#10, March 2, 2018
It's been a quiet week in Concord. The Senate took the week off, and no action was taken on any ODA priority bills in the House. Next week, however, the House plays catch-up, with general sessions scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
What you need to know in a nutshell (details follow)
HB 1368 (closes LLC loophole) comes up for a vote of the full House on Tuesday, March 6. Activists: please contact your representatives about this. Legislators: please request a roll call and vote NO on ITL and YES on OTP.
House floor vote
Tuesday, March 6, Representatives Hall
10 AM HB 1368, which would close the loophole allowing a donor to create multiple Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) to get around campaign contribution limits, comes up for a vote of the full House. The bill came out of the House Election Law Committee with a 11-9 Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL) recommendation, the majority report citing technical issues unrelated to the substance of the measure. HB 1368 is scheduled for Part 2 of the House Regular Calendar, suggesting it might not be voted on until Wednesday or later. (Sessions on Wednesday and Thursday begin at 9:30.) Nonetheless we urge activists to contact your representatives about this, and legislators to request a roll call and vote NO on ITL and YES on Ought to Pass (OTP).
Three other ODA priority bills coming out of House Election Law are sentenced to death Tuesday with Consent Calendar votes: HB 1540 (ranked-choice voting, ITL 19-1), HB 1666 (redistricting reform. ITL 20-0), and HB 1667 (banning corporate donations to campaigns, ITL 20-0).
What happened last week
Nothing of note with respect to ODA priority bills.
Bill Status Summary (actions by the full House or Senate in bold print)
HB 1368 (closes LLC loophole): ITL House Election Law 11-9, House Regular Calendar floor vote scheduled for 3/6.
HB 1524 (constitutional amendment): ITL House, 185-138, 2/22.
HB 1540 (ranked-choice voting): ITL House Election Law, 19-1, House Consent Calendar floor vote scheduled for 3/6.
HB 1666 (redistricting reform): ITL Election Law 20-0, House Consent Calendar floor vote scheduled for 3/6.
HB 1667 (banning unlimited corp. donations): ITL Election Law 20-0, House Consent Calendar floor vote scheduled for 3/6.
HB 1773** (civic-dollar election option): ITL House 214-135, 2/8.
SB 33** (closes disclosure loophole): Tabled House 162-155, 2/15.
SB 363 (bans foreign donations): OTP with amendment Senate 24-0, 2/15.
SB 440 (raises penalties for campaign finance violations): killed with Interim Study, Senate voice vote, 2/15.
** ODA top priorities
Priority bills supported by ODA
HB 1773 provides voters with four $25 "civic dollar" certificates to donate to candidates who qualify by limiting their maximum donation from private donors to $500, $250, and $200 for candidates for Governor, Executive Council, and Senate, respectively. The bill also includes other reforms, e.g., stronger requirements to ensure the "independence" of SuperPACs and candidate campaigns, and a new campaign finance enforcement structure. Committee: House Election Law. Prime sponsor: Rep. Cushing.
SB 33 closes the loophole that allows independent spending groups to avoid registering with the Secretary of State and filing expenditure reports. The 2017 bill was passed by the Senate, retained in House Election Law, and recommended for interim study, which would effectively delay action until after the 2018 election. Prime sponsor: Sen. Bradley.
Other bills of particular interest
HB 1368 closes the loophole allowing a donor to create multiple Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) to get around campaign contribution limits. Committee: House Election Law. Prime sponsor: Rep. Porter.
HB 1524 calls on the NH Legislature to support an amendment to the US Constitution allowing regulation of money in politics and prohibiting partisan advantage as a factor in drawing voting district boundaries. Committee: House State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs. Prime sponsor: Rep. Read.
HB 1540 institutes ranked-choice voting in races for N.H. House and Senate, governor, Executive Council, US House, and US Senate. Ranked choice allows voters to vote for candidates by order of preference. It results in representation substantially closer to the proportion of Democratic, Republican, and third-party voters in a district than does the current winner-take-all system. More complete explanation at Fairvote. Committee: House Election Law. Prime sponsor: Rep. Read.
HB 1666 requires redistricting to be repeated after analysis of election results reveals partisan bias as measured by an "efficiency gap" exceeding 8%. Committee: House Election Law. Prime sponsor: Rep. Knirk.
HB 1667 prohibits businesses and unions from contributing directly to candidate campaigns except through "segregated funds," i.e., corporate and union PACs. The bill fixes language found unconstitutional in a 1999 court case, a decision that, in effect, legalized direct contributions from corporate treasuries. HB 1667 also requires political committees to list their top five natural-person donors in electioneering communications. Committee: House Election Law. Prime sponsor: Rep. Read.
SB 440 provides civil penalties for violation of the law pertaining to campaign contributions. Committee: Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs. Prime sponsor: Sen. Lasky.
Links to contact information for key committee members
House Election Law (for most ODA priority bills)
House State-Federal Relations & Veterans Affairs (for HB 1524)
Senate Election Law & Internal Affairs (for SB 440)
Link to supporting documents for specific bills
To contact ODA
Open Democracy Action: 4 Park Street Suite 301, Concord, NH 03301; Office: (603) 715-8197
Gordon Allen: [email protected]; (603) 588-2742