April 3, 2020 •

Justices Decline Challenge to Seattle Democracy Vouchers

U.S. Supreme Court Building

United States Supreme Court Building

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to Seattle’s first-in-the-nation democracy voucher program for public financing of political campaigns. The court denied the challenge brought by two local property owners arguing the program violated the First Amendment by forcing them, […]

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to Seattle’s first-in-the-nation democracy voucher program for public financing of political campaigns.

The court denied the challenge brought by two local property owners arguing the program violated the First Amendment by forcing them, through their tax dollars, to support candidates they don’t like.

In 2015, Seattle voters decided to tax themselves $3 million a year in order to receive four $25 vouchers they can donate to participating candidates in city elections.

The state Supreme Court unanimously upheld the voucher program last year.

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March 27, 2020 •

Washington Governor Signs Political Contribution Bill

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Washington State Capitol Building - Cacophony

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill concerning certification of the level of foreign national ownership for corporations participating in state elections. Senate Bill 6152 requires a certification from each corporation making a contribution to the candidate, political committee, or incidental […]

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill concerning certification of the level of foreign national ownership for corporations participating in state elections.

Senate Bill 6152 requires a certification from each corporation making a contribution to the candidate, political committee, or incidental committee stating the corporation’s ownership comprises less than 50% foreign nationals.

The bill becomes effective June 11, 2020.

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March 13, 2020 •

Washington Legislature Adjourns, Ups COVID-19 Funding

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Washington State Capitol Building - Cacophony

The 2020 session of the Washington State Legislature adjourned sine die on March 12 after 60 days in session. Lawmakers’ final hours of work were overshadowed by the continued onslaught of COVID-19 news in the state. This prompted passage of […]

The 2020 session of the Washington State Legislature adjourned sine die on March 12 after 60 days in session.

Lawmakers’ final hours of work were overshadowed by the continued onslaught of COVID-19 news in the state.

This prompted passage of a supplemental state budget doubling funding from $100 million to $200 million for the COVID-19 response.

Lawmakers noted the sense of urgency to finish their work quickly due to growing concerns about the spread of the virus.

During the session, legislators passed a bill concerning certification of the level of foreign national ownership for corporations participating in state elections.

Senate Bill 6152 requires a certification from each corporation making a contribution to the candidate, political committee, or incidental committee.

The certification must state the corporation’s ownership is comprised of less than 50% of foreign nationals.

Legislators also passed a procurement bill providing for accountability and transparency in government contracting.

House Bill 1521 requires evaluation of contract performance.

The evaluation assess whether decisions to contract out government services to the private sector are achieving their stated objectives.

In addition, the bill intends to ensure public contractors given access to state resources are held to ethical standards consistent with public values.

Gov. Jay Inslee has 20 days to act on the bills.

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January 28, 2020 •

Washington Bill Aims to End Appearance of Lobbying Impropriety

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Washington State Capitol Building - Cacophony

Washington lawmakers have reintroduced a bill to impose a two year cooling off period to slow a revolving door of state officials and employees becoming lobbyists when they leave state employment. House Bill 1067 is intended to reduce the perception […]

Washington lawmakers have reintroduced a bill to impose a two year cooling off period to slow a revolving door of state officials and employees becoming lobbyists when they leave state employment.

House Bill 1067 is intended to reduce the perception of lobbyist impropriety.

The House Committee on State Government and Tribal Relations passed the bill out of committee.

The bill needs to pass the Rules Committee before getting a vote of the full House.

The State Government and Tribal Relations Committee passed the legislation during the last session, but the bill stalled.

The legislation would apply to state officers and employees who are employed by the state on or after July 1, 2021.

A companion bill, Senate Bill 5033, is moving through the Senate and passed to the Rules Committee.

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January 15, 2020 •

Seattle Passes Two Bills in the Clean Campaigns Act

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Seattle City Hall - Rootology

The Seattle City Council unanimously passed two bills banning most political spending by foreign-influenced corporations and clamping down on political advertising. These bills are part of the Clean Campaigns Act, a three-bill package introduced in August of last year. The […]

The Seattle City Council unanimously passed two bills banning most political spending by foreign-influenced corporations and clamping down on political advertising.

These bills are part of the Clean Campaigns Act, a three-bill package introduced in August of last year.

The first bill prevents corporations with a single foreign national investor holding at least 1% ownership, or two or more holding at least 5% ownership from contributing directly to Seattle candidates, political races, or through PACs.

Companies that have a non-U.S. investor making decisions on its U.S. political activities will also be prevented from political spending.

The measure closes a loophole because foreign individuals and foreign-based entities already are barred from making contributions in U.S. elections.

The second bill adds transparency to the political advertising realm.

It requires any paid advertisement regarding a political matter of local importance to follow stricter reporting guidelines and to retain and provide records about these advertisements.

The third bill, which would place a cap on Super PAC contributions, remains in the Select Committee on Campaign Finance Reform for further discussions.

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January 9, 2020 •

Alex Ramel Appointed to Replace Jeff Morris as Washington State Representative

Alex Ramel

At a joint meeting of the councils from Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan counties, Alex Ramel was selected to replace Rep. Jeff Morris in the 40th Legislative District. Rep. Morris resigned from the Washington legislature to take a position with […]

At a joint meeting of the councils from Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan counties, Alex Ramel was selected to replace Rep. Jeff Morris in the 40th Legislative District.

Rep. Morris resigned from the Washington legislature to take a position with Schneider Electric.

