September 16, 2020 •

Chicago Board of Ethics to Enforce Lobbying Ban

Chicago River @ Michigan Ave. By David Wilson

The Chicago Board of Ethics announced it will begin enforcing Ordinance 2-156-309 on October 1. The ordinance prohibits state and local elected officials from lobbying City Council or any city agency, department, board, or commission. In a press release announcing […]

The Chicago Board of Ethics announced it will begin enforcing Ordinance 2-156-309 on October 1.

The ordinance prohibits state and local elected officials from lobbying City Council or any city agency, department, board, or commission.

In a press release announcing enforcement of the ban, the board indicated it had been monitoring compliance and delayed enforcement of the ordinance, which took effect April 14, because a proposal submitted to City Council by Mayor Lori Lightfoot would have affected at least one lobbyist.

The board indicated sufficient time has passed and it has confirmed there will be no changes to the ordinance.

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September 14, 2020 •

Minnesota Legislature’s Fourth Special Session Begins September 11

Gov Tim Walz with Ly Gov Peggy Flanagan

Gov Tim Walz, with Lt Gov Peggy Flanagan - by Lorie Shaull

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz called a special session beginning September 11 to extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. The emergency will be extended by 30 days to continue to respond to the pandemic. Walz is obligated by law to call a […]

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz called a special session beginning September 11 to extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

The emergency will be extended by 30 days to continue to respond to the pandemic.

Walz is obligated by law to call a special session for the Legislature to approve the emergency declaration.

The length of the session will be determined by the Legislature.

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September 8, 2020 •

California Lawmakers Pass Campaign Finance Bill

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California State Capitol Building - Jeff Turner

The Legislature presented a bill to Gov. Gavin Newsom relating to online filing and disclosure of specific statements, reports, and other documents. Assembly Bill 2151 requires a local government agency to post on its internet website, within 72 hours of […]

The Legislature presented a bill to Gov. Gavin Newsom relating to online filing and disclosure of specific statements, reports, and other documents.

Assembly Bill 2151 requires a local government agency to post on its internet website, within 72 hours of the applicable filing deadline, a copy of any specified statement, report, or other document required by Chapter 4 of the Political Reform Act of 1974 filed with the agency in paper format.

In addition, the statement, report, or other document must be made available for four years from the date of the election associated with the filing.

Finally, if signed by the governor, the bill becomes effective January 1, 2021.

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September 8, 2020 •

Special Election Set for Alabama Senate District 26

Alabama State Capitol

Alabama State Capitol Building

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has announced the special election dates for Senate District 26. This seat was previously held by Sen. David Burkette who resigned last week ahead of being arrested for violations of the state’s Fair Campaign Practices Act. […]

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has announced the special election dates for Senate District 26.

This seat was previously held by Sen. David Burkette who resigned last week ahead of being arrested for violations of the state’s Fair Campaign Practices Act.

The special primary election will be held on November 17 with a runoff on December 15, if necessary.

The general election will be held on March 2, 2021.

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September 3, 2020 •

Fort Collins City Council Approves New Campaign Finance Amendments

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Fort Collins City Council approved several campaign finance changes on September 1 that will take effect in time for the April 2021 city election. The amendments include limits to how much individuals can contribute to limited liability corporations and political […]

Fort Collins City Council approved several campaign finance changes on September 1 that will take effect in time for the April 2021 city election.

The amendments include limits to how much individuals can contribute to limited liability corporations and political committees to support or oppose city races.

City Council voted 5-2 on the political committee and LLC contribution changes. This included votes in opposition from Mayor Wade Troxell and council member Ken Summers. In addition, council unanimously approved several other election code changes. The changes will apply to municipal elections for council seats, the mayoral race, and city ballot measures.

Current code allows LLCs to donate up to $75 to a candidate committee for a City Council member, or $100 to a committee for a mayoral candidate, which is the same limit for an individual. Because one person can be a member of multiple LLCs, people could bypass individual donation limits. This bypass could be accomplished by donating through various LLCs. Election finance records show this has happened in previous Fort Collins elections.

