May 24, 2019 •

Fort Wayne Pay to Play Ordinance Challenged in Court

Fort Wayne, Indiana City Hall

Allen Superior Court Judge Jennifer DeGroote heard arguments on Wednesday in a case focused on a 2018 Fort Wayne City Council ordinance. The ordinance limits financial contributions of contractors and their family members to political campaigns in Fort Wayne. The […]

Allen Superior Court Judge Jennifer DeGroote heard arguments on Wednesday in a case focused on a 2018 Fort Wayne City Council ordinance.

The ordinance limits financial contributions of contractors and their family members to political campaigns in Fort Wayne.

The measure prohibits business entities from bidding on city contracts if any officer, partner, or principal with more than 10% ownership has donated more than $2,000 to a campaign of someone with ultimate responsibility for awarding city contracts.

Kyle and Kimberly Suzanne Witwer filed the suit in April challenging the ordinance and requesting a judge block it’s implementation.

While no ruling was made on Wednesday, both sides must submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law by Friday.

There could be a potential ruling next week.

The main issue being considered at this time is whether state contribution laws make this ordinance unnecessary.

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May 23, 2019 •

Washington Gov. Signs Bill Extending Workplace Code of Conduct to Lobbyists

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

On May 21, 2019, Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5861. The bill extends respectful workplace code of conduct provisions to all members of the legislative community. Effective July 28, 2019, Senate Bill 5861 requires The Chief Clerk of the […]

On May 21, 2019, Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5861.

The bill extends respectful workplace code of conduct provisions to all members of the legislative community.

Effective July 28, 2019, Senate Bill 5861 requires The Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate to develop a training course based on the legislative code of conduct and any policies adopted by either chamber.

Lobbyists will be required to attest to reading and completing the training course when filing a lobbyist registration statement with the Public Disclosure Commission.

Lobbyists currently registered are required to update registration materials to include the attestation by December 31, 2019.

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May 23, 2019 •

Minnesota Adjourns with Plans for Special Session

Minnesota Capitol Building

The Minnesota Legislature adjourned sine die on May 20, the latest possible day the state constitution allowed it to be in regular session. Lawmakers reached a bipartisan budget deal after extensive negotiations. However, Gov. Tim Walz will need to call […]

The Minnesota Legislature adjourned sine die on May 20, the latest possible day the state constitution allowed it to be in regular session.

Lawmakers reached a bipartisan budget deal after extensive negotiations.

However, Gov. Tim Walz will need to call a special session for lawmakers to work out and vote on the details.

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May 21, 2019 •

Colorado Lobbyist Transparency Act Becomes Law

Gov. Jared Polis signed the Lobbyist Transparency Act into law on May 20, shining new light on the disclosure requirements of lobbyists and their clients. House Bill 1248 increases transparency by stopping attorneys registered as professional lobbyists from asserting confidentiality […]

Gov. Jared Polis signed the Lobbyist Transparency Act into law on May 20, shining new light on the disclosure requirements of lobbyists and their clients.

House Bill 1248 increases transparency by stopping attorneys registered as professional lobbyists from asserting confidentiality in order to conceal client information and lobbying activity.

The bill provides that when the general assembly is in regular or special session, a professional lobbyist must notify the secretary of state within 72 hours of agreeing to lobby in connection with new legislation or taking a new position on a new or existing bill for a new or existing client.

Additionally, the bill instructs the secretary of state to form a working group to upgrade the electronic filing system in order to ease the use of data reported and to increase overall transparency.

The secretary of state must convene the working group no later than July 1, and the group must meet at least once before December 31.

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May 20, 2019 •

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Corporate Contribution Case

United States Supreme Court Building

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States announced it would decline to hear a challenge to a Massachusetts law. The law in question bans corporate contributions to campaigns, parties and candidate-focused political action committees. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial […]

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States announced it would decline to hear a challenge to a Massachusetts law.

