March 18, 2020 •

Hawaii Ethics Commission Postpones March 19 Administrative Rule Hearing

Honolulu Skyline - Chris Dickey

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Hawaii State Ethics Commission has postponed its public hearing on proposed administrative rules concerning amendments to state lobbying and gift laws scheduled for March 19. While a new date has not been established, the ethics […]

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Hawaii State Ethics Commission has postponed its public hearing on proposed administrative rules concerning amendments to state lobbying and gift laws scheduled for March 19.

While a new date has not been established, the ethics commission indicated the public hearing will likely take place in early May.

The proposals include:

    • Clarifications as to what activities constitute lobbying
    • Exclusions from lobbyist registration requirements
    • Requirements that expenditures be reported on an accrual rather than cash basis

Additionally, the proposals amend prohibitions on certain kinds of gifts, valuation of gifts, and gift disclosure statements.

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January 28, 2020 •

Progress Michigan Seeking to Amend State Constitution to Ban Lobbyist Gifts, etc.

Michigan Capitol Building

Michigan State Capitol - By Brian Charles Watson

Progress Michigan is seeking to amend the state constitution to Ban lobbyists and their clients from giving gifts, including meals, drinks, and trips, to public officials Require lobbyists and public officials to make a public record of their phone calls, […]

Progress Michigan is seeking to amend the state constitution to

    • Ban lobbyists and their clients from giving gifts, including meals, drinks, and trips, to public officials
    • Require lobbyists and public officials to make a public record of their phone calls, meetings, and other communications with each other
    • Require a two-year cooling off period before public officials could become lobbyists
    • Ban contingency pay for lobbyists

Progress Michigan is part of the Coalition to Close Lansing Loopholes, which filed proposed language with the state for the November 2020 ballot.

A constitutional amendment requires the group to collect signatures of registered voters equal to at least 10% of the number of votes cast for all candidates in the last gubernatorial election, or at least 425,055 valid signatures by July 6.

The group is seeking a constitutional amendment, rather than a legislative initiative, which requires fewer signatures, to prevent the Legislature from amending the proposal.

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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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January 20, 2020 •

Missouri Introduces Joint Resolution to Ban Lobbyist Gifts

Missouri Capitol Building

Sen. Dan Hegeman, a Republican from Cosby, is sponsoring a Joint Resolution for a constitutional amendment which would ban all gifts from lobbyists or lobbyist principals. Additionally, the bill will reduce contributions made to or accepted by any candidate or […]

Sen. Dan Hegeman, a Republican from Cosby, is sponsoring a Joint Resolution for a constitutional amendment which would ban all gifts from lobbyists or lobbyist principals.

Additionally, the bill will reduce contributions made to or accepted by any candidate or committee from $2,500 to $2,000.

The proposed constitutional amendment also repeals the redistricting system approved by voters in 2018 through Amendment 1.

If passed, the proposed amendment would be voted on by the state on November 3, or at a special election to be called by the governor for that purpose.

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May 20, 2019 •

Missouri Legislature Adjourns Sine Die

Missouri Capitol Building

The first regular session of the 100th General Assembly adjourned May 17 at 6 p.m. after four months in session. Several lobbying bills were introduced, including House Joint Resolution 48 which made its way to the Senate Fiscal Oversight Committee. […]

The first regular session of the 100th General Assembly adjourned May 17 at 6 p.m. after four months in session.

Several lobbying bills were introduced, including House Joint Resolution 48 which made its way to the Senate Fiscal Oversight Committee.

The committee voted do not pass on May 13. The bill would have banned all lobbyist gifts to lawmakers instead of the current $5 maximum limit.

Similarly, House Bill 1199 was introduced to amend the definition of a lobbyist principal to add an entity with authority to direct the lobbyists’ activities. The bill made its way through the Legislative Oversight Committee but did not pass either chamber.

The General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene on January 15, 2020.

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April 30, 2019 •

Iowa Legislature Adjourns After Overhauling Disclosure and Filing Requirements

Iowa Capitol Building

The Iowa Legislature adjourned sine die April 27 after a 104 day session.

In addition to legalizing sports betting and instituting limits on local government property taxes, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill to modify disclosure requirements for gifts or bequests to the state.

House File 393 requires the governor and executive departments to file the gift report electronically with the Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board if receiving a gift or bequest on behalf of the state of over $50.

The bill removes filing requirements with the General Assembly and for any gift less than $50.

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April 18, 2019 •

Ethics Bill Progressing In North Dakota Legislature

The North Dakota Senate approved House Bill 1521 on Wednesday, April 17.

The bill would implement the state’s new ethics rules established by the voter’s passage of Measure 1 last year.

House Bill 1521 prohibits a lobbyist from giving, offering, soliciting, initiating, or facilitating a gift over $60 to a public official.

A lobbyist will also be required to file a report with the secretary of state if they spend more than $200 on lobbying.

The bill has been returned to the House for consideration before the end of the legislative session on April 26.

