enacted the Transparency in Lobbying Act requiring lobbyists to file reports twice a year and affirmatively identify their clients when approaching city government officials. The effective date of the act was contingent on a […]

In 2018, the Baltimore City Council enacted the Transparency in Lobbying Act requiring lobbyists to file reports twice a year and affirmatively identify their clients when approaching city government officials.

The effective date of the act was contingent on a viable online reporting system being implemented.

The Baltimore City Ethics Board has implemented the online lobbying reporting system.

Lobbyist registrations and reports can now be filed electronically.

The next year-end report is due on or before January 31, 2020, covering all of the reporting period immediately preceding January 1 through December 31, 2019.

The ethics board has advised persons that previously filed paper registration statements to submit the year-end report on paper and not electronically.

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December 4, 2018 •

Baltimore Lobbying Bill Becomes Law without Mayor’s Signature

On October 15, 2018, the Baltimore City Council passed an ethics bill introduced by City Councilman Zeke Cohen. Ordinance No. 18-0230, also known as the Transparency in Lobbying Act, became law without the mayor’s signature on December 3, 2018. The […]

On October 15, 2018, the Baltimore City Council passed an ethics bill introduced by City Councilman Zeke Cohen.

Ordinance No. 18-0230, also known as the Transparency in Lobbying Act, became law without the mayor’s signature on December 3, 2018.

The ordinance requires lobbyists to file reports twice a year and affirmatively identify their clients when approaching city government officials. Additionally, any lobbyist violating the act may be banned for a period of three years.

An amendment was adopted delaying the effective date of the reporting provisions. As a result, lobbyists will file the annual report due January 31, 2019.

Following the 2019 annual report, lobbyists will likely report semi-annually beginning with a report due on July 31, 2019.

The bill will be effective March 3, 2019, while the section impacting reporting requirements will be effective March 3, 2019, or 30 days from a viable online reporting system being implemented, whichever is later.

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October 24, 2018 •

Baltimore City Council Passes Lobbying Act

On October 15, 2018, the Baltimore City Council passed an ethics bill introduced by City Councilman Zeke Cohen. Ordinance No. 18-0230, also known as the Transparency in Lobbying Act, requires lobbyists to file reports twice a year and affirmatively identify […]

On October 15, 2018, the Baltimore City Council passed an ethics bill introduced by City Councilman Zeke Cohen.

Ordinance No. 18-0230, also known as the Transparency in Lobbying Act, requires lobbyists to file reports twice a year and affirmatively identify their clients when approaching city government officials. Additionally, any lobbyist violating the act may be banned for a period of three years.

An amendment was adopted delaying the effective date of the reporting provisions. As a result, lobbyists will file the annual report due January 31, 2019.

Following the 2019 annual report, lobbyists will likely report semi-annually beginning with a report due on July 31, 2019. The bill will become effective 90 days from the signature of Mayor Catherine Pugh.

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August 24, 2018 •

Baltimore Ethics Bill Amended

In April, City Councilman Zeke Cohen introduced an ordinance amending the Baltimore City Ethics Code. Ordinance No. 18-0230 originally required lobbyists to file reports quarterly instead of annually. At a work session for the bill, the reporting period was amended […]

In April, City Councilman Zeke Cohen introduced an ordinance amending the Baltimore City Ethics Code.

Ordinance No. 18-0230 originally required lobbyists to file reports quarterly instead of annually.

At a work session for the bill, the reporting period was amended from quarterly to semi-annual reporting.

The bill was also amended to require a working online portal by June 1, 2019.

If passed, the ordinance will become effective 30 days after it is enacted.

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April 23, 2018 •

Baltimore City Ethics Ordinance Introduced

City Councilman Zeke Cohen introduced an ordinance amending the Baltimore City Ethics Code. Ordinance No. 18-0230 requires lobbyists to file reports quarterly instead of annually. Additionally, the ordinance obligates lobbyists to affirmatively identify themselves as a lobbyist and the person […]

City Councilman Zeke Cohen introduced an ordinance amending the Baltimore City Ethics Code.

Ordinance No. 18-0230 requires lobbyists to file reports quarterly instead of annually. Additionally, the ordinance obligates lobbyists to affirmatively identify themselves as a lobbyist and the person on whose behalf they are lobbying to a public servant.