The amendment will bring this requirement into alignment with the state election code. The current code requires donations from LLCs to include statements that attribute the donation to specific LLC members. The donations attributed through an LLC will then count toward individual donation limits.

The political committee amendment will place a $100 cap on donations to political committees. There is currently no limit on contributions to political committees. This occurs when two or more people who come together to accept contributions or make expenditures to support or oppose one or more candidates.

The amendments will be presented for final passage on September 15.

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September 1, 2020 •

Wisconsin Lawmakers Convene and Leave Session Open

Wisconsin Capitol

Wisconsin Capitol - photo by Dori

Wisconsin lawmakers convened the special session called by Gov. Tony Evers on August 31. The session met for less than a minute and adjourned until September 3, in what is termed a skeletal session. No Senate Republicans were present for […]

Wisconsin lawmakers convened the special session called by Gov. Tony Evers on August 31.

The session met for less than a minute and adjourned until September 3, in what is termed a skeletal session.

No Senate Republicans were present for the session.

Wisconsin law does not require lawmakers to take any action during a special session.

The session is adjourned for three days to comply with the constitutional requirement that neither house may adjourn without the consent of the other for more than 3 days.

They may continue in this manner until both houses agree on a course of action or to adjourn sine die.

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September 1, 2020 •

Judge Upholds Montana Gov’s Political Spending Disclosure Rule

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock - Gage Skidmore

A federal judge on Monday upheld an executive order by Gov. Steve Bullock requiring companies to report political spending if they want to bid on large state contracts. U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell ruled the Illinois Opportunity Project does not […]

A federal judge on Monday upheld an executive order by Gov. Steve Bullock requiring companies to report political spending if they want to bid on large state contracts.

U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell ruled the Illinois Opportunity Project does not have the legal standing to challenge the governor’s 2018 order requiring reporting of contributions even to so called dark money groups.

Judge Lovell had dismissed the complaint in January due to lack of standing.

However, he gave the Illinois Opportunity Project another chance to prove the executive order would cause it to suffer an actual or imminent, as opposed to hypothetical, loss of a legally protected right.

Under Bullock’s order, companies submitting bids for contracts valued at more than $25,000 for services or $50,000 for goods must disclose two years’ worth of political spending if the spending exceeds $2,500.

The order allows Montana to bring transparency to spending by groups classified as social welfare organizations under the federal tax code.

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September 1, 2020 •

California Legislature Adjourns for the Year

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California State Capitol Building - Jeff Turner

Lawmakers ended the 2020 legislative session beleaguered by COVID-19, wildfires, a tanked economy, and a looming eviction crisis. Each chamber worked through roughly 100 bills on their final day, before adjourning after midnight. The Senate kept passing bills until shortly […]

Lawmakers ended the 2020 legislative session beleaguered by COVID-19, wildfires, a tanked economy, and a looming eviction crisis.

Each chamber worked through roughly 100 bills on their final day, before adjourning after midnight.

The Senate kept passing bills until shortly after 1 a.m.

Some of the bills lawmakers sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom include eviction relief, police reform, COVID-19 response, and a flavored tobacco ban.

The governor has until September 30 to sign or veto any of the bills.

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August 31, 2020 •

District Court Enjoins Missouri Ethics Commission from Enforcing 60-day Formation Deadline for PACs

Missouri Capitol Building

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri granted a preliminary injunction enjoining the Missouri Ethics Commission from enforcing the 60-day formation deadline for continuing committees and PACs, including out-of-state and federal committees. The court found the requirement […]

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri granted a preliminary injunction enjoining the Missouri Ethics Commission from enforcing the 60-day formation deadline for continuing committees and PACs, including out-of-state and federal committees.

The court found the requirement for committees to file a statement of organization no later than 60 days before an election for which the committee receives contributions to likely be unconstitutional.