The law in question bans corporate contributions to campaigns, parties and candidate-focused political action committees.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court unanimously rejected the challenge, brought by 1A Auto Inc. and 126 Self Storage Inc., in September.

The suit claimed disparate treatment by banning for-profit corporate contributions while allowing significant contributions by unions and nonprofits.

After the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, state law was updated to allow corporate spending for independent expenditures but not political contributions.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey applauded Monday’s decision not to hear the case for the integrity of state elections.

Opponents of the law are hopeful the Supreme Court will take up the issue in another case.

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May 20, 2019 •

North Dakota Officials Prepare to Appoint Ethics Commission Members

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum by Senior Master Sgt. David H Lipp

Top North Dakota officials are working towards forming a new panel to oversee ethical standards in state government as a result of last year’s passage of Measure 1. Gov. Doug Burgum’s office is accepting applications for the new ethics commission […]

Top North Dakota officials are working towards forming a new panel to oversee ethical standards in state government as a result of last year’s passage of Measure 1.

Gov. Doug Burgum’s office is accepting applications for the new ethics commission through May 24 and hopes to have members selected by July 1.

The five commissioners will be chosen by consensus agreement of the governor and the Senate’s majority and minority leaders.

The state constitution bars certain people from serving on the commission including lobbyists, political party officials, and those who hold statewide elected or appointed office.

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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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May 20, 2019 •

San Francisco Ethics Commission Propose Code Changes

San Francisco, California - Noahnmf [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

The San Francisco Ethics Commission will hold its next regular meeting on May 29. The commission will consider and possibly act on a set of proposed regulation changes to the Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code. These changes include electronic filing, […]

The San Francisco Ethics Commission will hold its next regular meeting on May 29.

The commission will consider and possibly act on a set of proposed regulation changes to the Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code.

These changes include electronic filing, filing of contribution disclosures no later than 14 days following the contribution, and updating filing forms.

The proposed changes are intended to provide clarity regarding code sections created by the Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance and update the regulations to match other recent changes to the code.

Changes additionally provide clarity about various provisions of the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance.

Opportunity for public comment will be provided at the meeting.

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May 20, 2019 •

Minnesota Bill Addresses Digital Political Contributions

Minnesota House Chamber - Chris Gaukel [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

On May 14, a bill was introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives to prohibit political candidates from accepting certain digital currency like bitcoin unless backed by an official legal currency. House File 2884 would prohibit an individual, political committee, […]

On May 14, a bill was introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives to prohibit political candidates from accepting certain digital currency like bitcoin unless backed by an official legal currency.

House File 2884 would prohibit an individual, political committee, political fund, principal campaign committee, or party unit from soliciting or accepting a contribution or donation of any digital unit of exchange.

This includes but is not limited to bitcoin, that is not backed by a government-issued legal tender.

Under the bill, a person knowingly accepting any prohibited digital unit of exchange would be guilty of a felony.

The legislation also imposes a civil penalty of up to $3,000 for any individual, political committee, political fund, principal campaign committee, or party unit knowingly soliciting or accepting any digital unit of exchange.

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May 20, 2019 •

Fresno District 2 Special Election

Fresno Arch - by John Walker, Fresno Bee File

The city of Fresno is holding a special election for the District 2 City Council seat on August 13. Steve Brandau stepped down from the District 2 City Council seat after winning the District 2 seat on the Fresno County […]

The city of Fresno is holding a special election for the District 2 City Council seat on August 13.

Steve Brandau stepped down from the District 2 City Council seat after winning the District 2 seat on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.

If a runoff is required, the special runoff election will be held on November 5.

The elected candidate will serve the remainder of Brandau’s term, which ends in 2020.