If passed, the ordinance will become effective 30 days after it is enacted.

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February 6, 2018 •

Baltimore County, Maryland Lobbyist Trainings Scheduled

Last year, County Exec. Kevin Kamenetz signed Bill No. 35-17 into law. The bill requires registered lobbyists to complete ethics training within the first six months of registration and once a year thereafter. Training sessions have been scheduled at 9:30 […]

Last year, County Exec. Kevin Kamenetz signed Bill No. 35-17 into law.

The bill requires registered lobbyists to complete ethics training within the first six months of registration and once a year thereafter.

Training sessions have been scheduled at 9:30 a.m. on February 8 and June 4. Registration for the either training is available at the baltimore county website.

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October 30, 2017 •

Court Gives City Wide Berth in Letting Non-Compliant Offerors Revise Forms

In United Healthcare Services, Inc. v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, United Healthcare Services, Inc. (United) was not awarded the city of Baltimore’s Request for Proposal (RFP) for medical administration services despite being fully compliant with listed Minority Business […]

In United Healthcare Services, Inc. v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, United Healthcare Services, Inc. (United) was not awarded the city of Baltimore’s Request for Proposal (RFP) for medical administration services despite being fully compliant with listed Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) and Women Business Enterprises (WBE) goals.

The companies awarded the contract did not comply with the requested MBE and WBE set at 11 percent and 4 percent respectively. After United complained, the city allowed the selected offerors to revise their MBE and WBE forms.

United filed suit against the city alleging violations of Baltimore’s procurement laws. The court found the city “is generally given a wide berth in making its decisions,” and United cannot point to a provision in the City Code the city clearly violated.

Additionally, the City Code only requires bidders make a “good faith effort” to be in compliance with the RFP and “the City has more expertise interpreting the City Code, and its own rules, than the Court.”

In turn, United failed to establish it would be likely to succeed on the merits.

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July 19, 2017 •

Baltimore County Lobbyists Must Complete Ethics Training

Bill No. 35-17 was signed by County Exec. Kevin Kamenetz on July 12, 2017. Effective August 26, 2017, registered lobbyists will be required to complete ethics training within the first six months of registration and once a year thereafter. The […]

Bill No. 35-17 was signed by County Exec. Kevin Kamenetz on July 12, 2017.

Effective August 26, 2017, registered lobbyists will be required to complete ethics training within the first six months of registration and once a year thereafter. The training may be completed in person or online.

The Ethics Commission has yet to develop the training and will have more information available later this year.

The final version of the bill will be available after the County Council’s meeting on August 7, 2017. The current version of the bill, with an incorrect effective date, is available.

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July 5, 2017 •

Baltimore County Council Passes Lobbyist Training Requirement

The Baltimore County Council passed an ethics bill requiring training for certain county government officials and registered lobbyists. The bill requires the Ethics Commission to provide a training course for registered lobbyists at least twice a year. A registered lobbyist […]

The Baltimore County Council passed an ethics bill requiring training for certain county government officials and registered lobbyists.

The bill requires the Ethics Commission to provide a training course for registered lobbyists at least twice a year. A registered lobbyist will be required to complete the initial training course within six months of registration, and once each year thereafter. The bill allows the training to be in-person or online.

According to the County Charter, the bill must be presented to County Exec. Kevin Kamenetz within two days and he has 10 days to approve or disapprove the legislation. If approved by Kamenetz, the bill will become effective on July 17, 2017.

Read the bill here.

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November 1, 2016 •

Transparency Bill Heads to Baltimore, MD City Council

A bill introduced in 2015 is finally advancing to the full City Council. If passed, Bill 15-0568 would require Baltimore’s Finance Department to post on its website a searchable list of all entities doing business with the city by February […]

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A bill introduced in 2015 is finally advancing to the full City Council.

If passed, Bill 15-0568 would require Baltimore’s Finance Department to post on its website a searchable list of all entities doing business with the city by February 1 of each year. Similarly, the bill would require the Ethics Board to post on its website a searchable list of all lobbyists by February 1 of each year.

The bill will likely be voted on by City Council on November 14, 2016.

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