Ramel was sworn in on the same day Rep. Morris officially resigned.

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January 8, 2020 •

Seattle City Council Considering Caps on Super PAC Donations

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The Seattle City Council is considering legislation limiting the ability of Super PACs to spend unlimited amounts of money in Seattle elections. Council Member Lorena González introduced the Clean Campaigns Act to reduce the amount of money Super PACs funnel […]

The Seattle City Council is considering legislation limiting the ability of Super PACs to spend unlimited amounts of money in Seattle elections.

Council Member Lorena González introduced the Clean Campaigns Act to reduce the amount of money Super PACs funnel into elections.

The proposed legislation would limit Super PACs from receiving more than $5,000 per year from any single individual or corporation.

The act would also block multinational corporations, defined as companies with more than one percent ownership from a single foreign national or more than five percent ownership from multiple foreign nationals, from spending money on local elections.

Another proposed change would require all political advertising outside of election years to follow similar reporting requirements to current rules for election advertisements.

The Clean Campaigns Act is currently being considered in council chambers and could see a full council vote as early as next week.

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December 19, 2019 •

Washington State Representative Resigns

Former Rep. Kristine Reeves

State Rep. Kristine Reeves, a Federal Way Democrat, resigned from the Legislature Monday. Reeves, who represented the 30th Legislative District, implied she may run for the U.S. Congress next year. There will not be a special election to fill the […]

State Rep. Kristine Reeves, a Federal Way Democrat, resigned from the Legislature Monday.

Reeves, who represented the 30th Legislative District, implied she may run for the U.S. Congress next year.

There will not be a special election to fill the vacancy. Instead, the state Democrat party will call a meeting of the 30th District Precinct Committee officers to choose three candidates.

King and Pierce county council members will then host a joint meeting to choose Reeves’ successor.

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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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April 29, 2019 •

NYCU Video Digest – April 29, 20198

More ethics and campaign finance changes happening at the state level. Check out which states are making moves in today’s NYCU Video Digest!  

More ethics and campaign finance changes happening at the state level. Check out which states are making moves in today’s NYCU Video Digest!

 

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April 29, 2019 •

Washington Legislature Adjourns Sine Die

The Washington Legislature adjourned sine die April 28. During the 105-day legislative session, lawmakers passed House Bill 1195 amending the definitions of commercial advertiser and independent expenditure. House Bill 1195 requires independent expenditures to be reported electronically with the Public […]

The Washington Legislature adjourned sine die April 28.

During the 105-day legislative session, lawmakers passed House Bill 1195 amending the definitions of commercial advertiser and independent expenditure.

House Bill 1195 requires independent expenditures to be reported electronically with the Public Disclosure Commission if the aggregate value of similar expenditures from the same source exceeds $1,000.

The Legislature also passed House Bill 1379 raising the threshold for identifying and disclosing the top five contributors of a political advertisement sponsored by a political committee from $700 to $1,000.

House Bill 1379 requires political advertisements to disclose the sponsor’s top five contributors and if any are political committees the sponsor must also disclose the top three donors to those contributors.

The bills have been delivered to the Gov. Jay Inslee to sign, veto part of it, or veto all of it.

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March 29, 2018 •

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Partially Vetoes then Signs Campaign Finance Bill

Gov. Jay Inslee partially vetoed and signed into law a bill addressing campaign finance reporting and enforcement requirements. The governor vetoed provisions in House Bill 2938 relating to independent expenditure reporting and special reporting requirements for large contributors. Signed into […]

Gov. Jay Inslee partially vetoed and signed into law a bill addressing campaign finance reporting and enforcement requirements.

The governor vetoed provisions in House Bill 2938 relating to independent expenditure reporting and special reporting requirements for large contributors.

Signed into law are provisions in the bill limiting the attorney general’s enforcement jurisdiction to matters referred from the Public Disclosure Commission, as well as provisions amending filing procedures for citizen’s enforcement actions.

The law takes effect June 7, 2018.

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March 21, 2018 •

Washington Passes Law Requiring Disclosure from Nonprofits Engaged in Political Campaigns

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the DISCLOSE Act, a law requiring certain nonprofit organizations to file organizational statements and periodic disclosure statements with the Public Disclosure Commission. Under the new law, these organizations will be required to disclose […]

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the DISCLOSE Act, a law requiring certain nonprofit organizations to file organizational statements and periodic disclosure statements with the Public Disclosure Commission.

Under the new law, these organizations will be required to disclose the top 10 donors whose contributions aggregate to $10,000 or more in the calendar year if the nonprofit expects to make contributions or expenditures that aggregate to at least $25,000 in any calendar year in Washington state election campaigns, including ballot initiatives.

The DISCLOSE Act goes into effect on January 1, 2019.

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March 12, 2018 •

Washington Legislature Adjourns

The Washington State Legislature adjourned sine die on March 8. House Bill 2938, which increases penalties for campaign finance violations, and Senate Bill 5991, which requires nonprofit organizations that participate in political campaigns to file organizational statements and periodic disclosure […]

The Washington State Legislature adjourned sine die on March 8.

House Bill 2938, which increases penalties for campaign finance violations, and Senate Bill 5991, which requires nonprofit organizations that participate in political campaigns to file organizational statements and periodic disclosure statements, have passed both chambers are on the governor’s desk.

Gov. Jay Inslee has 20 days from the days he received these bills to sign or veto the bills.

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