April 30, 2015 •

Indiana General Assembly Adjourns Sine Die

The 119th Indiana General Assembly adjourned its first regular session sine die on Wednesday, April 29. Lawmakers worked until the final minutes to shift authority over education policy matters and to pass a new two-year state budget. Despite its many […]

Indiana StatehouseThe 119th Indiana General Assembly adjourned its first regular session sine die on Wednesday, April 29. Lawmakers worked until the final minutes to shift authority over education policy matters and to pass a new two-year state budget.

Despite its many successes, however, the session will perhaps best be remembered for the March 26 signing of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Photo of the Indiana Statehouse by HstryQT on Wikimedia Commons.

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February 23, 2015 •

Indiana House Passes Bipartisan Ethics Bill

Indiana House legislators unanimously approved a bipartisan ethics bill aimed at maximizing transparency in the General Assembly. The reform bill broadens what legislators must disclose on financial interest statements and expands reporting requirements regarding lawmakers’ relationships with lobbyists. The bill […]

Indiana StatehouseIndiana House legislators unanimously approved a bipartisan ethics bill aimed at maximizing transparency in the General Assembly.

The reform bill broadens what legislators must disclose on financial interest statements and expands reporting requirements regarding lawmakers’ relationships with lobbyists. The bill also tightens the control over state employees seeking employment in the private sector with a company involved with the state.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

Photo of the Indiana Statehouse by HstryQT on Wikimedia Commons.

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January 19, 2015 •

Indiana Ethics Bill Introduced with Bipartisan Support

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and House Minority Leader Scott Pelath have co-sponsored an ethics bill aimed at improving transparency and reducing conflicts of interest. The proposal would tighten the rules on waivers for the one-year “cooling off” period for […]

Flag of Indiana.svgIndiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and House Minority Leader Scott Pelath have co-sponsored an ethics bill aimed at improving transparency and reducing conflicts of interest.

The proposal would tighten the rules on waivers for the one-year “cooling off” period for state agency officials taking private-sector jobs dealing with their former departments.

It would also expand the financial disclosure requirements for legislators and require them to disclose any relatives who are lobbyists.

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October 15, 2014 •

Marion Superior Judge Selection Ruled Unconstitutional

A federal judge in Indianapolis ruled the statute delineating how Marion Superior judges are elected is unconstitutional. The election of Marion Superior judges is unique, as Republican and Democratic parties may nominate up to half of the open positions. Furthermore, […]

Marion Superior Court SealA federal judge in Indianapolis ruled the statute delineating how Marion Superior judges are elected is unconstitutional. The election of Marion Superior judges is unique, as Republican and Democratic parties may nominate up to half of the open positions.

Furthermore, once a judge wins in the primary, he or she will automatically be elected in the general because there are as many candidates as there are open seats. Because primaries are restricted to the two major parties, only those eligible to vote in the primary elections are able to cast meaningful votes for the open judgeships, and those who do not declare a party have no say in the election of the judges.

The court found the statute severely burdens the right to vote. The ruling is stayed and will not affect next month’s election.

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June 26, 2013 •

Ask the Experts – New Changes to Lobbying Law in Indiana

Here is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc.

Myra Cottrill
Myra Cottrill, Esq.

Q. I’m registered as a legislative lobbyist in Indiana.  How do the new changes in the law affect me?

A. Recently, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed Enrolled Act 1222, expanding the definition of lobbying and requiring lobbyists to file registrations and reports electronically. This bill also increases the annual lobbyist registration fee from $100 to $200 and syncs the lobbyist registration year to correspond with the current lobbyist reporting periods (November-April and May-October).  As such, one of the most significant changes requiring your attention is that registration statements issued for 2013 will expire on November 1, not on December 31.

Most of the bill’s provisions will become effective July 1, 2013.  Here is a brief summary of important changes.

Lobbying Thresholds:

  • Effective July 1, 2013, the definition of legislative person includes all employees of the legislative department of state government for determining what communications constitute legislative lobbying.
  • For purposes of determining whether a person is a lobbyist, the annual registration fee is not to be considered when calculating the $500 compensation and expenditure registration thresholds.

