Reform Caucus Legislative Update

#16, April 13, 2018

Barring any wildly unexpected events in the remainder of this legislative session, this will be our last Update. For a while, anyway. But we're not taking a break. Open Democracy staff and volunteers are hard at work developing strategy for 2019. We're getting a head start on legislation for next year, keeping in mind how reforms in New Hampshire can be leveraged nationally via the 2020 presidential primary.

And we're looking for help. We need advisors with legislative experience as well as organizers and volunteers at the grassroots level. If you would like to be a part of the reform effort for 2019 and beyond, please let us know.

What you need to know in a nutshell (details follow)

(1) SB 363 (banning donations from foreign nationals) received a unanimous OTP recommendation from House Election Law and is on the Consent Calendar for the 4/19 House general session.

(2) SB 33 (independent spending loophole) once again remains on the table in the House.

(3) HB 1264, a bill that would make it difficult for college students and other "nonresidents" to vote, brought an overflow crowd to its hearing last Tuesday. 

The details

(1) SB 363 (banning donations from foreign nationals) looks to become the law in New Hampshire. Given the nationwide concern about foreign meddling in US elections, a law outlawing foreign contributions should be a no-brainer. Last Wednesday members of the House Election Law Committee agreed, recommending OTP 18-0 and placing the bill on the Consent Calendar for the House general session on 4/19.

(2) Sadly, after another valiant effort spearheaded by Rep. Marjorie Smith, SB 33 remains on the table in the House. The bill closes the loophole that allows independent spending groups to avoid registering with the Secretary of State and filing expenditure reports. Clearly, House leadership does not want SB 33 to see the light of day. Why? We can't know for sure, but all the dots appear to connect to a reluctance to offend one or more independent spending groups. On a positive note, Rep. Smith, a Democrat, tells us that she was successful in garnering votes from a number of conservative Republicans.

(3) Tuesday's hearing on HB 1264 drew such a large crowd that the Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs Committee had to move the event to a larger room. The NH Campaign for Voting Rights states: "This bill would have a chilling effect on the rights of eligible New Hampshire voters in the military, professionals and students. It would make residency a requirement to vote in NH, superseding the present domicile rule. This bill acts as a post-election poll tax where, if a person decides to exercise her constitutional right to vote, that person would now have 60 days to pay the State various motor vehicle fees." Testimony and numbers in attendance were overwhelmingly opposed to the bill. Let's hope the Committee has paid attention.

Bill status summary (actions by the full House or Senate in bold print)

HB 1368 (closes LLC loophole): ITL House 150-121, 3/6.

HB 1524 (constitutional amendment): ITL House, 185-138, 2/22.

HB 1540-FN (ranked-choice voting): ITL House, Consent Cal. voice vote, 3/6.

HB 1666 (redistricting reform): ITL House, Consent Cal. voice vote, 3/6.

HB 1667-FN (banning unlimited corp. donations): ITL House, Consent Cal. voice vote, 3/6.

HB 1773-FN-A** (civic-dollar election option): ITL House 214-135, 2/8.

SB 33** (closes disclosure loophole): Tabled House 162-155, 2/15, motion to remove from table failed, 149-174, 3/7, motion to remove from table failed, 152-174, 4/12.

SB 363 (bans foreign donations): OTP with amendment Senate 24-0, 2/15. Recommended OTP 18-0 in House Election Law, 4/11. Placed on Consent Calendar for 4/19.

SB 440-FN  (raises penalties for campaign finance violations): killed with Interim Study, Senate voice vote, 2/15.

** ODA top priorities

More information on Priority bills

ODA State House Page

To contact ODA

Open Democracy Action: 4 Park Street Suite 301, Concord, NH 03301 

Office: (603) 715-8197 

Olivia Zink: [email protected]; (603) 661-8621 (cell)

Rick Bourdon: [email protected]; (603) 795-2818; (603) 759-1888 (cell) 


Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Steve Varnum
    published this page in State House 2018-04-28 13:51:41 -0400