February 21, 2020 •

New Jersey Governor Proposes Ethics and Transparency Reforms

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

On February 19, Gov. Murphy released a legislative package of Ethics and Transparency Reforms.

The legislative package contains five bills with the aim to strengthen restrictions on lobbying, enhance financial disclosures, and increase public access.

The lobbying bill requires lobbying firms and companies to disclose when a person or firm is hired to provide professional services other than lobbying.

Additionally, the bill reduces the registration threshold from 20 hours of lobbying to one hour per calendar year.

The bill will prohibit legislators and their staff from accepting any gift related to their public duties.

Furthermore, the bill aligns the gift rules to the same standard currently governing executive branch employees.

The legislative package also extends the one-year cooling off period for the governor, cabinet, and legislators to two years before being able to register as lobbyists.

Gov. Murphy also introduced a bill to increase transparency and requires bills or resolutions not to be voted on unless their final form has been publicly available for 72 hours on the Legislature’s website.

The governor is also expected to issue other executive actions regarding requirements for those that do business with the state.

The bill proposals were sent to Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Coughlin for review.

April 6, 2020 •

California Legislature Extends Recess to May 4 Due to COVID-19 Concerns

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California State Capitol Building - Jeff Turner

The California Legislature pushed back a scheduled return to the legislative session by three weeks to give public health officials more time to deal with the coronavirus spreading through the state. The Legislature now is scheduled to reconvene on May […]

The California Legislature pushed back a scheduled return to the legislative session by three weeks to give public health officials more time to deal with the coronavirus spreading through the state.

The Legislature now is scheduled to reconvene on May 4.

Lawmakers had voted unanimously on March 16 to suspend its session until April 13.

The initial decision last month to suspend activities at the state Capitol was unprecedented in California history.

It came after legislators grappled for several days to balance public health concerns with the need for action to address the impact of the pandemic.

Both houses quickly passed a $1 billion relief plan on March 16 before putting a halt to all legislative business.

Whether a return in early May will be possible could depend on the state’s success or failure this month in slowing the rate of infection.

Early spring is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for the Legislature, with hundreds of bills considered by policy committees before receiving final votes in either of the two houses by May 31.

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April 6, 2020 •

Wisconsin Governor Issues Order to Delay Election

Wisconsin State Capitol Building

Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order to delay the state’s presidential primary from April 7 until June 9 because of the coronavirus pandemic. If Evers’ executive order holds, Wisconsin would become the 16th state to delay its election amid […]

Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order to delay the state’s presidential primary from April 7 until June 9 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

If Evers’ executive order holds, Wisconsin would become the 16th state to delay its election amid the pandemic.

Republicans are expected to immediately challenge the governor’s order in state court.

Evers had been reluctant to act due to concerns a postponement would be quickly overturned by the state Supreme Court and impact his authority to fight the pandemic.

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April 6, 2020 •

NY Lawmakers Enact State Budget With Campaign Finance Reform Provisions

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo - Shinya Suzuki

On April 3, Gov. Cuomo and lawmakers passed legislation to enact the state budget for the 2021 fiscal year. The enacted legislation includes provisions for campaign finance reform and nonprofit disclosures. Effective January 1, 2021, Senate Bill 7505 requires charitable […]

On April 3, Gov. Cuomo and lawmakers passed legislation to enact the state budget for the 2021 fiscal year.

The enacted legislation includes provisions for campaign finance reform and nonprofit disclosures.

Effective January 1, 2021, Senate Bill 7505 requires charitable organizations to file annual financial reports and funding disclosures with the Department of State to be published on their website for public transparency.

The governor also signed Senate Bill 7508 establishing a statewide public campaign financing system.

Senate Bill 7508 lowers contribution limits a candidate may accept while participating in the public funding system.

Under Senate Bill 7508, a candidate for statewide office may accept a contribution of $18,000 dollars in the aggregate.

The bill also sets contribution limits for state senators and assembly members to $10,000 and $6,000, respectively.

Contribution limits are divided equally among the primary and general election in an election cycle.

Senate Bill 7508 takes effect on November 9, 2022 and applies to participants in the primary and general elections to be held in 2024.

