July 6, 2020 •

Chicago Lobbying Ordinance Stalled

Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot - MacLean Center

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed amendment to the lobbying ordinance has been stalled. This stall comes after Lincoln Park Alderwoman Michele Smith, chair of the Committee on Ethics and Government Oversight, said she has no plans to call Lightfoot’s ordinance for […]

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed amendment to the lobbying ordinance has been stalled.

This stall comes after Lincoln Park Alderwoman Michele Smith, chair of the Committee on Ethics and Government Oversight, said she has no plans to call Lightfoot’s ordinance for a vote.

The Mayor introduced Ordinance 2020-2328 in April over concerns that the language in the original ordinance passed by City Council late last year was too broad.

Additionally, there were concerns the ordinance would force registered lobbyists to give up positions on suburban bodies in order to keep lobbying Chicago government.

The proposed amendment would allow elected officials from outside Chicago to lobby City Council, the mayor, and other city offices.

This would be allowed as long as the public body they represent does not have pending or recurring legislative or contractual matters involving the city of Chicago.

In response to Smith’s statement, a spokesman for Lightfoot stated the administration looks forward to partnering with Smith to make necessary updates to any existing lobbying policies.

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July 6, 2020 •

Louisiana Lobbyist Expenditure Limit on Food, Beverages Increases

Louisiana State Capitol

Louisiana State Capitol

Lobbyists in Louisiana can now spend a bit more on wining and dining state lawmakers and other public officials. When the new budget year began July 1, the lobbying limit on food and drink for a public official edged up […]

Lobbyists in Louisiana can now spend a bit more on wining and dining state lawmakers and other public officials.

When the new budget year began July 1, the lobbying limit on food and drink for a public official edged up $1 per person, per occasion. The new limit per person at an event is $63.

When the lobbying cap was first enacted, the limit was $50 per occasion.

But the 2008 law that sets the limit allows annual adjustment tied to increases in the federal Consumer price Index for food and beverages.

That index rose 1.8 percent in the last year.

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July 2, 2020 •

Toledo Mayor Calls for Resignation of City Council Members

Toledo, Ohio skyline

Toledo, Ohio skyline - by NorthernMagnolia

Toledo, Ohio Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz has requested the resignation of four City Council members accused of encouraging and accepting bribes in exchange for votes. Yvonne Harper (District 4), Tyrone Riley (District 1), Gary Johnson (At-large), and Larry Sykes (At-large), are […]

Toledo, Ohio Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz has requested the resignation of four City Council members accused of encouraging and accepting bribes in exchange for votes.

Yvonne Harper (District 4), Tyrone Riley (District 1), Gary Johnson (At-large), and Larry Sykes (At-large), are named in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court at the conclusion of a two-year FBI investigation.

The court documents detail how each of the members allegedly accepted payments in the range of $500 to $5,000 for “yes” votes on zoning requests to internet cafes.

In an official statement, Kapszukiewicz explained these members are entitled to their day in court and should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

However, he is concerned about the cloud of doubt that would rest over city government if they continue to hold office.

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July 2, 2020 •

San Jose Council Approves Ballot Measure Barring Contributions and Gifts from Lobbyists

San Jose City Hall

San Jose City Hall - by Daderot

The City Council approved a November ballot measure relating to contributions and gifts from lobbyists. The proposed measure would bar lobbyists from making campaign contributions. The mayor, council members, and senior administrators would also be barred from accepting gifts from […]

The City Council approved a November ballot measure relating to contributions and gifts from lobbyists.

The proposed measure would bar lobbyists from making campaign contributions.

The mayor, council members, and senior administrators would also be barred from accepting gifts from lobbyists or city contractors.

The mayor and council members would also be required to sit out of any vote involving a person or entity contributing to their campaign or other cause in the last 12 months and the three months following the vote.

The proposed initiative would also give the mayor the power to hire and fire the city manager and department heads starting January 1, 2023.

The measure also includes a provision to align San Jose’s mayoral races with the presidential election cycle in an effort to increase voter turnout.

The City Council will hold a special meeting on July 28 where they will review the proposed ballot language before sending it off to the county Registrar of Voters.

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July 2, 2020 •

Nevada Governor Announces Date for Special Legislative Session

Nevada State Capitol Octagonal Annex

Gov. Steve Sisolak officially called for the Nevada Legislature to convene in a special session on July 8 to address the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget crisis. At a later date, the governor’s office will issue the formal proclamation to […]

Gov. Steve Sisolak officially called for the Nevada Legislature to convene in a special session on July 8 to address the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget crisis.

At a later date, the governor’s office will issue the formal proclamation to convene the special session.

Gov. Sisolak and legislative leadership are working to assess potential additional items to be included in any special session proclamation.

These additions will be including policy proposals related to criminal and social justice reform.

Furthermore, the governor acknowledged the start date could change based on public health conditions.

