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November 16, 2016

New Mexico has been in the news for compliance quite a bit lately. In March, we covered upcoming changes in New Mexico’s lobbying regulations in the wake of scandal surrounding their former Secretary of State. Intended to expand transparency and accountability, the new legislation went into effect July 1 and aimed to clean up the campaign finance and lobbying reporting system. Read more

November 15, 2016

On October 19, 2016, the Philadelphia Board of Ethics proposed a number of changes to the city’s lobbying registration and reporting requirements. A hearing is scheduled on November 16th, at which time the public may offer testimony on the proposed amendments. Read more

November 15, 2016

Taking swift action to implement the new lobbying standards established with the signing of New York Senate Bill 8160 into law, the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics (“JCOPE”) has released a staff proposal of comprehensive lobbying regulations to provide a “one-stop shop” streamlining of the rules and vastly expanded requirements associated with engaging in lobbying in New York, and advocacy professionals are on notice. Read more

November 11, 2016

On Election Day, voters in three states decided to invest more money in transportation infrastructure and protect current transportation funds. Voters in Maine approved $100 million in bonds for transportation projects, while voters in Illinois and New Jersey approved measures to help protect the states’ transportation trust funds from being used for non-transportation purposes. Read more

November 10, 2016

Right-to-work advocates had something to cheer about outside the three statewide right-to-work related measures on the ballot on Tuesday. The GOP takeover of the Kentucky House and Eric Greitens'(R) successful run to replace Governor Nixon (D) in Missouri provides right-to-work supporting Republicans with complete control of the legislature and governor’s mansion in those states, and makes passage of a right-to-work law very likely next session in Kentucky and Missouri. Read more

November 10, 2016

Not unexpectedly, voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington all approved the minimum wage increases on statewide ballots Tuesday night. The single attempt to roll back a minimum wage in South Dakota came up significantly short of approval. Read more

November 10, 2016

Proponents of marijuana legalization had a good night on Tuesday after three states legalized recreational marijuana use, three states legalized medical marijuana use, and, while the race is too close to call, it appears voters in Maine approved recreational marijuana use by a razor thin margin of a couple of thousand votes. Read more

October 7, 2016

As a follow up to our earlier blog on the gubernatorial elections, we want to now focus on the over 6,000 out of 7,383 total seats in the 50 state legislatures that will be up for grabs this fall, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Please note that there are no state legislative elections this year (not including special elections) inAlabamaLouisianaMarylandMichigan SenateMississippiNew Jersey and Virginia. Read more

October 4, 2016

With so much (all?) of the focus on the presidential election, as well as races for the U.S. House and Senate, it’s easy to forget that 12 governors’ races will also be decided on election day, and most states have legislative elections this year as well. With this in mind, the analysts at MultiState have put together a handy breakdown of the 2016 state government elections. This blog post covers gubernatorial elections, with a rundown of state legislatures coming later this week. Read more

October 3, 2016

Last July, the MultiState Insider published an article about the increasing attention devoted to employee misclassification. In particular, the article touched on how lawsuits involving ride-sharing companies had pushed the issue of employee misclassification to the forefront of state legislative agendas. That attention has compounded over the last year as ride-sharing companies have continued to increase their reliance on freelance drivers to keep up with the burgeoning “gig-economy.” Most ride-sharing companies classify their drivers as independent contractors as opposed to regular employees, and this legal distinction is one that some drivers feel is unfair. Read more

September 29, 2016

As we reported in the past, laws regulating employee schedules have been spreading at the state and local level ever since San Francisco passed its first-in-the-nation “Retail Workers Bill of Rights” ordinance in November 2014. These ordinances, variously referred to as “predictive scheduling,” “fair scheduling,” “secure scheduling,” “fair workweek,” or “just hours,” generally mandate that employers provide employees with their schedules two to four weeks in advance and require employers to provide employees with “predictability pay” if changes to work schedules are made within this window. This year, 13 states and four localities, including D.C., considered legislation relating to predictive scheduling. Read more

September 28, 2016

Several states and many localities have enacted legislation recently ‘banning the box’— on job applications, the question asking if a candidate has ever been convicted of a felony — and prohibiting employers from running background checks on candidates until the employer has made a conditional offer of employment. Public employee hiring in many states and localities already prohibit this practice, but the push to expand ‘ban the box’ to private employment is fairly new. Read more

