Reform Caucus Legislative Update #15, April 21, 2017
In short. This past week the Senate killed HB 537 ($5,000 pre-filing loophole) on a voice vote. Coming up next week is a Tuesday work session on SB 197-FN-A (adding $200k over the biennium to the AG’s budget for enforcement of election laws) in Division I of House Finance. On Thursday, Open Democracy and Take Back our Republic sponsor a luncheon meeting with John Pudner. (See Note below). House Election Law does not meet next week, so there will be additional time to contact Committee members about SB 33 (independent spending loophole).
Note: Please join Take Back Our Republic and Open Democracy Action for a legislators' luncheon on Thursday, April 27th at noon 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: firstname.lastname@example.org .
WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK, APRIL 10-14
Tuesday, April 18
HOUSE Election Law
The Committee's day was consumed by the hearing on SB-3, the ominous omnibus bill that complicates voting procedures in the state. As a result, no action was taken on SB 33 (independent spending loophole).
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 publicly declare for office. Prime sponsor: Rep. Porter, Hills. 1.
HB 537 was approved unanimously in House Election Law, but came out of Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs with a unanimous ITL recommendation. The bill died in the Senate on a voice vote. It is still unclear whether the Senate action reflects a flaw in the bill or simply the degree to which Senate campaigns of both parties depend on large contributions.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK, APRIL 24-28
HOUSE Election Law: There is no scheduled meeting of the Committee this week, so there is more time for concerned supporters to contact Committee members about SB 33. This critical bill closes the loophole that allows independent spending groups like Americans for Prosperity to avoid registering with the Secretary of State and filing expenditure reports. We urge all supporters of transparency in elections to contact Election Law members. For more information on the bill, see http://www.opendemocracyaction.org/sb33.
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.
Thursday, April 27
LUNCHEON MEETING for all interested
Noon or the lunch break Parish Hall of St. Paul's Episcopal Church (across the street from the State House). John Pudner of Take Back Our Republic will present a conservative take on money in politics. (See Note near the beginning of this newsletter.)
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 ($5,000 pre-filing loophole): ITL full Senate on a voice vote, 4/20/17
SB 33 (independent spending loophole, same as HB 533): OTP full Senate 14-9, 2/23, currently in House Election Law
SB 107 (redistricting commission, similar to HB 203): ITL full Senate 14-9, 3/30/17
SB 197-FN-A ($ 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