50 State Table: Staff and Political Activity - Chamber Rules

3/28/2018

Legislative employees are often relied upon by legislators to serve non-partisan and impartial roles. Republicans, Democrats, Independents and third-party legislators, regardless of majority or minority status, may rely upon the same staff members for the proper functioning of a legislature. Chamber rules and statutes may attempt to preserve the perception of staff impartiality by restricting the political activities in which employees may engage.

Some states govern legislative employees’ political activity by statute. NCSL maintains a survey of how each state’s statutes address the issue. Chamber rules are also sometimes used as a way of regulating employee conduct when statutes are silent on the issue or when a chamber deems it appropriate to provide additional direction on the permissibility or impermissibility of staff political activities.

A House or Senate may have different rules that apply only to employees of the respective body. The following table describes each restriction set by chamber rules on employee political activities.

This table is intended to provide general information and does not necessarily address all aspects of this topic. Because the facts of each situation may vary, this information may need to be supplemented by consulting legal advisors. All content is up to date through 3/27/2018.

The box allows you to conduct a full text search or type the state name.

STAFF AND POLITICAL ACTIVITY - CHAMBER RULES
STATE STATUTE
Alabama

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Alaska

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Arizona

Employees of the Senate AND House are prohibited from lobbying during the term of their employment, and a violation of this rule will be sufficient cause for the summary discharge of the offending employees. Senate Rule 1 & House Rule 3.

Arkansas

A Senator shall not knowingly use or attempt to use official position for personal gain, including the time or counsel of public employees. Senate Rule 24.05

California

An employee may not engage in any outside business activity or outside employment that is inconsistent, incompatible, or in conflict with his or her functions or responsibilities as an employee of the Assembly. Any employee who engages in any outside business activity or employment that is in any way related to his or her functions or responsibilities as an employee shall promptly notify the Committee on Rules of that business activity or employment. Assembly Rule 24.

Staff for the Committee on Rules must refrain from engaging in partisan activities regarding a Senate or Assembly election campaign. Senate Rule 12.3. Senate staff generally may volunteer and participate in campaign activities, but not while at work. Staff may not use resources for personal or campaign purposes, and may not be intimidated, coerced, or compelled, as a condition of continued employment or appointment, to volunteer time or contribute money to a candidate or campaign. Standards of Conduct of the Senate Rule 9.

Colorado

Employees of the House may not invite, solicit, or urge any member to vote for or against any bill or other measure or use his or her influence while carrying out the duties of his or her position on the premises of the state capitol building. House Rule 44.

Connecticut

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Delaware

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

District of Columbia

Employees may take an active part in political management or campaigns. However, employees may not engage in political activity while at work or on duty, in a room or building occupied in the discharge of official D.C. duties, while wearing a uniform or official insignia, or in a District owned or leased vehicle. Use of government resources for political campaigns is prohibited. Ethics Manual, p. 60-70, available at dchr.dc.gov.

Florida

Political activity of Senate employees regulated pursuant to the Senate Administrative Policies and Procedures. Senate Rule 1.32. Unable to locate the Policies and Procedures online.

Except when operating under direction from a member with authority over the designated employee, no House employee shall seek to influence the passage or rejection of proposed legislation. House Rule 4.3. 

Georgia

No senator or staff shall solicit campaign contributions in a state office building. Senators shall not operate political campaigns or fund-raising from state office buildings which have not been leased or rented for such purposes. Senate Rule 1-4.2.

No member or employee of the House shall: perform or withhold, or imply such, any official action solely as a result of a person's decision to provide or not provide a political contribution, or; perform or withhold, or state or imply such, any constituent service solely as a result of a person's decision to provide or not provide a political contribution. House Rule 171.4. May not use any state resources for nonlegislative purposes, for the private benefit of any person, or the purpose of soliciting campaign funds.  House Rule 171.2.

Guam

No employee shall actively campaign against any political candidate of that employee's own party as reflected on the employee's voter registration record. Standing Rules 14.04.

Hawaii

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Idaho

Any employee of the Senate, or of its committees, soliciting or inviting any Senator to vote or use his influence for any bill or matter before the Senate, shall be dismissed at once from the Senate, and shall be dismissed at once from service and employment. Senate Rule 46.

Illinois

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Indiana

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Iowa

Employees of the House may not accept employment from a political action committee. Exception for candidate's committee, a political party's action committee, or a PAC that does not expressly advocate for the nomination, election, or defeat of a candidate for public office or is not interested in issues before the general assembly. House Code of Ethics Rule 2.

Kansas

No House employee shall lobby for or against any measure pending in the Legislature. House Rule 4301.

