Maryland Making Additional Changes to Pay-to-Play Law

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Kenneth A. Gross Ki P. Hong Matthew Bobys Melissa L. Miles Charles M. Ricciardelli Tyler Rosen Shayla K. Parker

Maryland's pay-to-play reporting law is set to undergo another round of changes later this year. The legislature has passed and the governor is expected to sign a bill that makes further changes to the regime that took effect January 1, 2015. It will require companies that had Maryland state contracts worth at least $200,000 as of December 31, 2014, to file semiannual reports beginning this August even if they have not received new contracts this year. The new law also will ease the reporting burden on companies that do not have reportable contributions and will change the reporting schedule after the August semiannual report.

In our previous mailings, we noted that the pay-to-play law did not require companies that had never filed pay-to-play reports with Maryland to file until they entered into a new $200,000 contract after January 1, 2015. Recognizing that the law as written did not require these companies to file, Maryland has amended the law so that companies with existing business as of December 31, 2014, will need to file semiannually, starting with the August report.

Companies whose covered donors have not made contributions of $500 or more in a reporting period will be relieved from the full burden of contract disclosure. Instead, they only will be required to indicate with which government agencies they do business. They will not need to disclose the value of such contracts or their award, start and termination dates.

The reporting periods also will shift under the new law. The next semiannual report will be due on August 31 instead of August 5 and cover the period from February 1, 2015, through July 31, 2015. The next report will be due on November 30, 2015, and cover the period of August 1 through October 31. After that, the filing will shift to its permanent schedule: November through April due by the end of May, and May through October due by the end of November.

There are other technical changes to the law as well. The law will take effect on June 1, 2015.

The bill is available here.

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