Registrations:

  • As noted, current 2013 lobbyist registrations will expire on November 1, 2013. Registration will be required for each reporting year beginning on November 1, 2013, or within 15 business days after becoming a lobbyist, whichever is later. The commission may accept registration statements up to 60 days before the first day of the reporting year.
  • Effective November 1, 2013, the registration fee is $200. However, the registration fee is $100 if the lobbyist is a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, or an employee of a lobbyist nonprofit organization who performs lobbying services for the employer as part of the lobbyist’s salaried responsibilities.
  • Effective November 1, 2013, electronic registration is required unless the commission grants an exception.

Reporting:

  • Effective July 1, 2013, gift reports and purchasing reports need to be filed only with the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission and the legislative person with respect to whom the report was made.
  • Effective January 1, 2014, electronic filing is mandatory unless the commission grants an exception.

You can directly submit questions for this feature, and we will select those most appropriate and answer them here. Send your questions to: marketing@stateandfed.com.

(We are always available to answer questions from clients that are specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call or e-mail us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies to your questions are not legal advice. Instead, these replies represent our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.

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June 26, 2013 •

Ask the Experts – New Changes to Lobbying Law in Indiana

Here is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc.

Myra Cottrill
Myra Cottrill, Esq.

Q. I’m registered as a legislative lobbyist in Indiana.  How do the new changes in the law affect me?

A. Recently, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed Enrolled Act 1222, expanding the definition of lobbying and requiring lobbyists to file registrations and reports electronically. This bill also increases the annual lobbyist registration fee from $100 to $200 and syncs the lobbyist registration year to correspond with the current lobbyist reporting periods (November-April and May-October).  As such, one of the most significant changes requiring your attention is that registration statements issued for 2013 will expire on November 1, not on December 31.

Most of the bill’s provisions will become effective July 1, 2013.  Here is a brief summary of important changes.

Lobbying Thresholds:

  • Effective July 1, 2013, the definition of legislative person includes all employees of the legislative department of state government for determining what communications constitute legislative lobbying.
  • For purposes of determining whether a person is a lobbyist, the annual registration fee is not to be considered when calculating the $500 compensation and expenditure registration thresholds.

Registrations:

  • As noted, current 2013 lobbyist registrations will expire on November 1, 2013. Registration will be required for each reporting year beginning on November 1, 2013, or within 15 business days after becoming a lobbyist, whichever is later. The commission may accept registration statements up to 60 days before the first day of the reporting year.
  • Effective November 1, 2013, the registration fee is $200. However, the registration fee is $100 if the lobbyist is a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, or an employee of a lobbyist nonprofit organization who performs lobbying services for the employer as part of the lobbyist’s salaried responsibilities.
  • Effective November 1, 2013, electronic registration is required unless the commission grants an exception.

Reporting:

  • Effective July 1, 2013, gift reports and purchasing reports need to be filed only with the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission and the legislative person with respect to whom the report was made.
  • Effective January 1, 2014, electronic filing is mandatory unless the commission grants an exception.

You can directly submit questions for this feature, and we will select those most appropriate and answer them here. Send your questions to: marketing@stateandfed.com.

(We are always available to answer questions from clients that are specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call or e-mail us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies to your questions are not legal advice. Instead, these replies represent our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.

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May 9, 2013 •

Indiana Governor Signs Legislative Lobbying Law

Enrolled Act 1222 changes regulations for registration and reporting

Gov. Mike Pence
Gov. Mike Pence

Governor Mike Pence has signed a bill to change legislative lobbying regulations. Enrolled Act 1222 expands the definition of lobbying to include communications with any employee of the legislative branch and requires lobbyists to file registration statements and activity reports electronically.

The bill also increases the annual lobbyist registration fee from $100 to $200 and makes the lobbyist registration year match the current lobbyist reporting periods. Lobbyist registration statements issued for 2013 will expire November 1, 2013.

Most of the bill’s provisions become effective July 1, 2013.

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April 29, 2013 •

Indiana Legislature Passes Lobbying Bill Before Adjourning

Enrolled Act 1222 awaits Governor’s approval

Indiana State HouseThe Legislature adjourned Saturday, April 27, 2013, shortly after passing a bill to change lobbying regulations. Enrolled Act 1222 expands the definition of lobbying to include communications with any legislative employee and requires lobbyists to file registration statements and activity reports electronically.

The bill also increases the annual lobbyist registration fee from $100 to $200 and makes the lobbyist registration year match the current lobbyist reporting periods. Lobbyist registration statements issued for 2013 will expire November 1, 2013.

Most of the bill’s provisions will become effective July 1, 2013, following approval by the Governor.

Photo of the Indiana State House by Jasont82 on Wikipedia.

