Newsletter #14

Reform Caucus Legislative Update #14, April 14, 2017 

In short. This past week SB 197-FN-A (adding $200k over the biennium on the AG’s budget for enforcement of election laws) was heard in the House Finance Committee and HB 537 ($5,000 pre-filing loophole) was voted ITL 4-0 in the Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs Committee. Coming up next week is a Senate floor vote on HB 537 and a possible vote on SB 33 (independent spending loophole) in House Election Law. Looking further ahead, a work session on SB 197-FN-A is scheduled for Division I of the House Finance Committee on Tuesday, 4/25.

Note: Please join Take Back Our Republic and Open Democracy Action for a legislators' luncheon on Thursday, April 27th in the Parish Hall of St. Paul's Episcopal Church (across the street from the State House) at noon or the lunch break. Take Back’s Executive Director John Pudner will give the conservative perspective on campaign finance reform and explain how special-interest influence leads to increased state spending and higher government debt. Take Back Our Republic is a growing nonpartisan group with chapters in 37 states. Open Democracy was founded in 2009 by legendary NH reformer Doris “Granny D” Haddock, and is best known for its grassroots project NH Rebellion.

Reminders. (1) Open Democracy Action plans to create a legislative scorecard based on floor votes. It is critical, therefore, that votes on priority bills be roll calls. So please, when one of our bills comes up, be willing to ask for a roll call. (2) We are collecting and making available talking points, briefs, call scripts, and other useful documents on the ODA website. You can access them here. If you have documents you want us to make publicly available, send them to Olivia Zink: olivia@opendemocracy.me .

WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK, APRIL 10-14

Tuesday, April 11

HOUSE Finance

Hearing: SB 197-FN-A (amended) calls for an appropriation to the Department of Justice of $200,000 over two years to enforce election and lobbying laws. Prime sponsor: Sen. Feltes.

Open Democracy's Olivia Zink testified for the bill. Apparently the hearing on SB 197 was a confused affair with much questioning of the AG's office about previous appropriations for enforcement.

SENATE Election Law and Internal Affairs

Executive session: HB 537 closes the loophole that allows candidates to accept individual donations of up to $5,000 before they publically declare for office. 

Prime sponsor: Rep. Porter, Hills. 1.

In a hurried session, the committee voted the bill ITL unanimously 4-0 (Sen. Sanborn was absent). Quite a turnaround from the unanimous OTP vote in House Election Law. The reason for consensus in the Senate committee is unclear at this time.

COMING UP in the NEXT TWO WEEKS, APRIL 17-21 and 24-28

Tuesday, April 18

HOUSE Election Law

Representatives Hall, SH

Executive Session (maybe): SB 33  closes the loophole that allows independent spending groups to avoid registering with the Secretary of State and filing expenditure reports. Prime sponsor: Sen. Bradley.

10:00 AM  This session will likely be consumed by the hearing on SB 3, the ominous omnibus bill that complicates voting procedures in the state. However, the Committee may use any spare time to go into executive session on other bills.

Thursday, April 20

SENATE General session

Floor vote: HB 537  closes the loophole that allows candidates to accept individual donations of up to $5,000 before they publically declare for office. Prime sponsor: Rep. Porter, Hills. 1.

10:00 AM  HB 537 came out of Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs with a unanimous ITL recommendation. The fact that Democratic Sen. Soucy will speak for the Committee does not bode well.

Tuesday, April 25

HOUSE Finance (Division I)

Room 212 LOB

Work session: SB 197-FN-A (amended) calls for an appropriation to the Department of Justice of $200,000 over two years to enforce election and lobbying laws. Prime sponsor: Sen. Feltes.

11:00 AM  This may be an opportunity for more input on this bill.

Bill Status Summary – Top priority bills supported by ODA

HB 203-FN-A (redistricting commission): ITL full House 190-164, 2/15/17

HB 320 (computer redistricting): ITL full House 184-161, 3/8/17

HB 519 (clearinghouse): ITL full House 192-158, 3/8/17 

HB 533 (independent spending loophole, same as SB 33): Retained, House Election Law 20-0, 2/21/17

HB 537 ($5,000 pre-filing loophole): OTP full House (Consent Calendar voice vote, 3/8), ITL 4-0 Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs 4/11, Senate floor vote scheduled for 4/20

SB 33 (independent spending loophole, same as HB 533): OTP full Senate 14-9, 2/23, Possible executive session: House Election Law 4/18

SB 107 (redistricting commission, similar to HB 203): ITL full Senate 14-9, 3/30/17

SB 197-FN-A ($ for election law enforcement): OTP (with amendment) full Senate 23-0, 3/16. Work session scheduled in House Finance (Div. I) 4/25

Bill Status Summary – Other campaign finance bills supported by ODA

HB 116 (Citizens United): ITL full House 193-165, 3/9/17

HR 7 (Constitutional amendment): OTP full House 211-75, 2/9/17

SB 115 (LLC loophole): ITL full Senate 14-9, 2/23/17

To contact ODA:

Open Democracy Action: 4 Park Street Suite 301, Concord, NH 03301; Office: (603) 715-8197 

Olivia Zink: olivia@opendemocracy.me; (603) 661-8621 (cell)

Gordon Allen: wgordonallen@gmail.com; (603) 588-2742

Rick Bourdon: rick.bourdon@gmail.com; (603) 795-2818; (603) 759-1888 (cell)


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  • published this page in State House 2017-04-15 15:21:21 -0400