The public will be able to watch the floor sessions and committee meetings via the Legislature’s livestreams.

Finally, those who wish to participate will be able to teleconference or submit written comments.

This does affect ALERTS reporting.

A lobbyist activity report will be due between the first and tenth of the month after each month the Legislature in in a special session.

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July 2, 2020 •

New Hampshire Legislature Adjourns Session

New Hampshire State House - AlexiusHoratius

On June 30, the New Hampshire General Court adjourned their legislative session. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislative session was abbreviated and conducted away from the State House for the first time in over 150 years. During the shortened […]

On June 30, the New Hampshire General Court adjourned their legislative session.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislative session was abbreviated and conducted away from the State House for the first time in over 150 years.

During the shortened session, the Legislature passed bills relating to police reform, absentee voting, and drug importation.

The Legislature will discuss any bills vetoed by the governor when it is expected to reconvene later this fall.

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June 30, 2020 •

California Legislature Passes Special Election Bill

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California State Capitol Building - Jeff Turner

Lawmakers passed a bill calling a statewide special election to be consolidated and held on November 3, 2020. Senate Bill 300 requires the Office of the Secretary of State to submit various Assembly Constitutional Amendments, including lowering the voting age, […]

Lawmakers passed a bill calling a statewide special election to be consolidated and held on November 3, 2020.

Senate Bill 300 requires the Office of the Secretary of State to submit various Assembly Constitutional Amendments, including lowering the voting age, wages, elections, and state of emergency procedures, to voters for their approval at the general election if the amendments are passed by the Legislature on or before July 1, 2020.

If signed by the governor, the bill would take effect immediately as an act calling an election.

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June 30, 2020 •

Oregon Legislature Adjourns Special Session

Oregon Senate Chamber

Oregon Senate Chamber - photo by Cacophony

Oregon’s Legislative Assembly adjourned the first special session of 2020. During the session lawmakers passed a slew of bills dealing with police accountability and the coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers passed 24 bills with more than 600 pieces of public testimony submitted […]

Oregon’s Legislative Assembly adjourned the first special session of 2020.

During the session lawmakers passed a slew of bills dealing with police accountability and the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers passed 24 bills with more than 600 pieces of public testimony submitted and over 100 virtual testimonies during the three day special session.

At least one other special session may be called this year in order to focus on the state budget.

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June 30, 2020 •

Louisiana Lawmakers Winding Down Special Session

Louisiana State Capitol

Louisiana State Capitol

Louisiana lawmakers have until final adjournment at 6 p.m. on June 30 to pass the government spending plan for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. In the special session premised in large part on COVID-19 relief, lawmakers gave […]

Louisiana lawmakers have until final adjournment at 6 p.m. on June 30 to pass the government spending plan for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.

In the special session premised in large part on COVID-19 relief, lawmakers gave final legislative approval June 29 to send $250 hazard pay checks to up to 200,000 frontline workers.

Qualifying jobs include health workers, emergency, fire and law enforcement personnel, bus drivers, garbage workers, and grocery store and convenience store workers.

Additionally, negotiations on the state budget continue into the final day of the special session.

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June 29, 2020 •

Georgia General Assembly Adjourns Sine Die

Georgia Capitol

Georgia State Capitol Building

The Georgia General Assembly adjourned sine die on June 26 after a session interrupted and delayed by COVID-19. Before adjourning, the General Assembly notably passed a hate crimes bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday, […]

The Georgia General Assembly adjourned sine die on June 26 after a session interrupted and delayed by COVID-19.

Before adjourning, the General Assembly notably passed a hate crimes bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday, and a budget reduction of nearly 10%.

This $2.2 billion reduction is the largest reduction since the 2008 recession.

The does affect lobbyist reporting. The last semi-monthly report for state-level and State Transportation Board lobbyists is due on July 1.

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June 24, 2020 •

Idaho House Calls Unofficial Session

Idaho Capitol Building - JSquish

On the morning of June 23, 15 House Republicans met in the Statehouse to discuss and air grievances over Gov. Brad Little’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawmakers read a multi-page statement against the actions of Little, stating he had […]

On the morning of June 23, 15 House Republicans met in the Statehouse to discuss and air grievances over Gov. Brad Little’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lawmakers read a multi-page statement against the actions of Little, stating he had violated the separation of powers within the state.

However, despite calls from GOP groups and protesters, lawmakers decided not to conduct any legislative action before ending the unofficial session.

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June 22, 2020 •

New Mexico Supreme Court Issues Ruling to Ban

New Mexico Capitol

New Mexico Capitol Building - Ken Lund

In a 3-2 decision on June 16, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied a request allowing lobbyists and public into the Capitol, known as the Roundhouse, during the special legislative session beginning June 18. Chief Justice Judith Nakamura described the […]

In a 3-2 decision on June 16, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied a request allowing lobbyists and public into the Capitol, known as the Roundhouse, during the special legislative session beginning June 18.