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May 20, 2019 •

Richmond City Council Passes Revolving Door Ordinance

Richmond City Hall - by Taber Andrew Bain

The Richmond City Council unanimously passed Ordinance No. 2019-115 prohibiting lobbying after employment. Ordinance No. 2019-115 defines “officer or employee” as members of the city council, city officers and employees, and individuals who receive monetary compensation for service on or […]

The Richmond City Council unanimously passed Ordinance No. 2019-115 prohibiting lobbying after employment.

Ordinance No. 2019-115 defines “officer or employee” as members of the city council, city officers and employees, and individuals who receive monetary compensation for service on or employment by agencies, boards, authorities, sanitary districts, commissions, committees, and task forces appointed by the city council.

Former officers and employees may not represent a client for compensation for one year following their term in office.

Matters of any nature involving any agency, department, or an office of the city government the former officer or employee served immediately prior to the termination of employment or service are prohibited.

The revolving door ordinance is effective July 1.

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May 20, 2019 •

New Jersey Dark Money Disclosure Bill Vetoed

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

Gov. Phil Murphy conditionally vetoed legislation requiring dark money groups spending money to influence elections in New Jersey to disclose their large donors. Senate Bill 1500, carried over from last year’s session, requires disclosure of contributors giving more than $10,000 […]

Gov. Phil Murphy conditionally vetoed legislation requiring dark money groups spending money to influence elections in New Jersey to disclose their large donors.

Senate Bill 1500, carried over from last year’s session, requires disclosure of contributors giving more than $10,000 to 501(c)(4) groups engaging in political activities and lobbying.

In issuing the veto, Gov. Murphy said the bill contained loopholes and inconsistent disclosure standards.

He also expressed concern about the legislation not passing judicial scrutiny because of broad disclosure requirements beyond spending in elections for groups involved in issue campaigns.

The veto went on to recommend requiring companies receiving large scale tax credits from the state to disclose public contracts and political contributions to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).

The recommendation also sought to strike a provision limiting elected officials from managing dark-money groups.

Supporters of Senate Bill 1500, which overwhelmingly passed both houses, argued the legislation leveled the playing field by requiring all groups to disclose if trying to sway elections, legislation, or policy.

The legislature can attempt an override of the governor’s veto or work towards amending the bill based on the governor’s recommendations.

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May 17, 2019 •

New Utah Lobbying Updates Effective

Utah Capitol Building - Jkinsocal [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

House Bill 64, implementing the Local Government and Board of Education Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act became effective on May 14, 2019. Additionally, House Bill 147, making changes to the existing Lobbyist Disclosure Act became effective on the same day. […]

House Bill 64, implementing the Local Government and Board of Education Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act became effective on May 14, 2019.

Additionally, House Bill 147, making changes to the existing Lobbyist Disclosure Act became effective on the same day.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Office has released additional guidance on the new rules.

Guidance includes how online registration and reporting will be accomplished for local lobbyists.

The guidance also discusses the shift to annual registration for state level lobbyists.

Previously registered lobbyists choosing to renew their license in 2020 and new registrations will be required to pay a $60 fee and obtain new badges.

The new requirements also include completion of a workplace harassment and discrimination training.

Current, active lobbyists are not required to complete the new training until the license is renewed.

The lieutenant governor has asked that questions be directed to lobbyists@utah.gov or 801-538-1041.

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May 17, 2019 •

Alaska Legislature Adjourns, Governor Calls Special Session

Alaska State Capitol Buildling - Jay Galvin [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

The 31st Alaska Legislature adjourned the first regular session at the constitutional deadline on May 15. The legislature did not find resolution on some of the biggest issues including crime, the budget, and the dividend residents receive from the state’s […]

The 31st Alaska Legislature adjourned the first regular session at the constitutional deadline on May 15.

The legislature did not find resolution on some of the biggest issues including crime, the budget, and the dividend residents receive from the state’s oil-wealth fund.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy called a special session to begin on May 16.

The special session will be limited to discussing a crime reform package, an operating budget containing a full permanent fund dividend, a capital budget, funding for K-12 education, and a mental health trust budget.

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