September 27, 2016

Most states are not yet even three full months into their new fiscal year (FY), but budgetary cracks are already starting to show. Many states are wrestling with systemic difficulties that have been hobbling their economies for years, such as unfunded pension liabilities or a weakening energy sector. Some have been hit more recently by lower than expected revenue estimates that have thrown their books out of balance. Others are not in immediate fiscal danger, but could be tipped into crisis by even a mild economic downturn or adverse judicial decisions. In total it appears that 21 states are already facing budget shortfalls for the 2017 fiscal year. Read more

September 15, 2016

Two federal rules continue to impact registered investment advisors’ political contribution activity, often in increasingly visible and restrictive ways. Colloquially called “pay-to-play” rules, their policy rationale is to help ensure that government purchasing decisions are based on product or service quality, not political support. There is, however, a delicate balance between protecting the public interest and chilling contractors’ participation in the political process. Perceptions do matter, particularly in our highly polarized political climate. But it is somewhat unsettling when financial services (and often other) professionals must check their First Amendment rights at the door as a cost of pursuing their vocation. Read more

September 15, 2016

The EU’s Transparency Register is a registration tool for interest representatives seeking to directly or indirectly influence the EU decision-making process. Since 2011, it covers lobbying activities in the European Parliament and the Commission by virtue of an Interinstitutional Agreement. Registration in the Transparency Register is voluntary, however, the European Parliament and Commission have created incentives to encourage registration. For example, registered entities can be accredited to access Parliament premises, receive invitations to participate in public consultations, and can meet with high-level Commission officials. Read more

September 14, 2016

Wrapping up close to a year of high stakes and intense debate, on August 25, 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed New York Senate Bill 8160, making New York the first state to ban coordination and interaction between independent expenditure campaigns and candidates, and also set considerably tougher disclosure rules for political consultants and lobbyists. Read more

September 14, 2016

Most of us benefit in some way from the work of 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Whether we attend services at a local church, hike on trails maintained by a local volunteer organization, or are treated by doctors at some hospitals, we encounter the services of nonprofits every day. Even though new nonprofit organizations outstrip new businesses in sheer numbers, they have a distinctly smaller presence in lobbying local, state, and federal government. Confusion about regulations and stereotypes about lobbying are major contributors to this phenomenon. Read more

September 14, 2016

Within the world of state lobbying, the issue of legislators leaving elective office (willingly and unwillingly), is, as the headline says, a hot topic. While a former legislator (and of course, a former legislative staffer) can and do make effective lobbyists, understanding that transition is critical. Read more

September 8, 2016

Policymakers are increasingly faced with a stark reality: costs to build and maintain the country’s transportation infrastructure — namely the roads and bridges used by citizens to get from A to B and businesses to ship goods into, out of, and across the country — are on the rise, and the way we typically pay for that investment is raising less funds than necessary. Read more

September 1, 2016

In recent years, a large number of localities have considered and adopted ordinances banning so-called “puppy mills” and sales of animals from them at retail stores. Puppy mills are usually defined as breeding operations which sell animals at wholesale to retail establishments or pet stores. While the ordinances usually focus on the sale of dogs, some include banning the sales of cats and rabbits too. Jurisdictions that have passed pet store bans this year includeLos AngelesPhiladelphiaEast Rutherford (NJ), Key West, and Boston. Read more

August 24, 2016

Workplace pregnancy accommodation bills that provide protections beyond federal law have been trending in state capitols across the country. So far this year, Colorado and Utah have enacted such legislation. In total, we have identified and tracked 34 pregnancy accommodation bills in 18 states. Read more

August 23, 2016

Legislation addressing sales tax nexus has been a major trend across the country this year as states pursue strategies to overturn Quill after Justice Kennedy’s invitation to present an opportunity for the Court to review its precedent back in March 2015 (read more on that here). 42 bills were introduced in 16 states, with four bills ultimately enacted (Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Vermont) and one still in play (Ohio). Read more

August 22, 2016

The dispute between localities and state legislatures regarding the scope of local authority has been simmering over the past few years — especially concerning issues such as which wages and benefits employers must provide their employees. The debate came to a head this year in Alabama. Read more

August 18, 2016

With most legislatures wrapping up their work for the year, we’ve compiled a list of the “Top 10” business tax changes enacted in the states this year. While the states were relatively quiet from a tax perspective this legislative session—owing to the fact that lawmakers often shy away from major tax bills in an election year and that several big states weren’t scheduled to meet at all—there was still plenty of activity worth recapping. Read more

August 16, 2016

In April we reported on the growing number of states that are changing their lobbyist filing process in order to become more user friendly. On July 30, 2016, the Washington Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) followed suit by shifting to a new electronic filing system. According to the PDC, there were a number of changes made to the new platform to make filing lobbyist registrations, lobbyist monthly reports, and employer annual reports easier. Read more