Chief Justice Judith Nakamura described the decision as a difficult ruling to make. However, Nakamura concurred with Justices Barbara Vigil and Michael Vigil in denying the petition. 24 lawmakers submitted this proposal which would have opened the Roundhouse to lobbyists and the public for the special session.

The petition argued that prohibiting lobbyists from entering the Roundhouse violates the constitutional requirement to make all legislative sessions public.

New Mexico’s constitution provides all sessions of each house must be public. Justices challenged attorneys on both sides to define the term “public” and explain in detail what constitutes a public session.

Justice C. Shannon Bacon expressed concern about large parts of the state not having broadband. She also emphasized that thousands of people do not have access to computers, describing New Mexico as a technological desert.

The Supreme Court concluded virtual proceedings balance the need to protect the public from the public health concerns of COVID-19 with the need to ensure the legislative session remains open and transparent.

The ruling means those who wish to follow the session will watch the hearings from their computer screens. This will be current reality, rather than gathering in committee rooms and House and Senate galleries.

The public will be able to speak at the discretion of the House committee chairs via Zoom video conference call. However, the public will only be allowed to send emails, rather than joining a video conference, to address the Senate’s committee.

Beginning June 18, lawmakers will begin debating how to shore up an estimated $2 billion shortfall in projected revenues for the fiscal year 2021 budget. This shortfall is largely due to the pandemic-related government shutdown.

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June 22, 2020 •

Hawaii Ethics Commission Approves Administrative Rules on Lobbying, Gifts

Hawaii Capitol Building

The Hawaii Ethics Commission approved a package of proposals on June 18. These proposals amend and adopt portions of the Hawaii Administrative Rules related to lobbying and gifts. The amendments in chapters one through six address the Commission’s operations and […]

The Hawaii Ethics Commission approved a package of proposals on June 18. These proposals amend and adopt portions of the Hawaii Administrative Rules related to lobbying and gifts.

The amendments in chapters one through six address the Commission’s operations and procedures. Additionally, chapters seven through 10 now include sections on “Lobbying” and “Gifts and Fair Treatment”.

The proposed rules do not purport to amend any statutes. Rather, they are designed to interpret and execute the statutes enacted by the Legislature.

Section 21-10-5

Section 21-10-5, statement of contributions and expenditures, addresses the statutory requirement that statements of contributions and expenditures must be filed by up to three different entities. This could be the client, the employing organization, and the lobbyist. Or, in the case of lobbyists employed in-house by the client, the client or employing organization and the lobbyist.
This rule creates a single, client-based report rather than requiring separate reports from the client, the employing organization, and the lobbyist. This single, client-based reporting method avoids double or sometimes triple reporting. Additionally, it eliminates the practice, when clients or employing organizations cover expenditures, of having lobbyists submit reports listing “zero” expenditures.

Section 21-10-1

Section 21-10-1 contains definitions of “direct lobbying” and “grassroots lobbying” to demonstrate that lobbying can be both direct and indirect, consistent with the definition of lobbying in Section 97-1 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. Under Rule 21-10-1, direct lobbying is defined as any oral or written communication with a legislator, an employee, intern, or volunteer of the legislature or an agency that would appear to a reasonable person to be an attempt to influence legislation or rule-making.
Additionally, grassroots lobbying is defined as any oral or written communication directed at any member of the public that expresses an opinion about existing or potential legislation, administrative rule, or ballot issue and includes an explicit or implied call to action.

Section 21-7-6

Section 21-7-6, valuation of gifts, defines the value of a gift as the cost that a member of the public would reasonably expect to incur to purchase it. For example, If the face value of a ticket to an event is $100, but the event is sold out and tickets on the secondary market are $500 at the time the ticket is offered as a gift, the value of the ticket is $500.

The rules must now be approved by the Department of the Attorney General, and then by the governor. Once approved by both offices, they will be posted with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor for 10 days before becoming effective.

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June 19, 2020 •

Illinois Board of Elections Announces Amnesty Period for Late Contribution Reports

Illinois Capitol

Illinois State Capitol Building

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Board of Elections announced an amnesty period for late filers of the March 2020 quarterly report of campaign contributions and expenditures, due on April 15. No penalties will be assessed for reports filed […]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Board of Elections announced an amnesty period for late filers of the March 2020 quarterly report of campaign contributions and expenditures, due on April 15.

No penalties will be assessed for reports filed on or before June 30.

Similarly, no penalties will be assessed for late Schedule A-1 reports of contributions of $1,000 or more, due between March 18 and June 30, as long as they are filed on or before June 30.

Late reports (Quarterly or A-1) filed after June 30 will be subject to statutorily mandated penalties.

The Board’s one-time amnesty will not apply to the upcoming June 2020 Quarterly Report, which is due no later than July 15. 

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