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April 6, 2020 •

FPPC Interested Persons Meeting; Disclosure of Political Activity by LLC’s

Sacramento, CA Skyline - Basil D Soufi

Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) staff will hold an interested persons meeting on Monday, April 20, at 10:00 a.m. The purpose of the meeting is to solicit public input regarding legislative and regulatory proposals to enhance disclosure of political activity […]

Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) staff will hold an interested persons meeting on Monday, April 20, at 10:00 a.m.

The purpose of the meeting is to solicit public input regarding legislative and regulatory proposals to enhance disclosure of political activity by limited liability companies (LLCs) in California elections.

Current law enables LLCs to make contributions or independent expenditures solely in the name of the LLC without disclosing any information, or even a way to determine, the source of the funds expended by the LLC and individuals responsible for operating the LLC.

The FPPC is interested in increasing the amount of information available to the public concerning political activity by LLCs.

Regulatory proposals will be considered for adoption or amendment on or after the May 21 meeting.

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April 6, 2020 •

Federal Judge Declined to Change Ohio’s Election Plan

Ohio Statehouse

Federal Judge Michael H. Watson declined to change the election plan Ohio lawmakers unanimously approved last month. House Bill 197 requires the state’s primary election to be conducted mostly by mail. Additionally it extends absentee balloting until April 28 for […]

Federal Judge Michael H. Watson declined to change the election plan Ohio lawmakers unanimously approved last month.

House Bill 197 requires the state’s primary election to be conducted mostly by mail.

Additionally it extends absentee balloting until April 28 for the presidential and state primary elections.

In-person voting originally scheduled for March 17 was postponed by order of the state’s Health Department in response to COVID-19 concerns.

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April 6, 2020 •

Wisconsin Still Planning to Vote on April 7

Wisconsin State Capitol Building

Legislative leaders declined the proposal of Gov. Tony Evers postponing in-person voting for the presidential primary and state elections Tuesday, April 7. Evers called the Legislature into a special session on April 4 to take up legislation avoiding in-person voting. […]

Legislative leaders declined the proposal of Gov. Tony Evers postponing in-person voting for the presidential primary and state elections Tuesday, April 7.

Evers called the Legislature into a special session on April 4 to take up legislation avoiding in-person voting.

His plan was to create an all-mail election with a deadline of May 26 to return ballots.

An effort in federal court to delay the election also failed, but did result in a one-week extension for absentee ballots to be received.    

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April 6, 2020 •

Monday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Elections National: “Trump, GOP Challenge Efforts to Make Voting Easier Amid Coronavirus Pandemic” by Elise Viebeck, Amy Gardner, and Michael Scherer (Washington Post) for Greenwich Time Ohio: “Federal Judge Denies Voter Advocates’ Lawsuit to Change Ohio Primary Election” by Rick […]

Elections

National: “Trump, GOP Challenge Efforts to Make Voting Easier Amid Coronavirus Pandemic” by Elise Viebeck, Amy Gardner, and Michael Scherer (Washington Post) for Greenwich Time

Ohio: “Federal Judge Denies Voter Advocates’ Lawsuit to Change Ohio Primary Election” by Rick Rouan for Columbus Dispatch

Ethics

National: “Trump Calls Fired Watchdog in Impeachment Probe a ‘Disgrace’” by Mary Clare Jalonick and Deb Reichmann (Associated Press) for ABC News

National: “The Young and Eventful Senate Career of Wealthy Georgia Businesswoman Kelly Loeffler” by Manuel Roig-Franzia for Washington Post

Minnesota: “Minnesota Lawmaker’s New College Job Sparks Conflict-of-Interest Questions” by Torey Van Oot for Minneapolis Star Tribune

Lobbying

National: “Foreign Governments Hire U.S. Lobbyists to Promote Their Efforts Fighting the Coronavirus Outbreak” by Andrew Lehren and Dan De Luce for NBC News

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April 3, 2020 •

Wisconsin Lawmakers to Consider Postponing Presidential Primary

Wisconsin State Capitol Building

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced he wants to postpone the presidential primary and state Supreme Court elections scheduled for Tuesday, April 7. Evers is calling the Legislature into a special session on April 4 to take up legislation to avoid […]

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced he wants to postpone the presidential primary and state Supreme Court elections scheduled for Tuesday, April 7.

Evers is calling the Legislature into a special session on April 4 to take up legislation to avoid in-person voting.

Additionally they will call for an all-mail election with a deadline of May 26 to return ballots.

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