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March 4, 2013 •

Indiana Considers Increase and Expansion of Lobbying Regulation

House Bill 1222 had no problem making it to Senate committee

Flag of IndianaA bill to change lobbying regulations has passed the House and is currently in the Senate Committee on Public Policy.

House Bill 1222 expands the definition of lobbying to include communications with any legislative employee and requires lobbyists to file registration statements and activity reports electronically.

The bill also increases the annual lobbyist registration fee from $100 to $200 and makes the lobbyist registration year match the current lobbyist reporting period.

The bill passed the House 94-0 on February 25, 2013.

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November 26, 2012 •

Indiana General Assembly Holds Organization Day

Legislative session to begin January 7, 2013

Indiana State HouseOn November 20, 2012, lawmakers met for Organization Day, the first official day of the 118th General Assembly.

Lawmakers will reconvene on January 7 for the start of the legislative session, which must be adjourned by April 29, 2013.

Organization Day is largely procedural, including the ceremonial swearing in of new and reelected members.

Photo of the Indiana State House by Jasont82 in Wikipedia Creative Commons.

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March 26, 2012 •

Today’s Campaign Finance Top Stories

Keep up with the latest news about campaign finance reform and super PACs with these items from around the country:

campaign finance newsNational and Federal

Can 46 rich dudes buy an election?” by Charles Riley in CNN Money.

Obama ‘Super’ PAC Donors Among White House Guests” by Jack Gillum (Associated Press) in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Planners for Democratic convention in Charlotte scramble to raise funds” by David Nakamura in The Washington Post.

In the States

Indiana: “Super PACs start battle in Senate race” by The Associated Press in the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Iowa: “Group wants to close campaign finance loophole” by Rod Boshart in the Sioux City Journal.

Montana: “New arguments filed in campaign finance case” by Matt Gouras in the Great Falls Tribune.

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March 12, 2012 •

State Legislative Sessions Update

Four state legislatures report end to sessions

FLORIDA: The 2012 session of the Florida legislature adjourned on Friday, March 9th. Governor Rick Scott now has 15 days to sign or veto legislation, or the legislation will become law without his signature. Additionally, Governor Scott has called the legislature back to Tallahassee for a special session, set to begin Wednesday, March 14th. The session is slated to deal with the Florida Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the legislature’s redistricting plan for the state Senate.

United StatesINDIANA: Lawmakers concluded the 2012 legislative session at nearly 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 10th.

VIRGINIA: The General Assembly concluded the 2012 legislative session on Saturday, March 10, 2012. The assembly introduced 2,875 bills during the 60-day legislative session. Nearly 1,600 passed, and the Governor has already signed over 200 into law.

WEST VIRGINIA: The legislature of West Virginia adjourned sine die shortly before midnight on Saturday, March 10, 2012. The legislature then reconvened shortly thereafter on Sunday, March 11, 2012, to begin work on the 2012 extended budget session.

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February 7, 2012 •

Indiana’s Former Secretary of State Is Crying Foul

Charlie White’s criminal sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23

Charlie WhiteIndiana’s former Secretary of State Charlie White, who was convicted of six felonies and consequently lost his job, is pointing the finger at others. White is now saying Gov. Mitch Daniels and U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) are also guilty of voter fraud because they voted from Indiana addresses while residing elsewhere.

For the full story read “White isn’t going quietly” by Dan Carden in the Times of Northwest Indiana.

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January 16, 2012 •

Indiana Bill To Exempt Groups From Lobbying Law

Legislation would expand loophole in lobbying restrictions

Indiana State Senate ChamberSenate Bill 244 proposes adding the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses and the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Association to a statutory list of lobbyist exemptions. If the bill passes, the groups will be exempt from the gift disclosures and paid travel bans imposed on lobbyists, regardless of whether lobbying occurs at their events. This is the latest attempt at carving out exceptions to the 2010 ethics reform bill which banned lobbyist-funded, out-of-state travel for legislators.

Although lobbyists cannot directly pay for a state legislator’s trip, by simply paying for membership in an exempt group like the American Legislative Exchange Council, the lobbyists gain access to legislators. Giving a group an exemption allows legislators to travel to the group’s conferences and hunting trips, at the group’s expense, without violating the lobbying rules or having to disclose the trips.

Exempt groups claim to be established for the education and support of legislators.

Photo of the Indiana State Senate Chamber by Charles Edward on Wikipedia.

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