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April 10, 2019 •

Kentucky Governor Signs House Bill 81

Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 81 on April 9. The bill expands and updates the definitions of officer and public servant. House Bill 81 also defines salaried for the purposes of gift restrictions. The bill becomes effective June 28. […]

Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 81 on April 9.

The bill expands and updates the definitions of officer and public servant. House Bill 81 also defines salaried for the purposes of gift restrictions. The bill becomes effective June 28.

Gov. Bevin also vetoed House Bill 358 aimed at providing pension relief for Kentucky’s quasi-governmental entities.

He announced that an extraordinary session will be called prior to July 1.

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February 25, 2019 •

NYCU Video Digest – February 25, 2019

New Gift Laws, Campaign Finance, Elections and Ethics; four stories from around the country you don’t want to miss!  

New Gift Laws, Campaign Finance, Elections and Ethics; four stories from around the country you don’t want to miss!

 

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February 20, 2019 •

Arkansas Ethics Commission Clarifies Gift Exception in Advisory Opinion

The Arkansas Ethics Commission clarified a gift exception in Advisory Opinion No. 2019-EC-001. A local lobbying firm wants to hold a 20th anniversary event and invite public officials. In turn, the firm requested more information regarding the exception permitting anything […]

The Arkansas Ethics Commission clarified a gift exception in Advisory Opinion No. 2019-EC-001.

A local lobbying firm wants to hold a 20th anniversary event and invite public officials. In turn, the firm requested more information regarding the exception permitting anything to be given to public officials if it is also readily available to the general public.

The commission stated the exception does not apply to an event where invitations are issued to friends, family members, clients, former clients, and business associates only.

In order for an event to be readily available to the general public, the general public would have to be made aware of the event’s existence.

For the event to qualify for the gift exception, an entity could make an announcement of the event on widely-used social media platforms and through traditional media, such as a state-wide newspaper, to make sure the general public knows the event is not limited to invitees.

Additionally, holding an event at a venue open to the public, like a park or convention center, would help meet the gift exception.

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February 6, 2019 •

PA Senate Introduces Bills on Political Contributions and Gift Disclosure

The state Senate introduced two bills amending political contributions and gift disclosure. Senate Bill 215 limits political contributions from contractors to a candidate to $2,400 per election and contributions to a business entity or political action committee supporting a candidate […]

The state Senate introduced two bills amending political contributions and gift disclosure.

Senate Bill 215 limits political contributions from contractors to a candidate to $2,400 per election and contributions to a business entity or political action committee supporting a candidate to $5,000 per election.

In addition, the state Senate also introduced Senate Bill 216 requiring public officials to disclose gifts from a friend with a value of $250 or more.

If passed, both bills would go into effect within 60 days.

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January 22, 2019 •

Arizona Bill Regarding Lobbyist Gifts and Reporting Introduced

Rep. John Kavanagh introduced House Bill 2038 to the Arizona Legislature. The bill defines “hosted event” to include an event or function where one or more state officers or employees are invited and attend organized and paid for by a […]

Rep. John Kavanagh introduced House Bill 2038 to the Arizona Legislature.

The bill defines “hosted event” to include an event or function where one or more state officers or employees are invited and attend organized and paid for by a principal.

Event or function includes a party, dinner, or luncheon, but does not include an athletic event or other entertainment.

A hosted event must be reported by the actual cost incurred for food, beverage, and other tangible benefits but do not include the overall sponsorship amount incurred by the principal or lobbyist.

Opponents to the bill say only reporting the food and beverage amount and not including the price of the ticket to the event is misleading.

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November 21, 2018 •

Missouri Gov. revises ethics order, brings back lobbyist ban

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed an executive order superseding an ethics policy implemented by his predecessor, former Gov. Eric Greitens. Greitens’ first act as governor in 2017 was to issue Executive Order 17-02, banning executive branch employees from accepting lobbyist gifts […]

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed an executive order superseding an ethics policy implemented by his predecessor, former Gov. Eric Greitens.

Greitens’ first act as governor in 2017 was to issue Executive Order 17-02, banning executive branch employees from accepting lobbyist gifts and prohibiting governor’s office personnel from lobbying the executive branch if they leave their jobs.

Parson’s Executive Order 18-10 now bans employees of the Office of the Governor from acting as an executive lobbyist until the end of the administration in which he or she served.

The order also alters what gifts executive branch employees are banned from accepting from lobbyists, opening the door for “educational” materials such as books and souvenirs valued at less than $10.

The executive order became effective as of November 20, 2018, when it was signed.

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November 19, 2018 •

FPPC Approves Cost of Living Adjustments for Gift Limits

On November 15, the California Fair Political Practices Commission approved proposed regulations to make biennial cost of living adjustments to campaign contribution and gift limits that will apply from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020. The proposed regulations would […]

On November 15, the California Fair Political Practices Commission approved proposed regulations to make biennial cost of living adjustments to campaign contribution and gift limits that will apply from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020.

The proposed regulations would change the gift limit from $470 to $500 and make increases to campaign contribution limits for candidates.

Adjusted contribution limits for gubernatorial candidates would increase from $29,200 to $31,000.

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