Kentucky

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Louisiana

No person employed by the House shall lobby for or against, or under any other guise engage in any activity in support of or in opposition to, any legislative instrument or other matter before the House or Senate during the course of any session. House Rule 3.4.

Maine

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Maryland

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Massachusetts

No employee shall use or attempt to use improper means to influence an agency, board, authority, commission of the Commonwealth, any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or any other entity. Every reasonable effort shall be made to avoid situations where it might appear that the employee is making such use of official position. Senate Rule 10. No full time employee of the Senate shall engage in any outside business activity during regular business hours, whether the Senate is in session or not. Senate Rule 10A.

Michigan

A Senator shall not convert for personal, business or campaign use, unrelated to Senate business, supplies, services, facilities or staff provided by the State. Senate Rule 1.309 & 1.401.

Minnesota

An employee of the House must not participate in campaign activity during working hours. An employee must not be obliged to participate in campaign activities as a condition of employment. House equipment must not be used for campaign activities. House Rule 9.05.

Mississippi 

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Missouri

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Montana

A legislative employee or aide of either house is prohibited from lobbying, although a legislative committee may request testimony from a person so restricted. House Rule H20-60.

Nebraska

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Nevada

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

New Hampshire

No employee or attaché of the House Sergeant-at-Arms shall, directly or indirectly, be personally involved with or attempt to influence the passage or consideration of any measure whatsoever. House Rule 62.

New Jersey

Partisan staff employees may not assign or engage in campaign work on State time. Campaign work is work that does not reasonably and primarily fulfill the employee's official duties and materially contributes to a person's chance of election or reelection to public or party office, or the financial prospects or the electoral advantage of a political party or candidate. Not prohibited if it occurs on rare and isolated occasions and imposes little or no cost to the State and is incidental or subordinate to other work which has a primary public purpose. Assembly Rule 31. Partisan staff employees may engage in campaign work voluntarily whenever not present in State facilities or obligated to perform legislative duties. Assembly Rule 32. May not use state property or resources. Assembly Rule 33.

Senate Rules mirror the Assembly Rules above, including the rule numbers.

New Mexico

No senator or senate employee may solicit campaign contributions on his behalf during any regular or special session. Senate Rule 7-17.

No member of the house of representatives, or any agent on his behalf, shall knowingly solicit a contribution for a political purpose for that period beginning January 1 prior to any regular session of the legislature and ending on the twentieth day following the adjournment of the regular session. For purposes of this rule, "political purpose" means influencing or attempting to influence an election, including a constitutional amendment or other question submitted to the voters. House Rule 7-17.

New York

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

North Carolina

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

North Dakota

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Ohio

A member of the General Assembly shall utilize employees only for the official purposes for which they are employed. No candidate for General Assembly or associated campaign committee may accept contributions from a state employee appointed by a member of the General Assembly, or is otherwise employed in the House, Senate, or any legislative agency. Legislative Code of Ethics 8.

Oklahoma

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Oregon

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Pennsylvania

No campaign activity may be conducted by a Senate employee on Senate work time. Senate employees are permitted to engage in campaign activities on their own time. No coincident payment for work and campaigning activities. No campaign activity may be conducted by a senator or senate employee in a senate office or with senate resources. De minimis activities excluded if unavoidable or unsolicited. Senate employees may not be required to perform any campaign activity or make any campaign contribution. Senate Ethics Rule 2.

No money appropriated for members' and employees' expenses shall be used for contributions to political parties or their affiliated organizations. House Rule 14. Other rules mirror Senate restrictions on employees' political activities. House Rule 2E.

Rhode Island

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

South Carolina

No employee of the House shall personally interest or concern himself with the passage or consideration of any measure whatsoever. House Rule 3.7. 

South Dakota

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Tennessee

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Texas

All officers and employees of the Senate are prohibited from lobbying in favor of or against any measure or proposition pending before the Senate, and should any officer or employee violate this rule, the same shall be cause for dismissal from the service of the Senate by the President. Senate Rule 2.03.

Utah

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Vermont

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Virginia

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Virgin Islands

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Washington

No senate employee shall lobby in favor of or against any matter under consideration. Senate Rule 6.

No house employee shall seek to influence the passage or rejection of proposed legislation. House Rule 6.

West Virginia

No employee of the Senate shall, at any time, engage in activity to influence the vote or opinion of any Senator on any subject of legislative consideration, under penalty of immediate dismissal by the Committee on Rules. Senate Rule 55. An identical rule applies to House employees. House Rule 137.

Wisconsin

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members. 

Wyoming

No chamber or joint rules were found that restrict the political activities of staff members.