Newsletter #12

Reform Caucus Legislative Update #12, March 31, 2017

In short. This past week SB 107 , the last of the redistricting bills died in the full Senate 14-9 along party lines. Coming up next week are two important hearings. On Tuesday 4/4 SB 33 (independent spending loophole) will be heard in House Election Law and HB 537 ($5,000 pre-filing loophole) will be heard in Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs. The House will be in session on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday; however, no action is scheduled for ODA priority bills.

Please join us Sunday, April 2 for a March for Voting Rights at the State House. 

(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 publically available, send them to Olivia Zink: [email protected] .


Thursday, March 30

SENATE General session

Floor vote: SB 107  establishes an independent redistricting commission. This bill is similar to HB 203, the redistricting commission bill that died in the House. There are differences in several areas, including, among others, method for choosing commission members, funding, and transparency of the redistricting process. Prime Sponsor: Sen. Lasky.

SB 107 was voted ITL 14-9 along party lines. This was the last of the redistricting bills this year. None survived. Despite widespread agreement among voters of all stripes that redistricting should be a nonpartisan process, this legislature remains tone deaf.


Tuesday, April 4

HOUSE Election Law

Room 308 LOB

Hearing: 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  SB 33 is the transparency bill in the Legislature this year. Some independent spending groups, notably Americans for Prosperity, refuse to register with and report to the SOS office, citing entirely bogus constitutional arguments. After an ITL recommendation from Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs, this bill passed the full Senate 14-9 with five Republicans joining Democrats in support. The vote reflected broad bi-partisan consensus on the value of political transparency. Nonetheless, sledding is likely to be tougher in House Election Law. SB 33 is identical to HB 533, which that committee chose to retain in committee. We encourage all of you who can fit this hearing into your calendar to attend and speak and(or) submit testimony in favor of this bill. AFP will undoubtedly send a representative to muddy the legal waters. There is a chance House Election Law will act on SB 33 after the hearing.

Talking Points
FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Memo From Attorney Brent Ferguson
FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life

SENATE Election Law and Internal Affairs

Room 102 LOB

Hearing: 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.

9:15 AM  HB 537 sailed through the House, coming out of committee with a unanimous OTP vote and passing via the Consent Calendar. It's chances in the Senate are another matter; senators are more likely to rely on $5,000 pre-filing donations than are House members. Still, passing this bill would be a good way for senators to show their support for clean campaigns. If you can fit it into your schedule, we encourage you to speak and(or) submit testimony in favor of this bill.

Bill Status – 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), Hearing: Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs 4/4/17

SB 33 (independent spending loophole, same as HB 533): OTP full Senate 14-9, 2/23, Hearing: House Election Law 4/4/17

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, referred to House Finance

Bill Status – 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: [email protected]; (603) 661-8621 (cell)

Gordon Allen: [email protected]; (603) 588-2742

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

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