In granting the injunction, the court relied upon the decision of the Eighth Circuit in Missourians for Fiscal Accountability v. Klahr, which found Missouri’s 30-day formation deadline for campaign committees unconstitutional.

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August 27, 2020 •

North Dakota Supreme Court Removes Measure 3 from November Ballot

North Dakota State Capitol

North Dakota State Capitol - By Bobak Ha'Eri

The North Dakota Supreme Court granted a writ of injunction to keep Measure 3 off the ballot. In a unanimous ruling, the justices enjoined Secretary of State Al Jaeger from placing the initiated measure on the ballot. The measure seeks […]

The North Dakota Supreme Court granted a writ of injunction to keep Measure 3 off the ballot.

In a unanimous ruling, the justices enjoined Secretary of State Al Jaeger from placing the initiated measure on the ballot.

The measure seeks to amend the North Dakota Constitution concerning elections and legislative districting, referencing the North Dakota Century Code.

Additionally, it does not comply with the constitutional requirement to contain the full text of the measure.

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August 27, 2020 •

Texas Governor Sets Special Election for Senate Seat

Gov. Greg Abbott

Gov. Greg Abbott - by World Travel & Tourism Council

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered an emergency special election on September 29 for Texas State Senate District 30. The emergency order will elect a state senator to serve out the unexpired term of Pat Fallon, who announced his plans to resign […]

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered an emergency special election on September 29 for Texas State Senate District 30.

The emergency order will elect a state senator to serve out the unexpired term of Pat Fallon, who announced his plans to resign from the seat effective January 4, 2021.

Additionally, Fallon announced his plans to run for election to the U.S. House to represent the 4th Congressional District of Texas.

This move allowed Gov. Abbott to call the special election ahead of the vacancy.

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August 27, 2020 •

Idaho Legislature Wraps Up Special Session

Idaho Capitol Building - JSquish

The Legislature concluded its special session late Wednesday night after three days of protests and public outrage regarding the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Three bills were sent to Gov. Brad Little’s desk, including two election related bills and […]

The Legislature concluded its special session late Wednesday night after three days of protests and public outrage regarding the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Three bills were sent to Gov. Brad Little’s desk, including two election related bills and a bill shielding businesses and schools from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

The election related bills would guarantee in-person voting would be allowed in some form across Idaho.

This was guaranteed regardless of any emergency orders in effect.

The bills would also buy more time for county clerks to process the expected large influx of mail-in ballots for the November election.

Gov. Little has five days from the time he receives the bills to either sign them or veto them.

If he does neither, the bills will become law automatically.

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August 27, 2020 •

Wisconsin Governor Calls Special Session

Wisconsin State Capitol

Wisconsin State Capitol Building

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is calling the legislature into special session. The main topic will be to consider a package of nine bills introduced in June relating to police reform in the wake of recent protests. The special session is […]

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is calling the legislature into special session.

The main topic will be to consider a package of nine bills introduced in June relating to police reform in the wake of recent protests.

The special session is set to begin at noon on August 31.

The length of the session will be determined by the Legislature.

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August 26, 2020 •

Judge Orders Paterson, NJ City Council Special Election

Paterson, NJ

Paterson, NJ - Jared Kofsky/Placenj.com

On August 19, Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela voided the results of the May elections for the Paterson, New Jersey City Council’s Third Ward. Judge Caposela ordered a special election to fill the vacant seat with the five previously filed […]

On August 19, Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela voided the results of the May elections for the Paterson, New Jersey City Council’s Third Ward.

Judge Caposela ordered a special election to fill the vacant seat with the five previously filed candidates.

After losing the May elections, incumbent William McKoy initiated a lawsuit.

The lawsuit cites fraud by the Councilman-elect Alex Mendez and disputes the election results.

Additionally, Mr. Mendez is currently facing voter fraud charges from the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General.

Finally, the special election will be held on November 3 along with a special election for the City Council’s Second Ward.

The Second Ward seat remains vacant after the May municipal elections ended in a tie after three recounts.

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