November 10, 2010 •
With the passage and subsequent gubernatorial approval of Senate Bill 507, Louisiana has extended the application of its lobbying law to local governments. The provisions of the bill take effect on January 1, 2011.
Although the provisions of the bill were enacted as a new and separate chapter in the Louisiana Revised Statutes, they largely mirror the requirements of the lobbying laws already applicable to legislative and executive branch lobbying on the state level. For example, as it is on the state level, registrations expire on December 31st of each year and registration renewals are due on January 31st at the latest. Reports of local lobbying activity are due on the 25th day of each month, as they are at the state level. And the information required to be disclosed is largely the same.
The bill contains a provision found in the state executive branch lobbying law, but not in the legislative branch lobbying law, which allows an employer to file reports on behalf of all the lobbyists representing that employer’s interests. An employer wishing to exercise that option must notify the board of ethics by January 31st.
Unlike the state-level lobbying laws, the bill does not specify a registration fee for local lobbyists.
The Louisiana Board of Ethics is responsible under the bill for administering and enforcing the provisions of the bill. This includes educational activities and seminars related to the bill, as well as the assessment of late filing fees.
State and Federal Communications will continue to monitor developments with regard to local lobbying laws in Louisiana as the bill goes into effect and is implemented by the board of ethics.
Photo of the Louisiana State Capitol by Bluepoint951 on Wikipedia.
November 9, 2010 •
Public Hearing for Late Filing of Campaign Reports
The 19th Judicial District Court of Baton Rouge has ruled the Ethics Board cannot enforce penalties for campaign finance violations. The court found a separate Ethics Adjudicatory Board must conduct public hearings when the Ethics Board alleges the late filing of, or absence of filing, campaign reports.
The Ethics Board had argued campaign violations requiring investigations were already referred to the Ethics Adjudicatory Board, but cases involving the mere failure to file reports on time, or not at all, did not require any investigation, and therefore did not require a separate hearing. The division of giving the Ethics Board investigatory and prosecutorial authority, while giving the Ethics Adjudicatory Board judicial power, comes from a 2008 change in the law meant to streamline the regulatory process.
July 6, 2010 •
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed House Bill 292.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed House Bill 292, a measure which will switch the state’s congressional elections to an open primary system, effective for the 2012 congressional elections.
Instead of the currently utilized three-tiered election cycle, wherein there is a party primary, followed by a party runoff, and culminating with the general election, HB 292 now advances the candidates with the top two vote totals from the primary to the November general election, regardless of party affiliation.
Jindal was under pressure from both political parties to not sign the bill into law, but he noted that the measure will potentially save the state more than $13 million during each congressional election cycle.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.