June 12, 2017 •

Puerto Ricans Vote on Issue of Statehood

Puerto Ricans went to the polls Sunday to vote on whether Puerto Rico should become America’s 51st state. Voters chose between remaining a commonwealth, becoming a state, or gaining sovereignty with an official affiliation with the United States.

Critics viewed the election as flawed, arguing the ballot language was skewed to favor the pro-statehood New Progressive Party. Ninety-seven percent of ballots cast were in favor of statehood.

However, on an island averaging roughly 80 percent voter turnout, only 23 percent of registered voters participated in Sunday’s election.

Nevertheless, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló plans to take the referendum results to Washington, D.C. and speak with Congress, the White House, and various agencies regarding admitting Puerto Rico to the union.

May 28, 2020 •

Illinois Special Session Adjourned

Illinois Capitol

Illinois State Capitol Building

The Illinois Legislature adjourned on May 24 at the end of a special session that started on May 20. Initially, the Senate met at the Capitol and the House at the Bank of Springfield Center to accommodate social distancing due […]

The Illinois Legislature adjourned on May 24 at the end of a special session that started on May 20.

Initially, the Senate met at the Capitol and the House at the Bank of Springfield Center to accommodate social distancing due to COVID-19 concerns.

The abbreviated special session focused mainly on budget issues and COVID-19 related legislation.

No bill permitting the Legislature to convene virtually was passed during this session.

Therefore, the Legislature will convene in person for the veto session scheduled to begin November 17.

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May 28, 2020 •

Arizona Legislature Adjourns Sine Die

Arizona State Capitol

Arizona State Capitol - by Visitor7

The Arizona Legislature adjourned sine die on May 26 after the Senate’s swift move to adjourn was approved. The Senate had voted to end the session when it convened previously on May 8. However, this vote was met with opposition […]

The Arizona Legislature adjourned sine die on May 26 after the Senate’s swift move to adjourn was approved.

The Senate had voted to end the session when it convened previously on May 8.

However, this vote was met with opposition by Republican lawmakers.

The sine die adjournment leaves hundreds of bills dead that had been progressing through the Capitol before lawmakers postponed the session in March.

Gov. Doug Ducey is expected to call lawmakers back to the Capitol for a special session in the coming weeks.

In this session they will deal with coronavirus-related legislation and the state budget.

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May 28, 2020 •

Thursday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance National: “‘Dark Money’ Groups Dodge Reporting Requirement in New Regulations” by Toby Eckert for Politico Elections National: “‘A Game-Changer’: Pandemic forces shift in black voter outreach” by Bridgett Bowman for Roll Call Ethics National: “Trump Pushes a Conspiracy […]

Campaign Finance

National: “‘Dark Money’ Groups Dodge Reporting Requirement in New Regulations” by Toby Eckert for Politico

Elections

National: “‘A Game-Changer’: Pandemic forces shift in black voter outreach” by Bridgett Bowman for Roll Call

Ethics

National: “Trump Pushes a Conspiracy Theory That Falsely Accuses a TV Host of Murder” by Peter Baker and Maggie Astor (New York Times) for MSN

National: “Twitter Labels Trump’s Tweets with a Fact Check for the First Time” by Elizabeth Dwoskin (Washington Post) for MSN

National: “Justice Dept. Ends Inquiries Into 3 Senators’ Stock Trades” by Katie Benner and Nicholas Fandos for New York Times

Colorado: “Hickenlooper Says He Won’t Appear Before Colorado Ethics Body for Video Trial in June” by Alex Burness for Denver Post

Connecticut: “Dalios Pull Out of State Education Partnership, Attack GOP Reps” by Kaitlyn Krasselt for Connecticut Post

Legislative Issues

National: “Republicans Sue Pelosi to Block House Proxy Voting During Pandemic” by Nicholas Fandos and Michael Schmidt for New York Times

Lobbying

Europe: “Lobbyist Register to Be Tightened After Monsanto Case” by Nikolaj Nielson for EU Observer

National: “As Residents Perish, Nursing Homes Fight for Protection from Lawsuits” by Maggie Severns and Rachel Roubien for Politico

National: “Facebook Ran Multi-Year Charm Offensive to Woo State Prosecutors” by Naomi Nix for Bloomberg Law

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May 27, 2020 •

New IRS Rules: Some Tax-Exempt Groups Don’t Have to Report Contributors

IRS Building, Washington DC

Home of the Internal Revenue Service - by Joshua Doubek

On May 28, new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations allowing certain tax-exempt organizations to refrain from reporting the names and addresses of contributors on their annual reports to the IRS will take effect and be published in the U.S. Federal […]

On May 28, new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations allowing certain tax-exempt organizations to refrain from reporting the names and addresses of contributors on their annual reports to the IRS will take effect and be published in the U.S. Federal Register.

 

This exemption from reporting applies to tax-exempt organizations generally not receiving tax-deductible contributions, such as labor unions, volunteer fire departments, issue-advocacy groups, local chambers of commerce, veterans’ groups, and community service clubs. These organizations are still required to continue to collect and keep the donor information and to make it available to the IRS upon its request. This change does not affect the information required to be reported by charities primarily receiving tax-deductible contributions, such as 501(c)(3) organizations, certain nonexempt private foundations, or 527 political organizations.

 

The Treasury Department and IRS had given three primary reasons for the change: the IRS makes no systematic use of this information collected by these organizations; the policy reduces the risk of inadvertent disclosure or misuse of confidential information; and the policy saves both private and government resources.

 

Previously, the IRS had issued a guidance to this effect, but on July 30, 2019, the IRS guidance limiting these disclosure requirements was set aside by a federal judge. In Bullock v. IRS, the U.S. District Court District of Montana (Great Falls) found the IRS violated the Administrative Procedure Act by not providing notice and allowing a public comment period before the guidance was issued. It predicated this decision by finding the guidance was a legislative rule. Subsequently, on September 6, the IRS issued a notice of a proposed rulemaking and accepted public comment.

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May 27, 2020 •

Wednesday’s LobbyComply News Roundup

Campaign Finance New York: “De Blasio’s NYC Campaign Account Hit with $16K Fine by Regulator” by Nolan Hicks for New York Post Elections Illinois: “Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Wins Latest Round in Suit Alleging Sham Candidates” by Ray Long […]

Campaign Finance

New York: “De Blasio’s NYC Campaign Account Hit with $16K Fine by Regulator” by Nolan Hicks for New York Post

Elections

Illinois: “Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Wins Latest Round in Suit Alleging Sham Candidates” by Ray Long for Chicago Tribune

Ethics

National: “Wealthiest Hospitals Got Billions in Bailout for Struggling Health Providers” by Jesse Drucker, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, and Sara Kliff (New York Times) for MSN

National: “Lawmakers Press GSA on Trump Hotel’s Request for Financial Relief During Pandemic” by Ccourtney Buble for Government Executive

Mississippi: “Mississippi Lawmakers Approved $300M in Small Business Grants. Can They Apply for the Money?” by Luke Ramseth for Jackson Clarion-Ledger

Lobbying

National: “Appeals Court Denies Lobbyists’ Efforts to Access Small-Business Loan Program” by Harper Neidig for The Hill

California: “Blind Spot: Lobbying behind California coronavirus contracts can stay secret” by Laurel Rosenhall for CalMatters

Florida: “Lobbyist Tied to Curry, JEA Bidder Paid City Hall’s Bar Tab at Jaguars Games” by Staff for Florida Times Union

Nebraska: “Nebraska Sees Increase in Lobbyists, Spending on Lobbyists” by Staff for AP News

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May 26, 2020 •

Hawaii Ethics Commission to Consider New Testimony for Proposed Lobbying, Gift Rules

Hawaii Capitol Building

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission voted to accept new testimony prior to its public hearing on May 21. The hearing is specifically concerning proposed amendments to the state lobbying and gift rules. In order to consider the new testimony, the […]

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission voted to accept new testimony prior to its public hearing on May 21.

The hearing is specifically concerning proposed amendments to the state lobbying and gift rules.

In order to consider the new testimony, the Commission deferred the matter to its next meeting scheduled for mid-June.

The proposals include:

  • Clarifications as to what activities constitute lobbying
  • Exclusions from lobbyist registration requirements
  • A requirement that expenditures be reported on an accrual rather than cash basis.

Additionally, the proposals would amend prohibitions on certain kinds of gifts, valuation of gifts, and gift disclosure statements.

Once the Commission approves the rules, the rules are subject to approval by the Department of the Attorney General and the governor. Afterward, they will be posted with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor for a period of 10 days before becoming effective.

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May 26, 2020 •

New Mexico Governor to Call Special Legislative Session

Governor Grisham

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham targeted June 18 for the start of a special legislative session. The session will be held to adjust the state budget amid a major hit to expected revenue related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, […]

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham targeted June 18 for the start of a special legislative session.

The session will be held to adjust the state budget amid a major hit to expected revenue related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, Governor Grisham hopes to reach bipartisan agreement on financial measures.

As of now, the state is on track to re-open thousands of more businesses and services on June 1.

The legislative session is expected to span several days.

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May 26, 2020 •

Judge Ends Two-year Limit on Campaign Contributions in Arkansas

Akransas State Capitol

Arkansas State Capitol

A federal judge has made his temporary injunction permanent in allowing Arkansas candidates for statewide office to accept campaign contributions more than two years before an election. U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. reinforced his initial ruling that it is […]

A federal judge has made his temporary injunction permanent in allowing Arkansas candidates for statewide office to accept campaign contributions more than two years before an election.

U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. reinforced his initial ruling that it is unconstitutional for the state to ban contributions for state office candidates more than two years before an election.

In January, a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Moody’s decision to grant a preliminary injunction against the state’s blackout period for accepting campaign contributions.

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