Newsletter #16

Reform Caucus Legislative Update #16, April 28, 2017 

In short. This past week the House Finance Committee (Division 1) discussed but took no action on SB 197-FN-A (adding $200k over the biennium to the AG’s budget for enforcement of election laws). Thursday's luncheon sponsored by Open Democracy and Take Back our Republic and featuring John Pudner was a notable success. Next week House Election Law does not meet, so there will be additional time to contact Committee members about SB 33(independent spending loophole).
 
Mark your calendar: Coffee, Cookies and Clean Elections. We are excited to have Andrew Bossie, Executive Director of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, speak to us about our neighboring state's progress in the battle against big money in politics. Andy spearheaded the 2015 ballot initiative that strengthened Maine’s campaign finance laws and it's first-in-the-nation system of full public financing for state elected offices. 3:30 PM, Thursday, May 11. Venue TBD. Please RSVP to Olivia Zink: olivia@opendemocracy.me.
 
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 24-28
 
Tuesday, April 25
 
HOUSE Finance (Division I)
 
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. 

Little is known about the direction House Finance will go with SB 197. It remains in committee.
 
Thursday, April 27
 
Legislators' luncheon
 
Take Back Our Republic and Open Democracy sponsored a luncheon featuring Take Back’s Executive Director John Pudner. Take Back Our Republic is a growing cross-partisan group (albeit with strong conservative roots) with chapters in 37 states. John introduced himself as a "recovering political operative" and provided a conservative's perspective on campaign finance reform. The event was well attended and well received by roughly equal numbers of Republican and Democratic legislators.
 
COMING UP NEXT WEEK, MAY 1-5
 
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 full disclosure of political donations and expenditures to contact Election Law members. For more information on the bill, see http://www.opendemocracyaction.org/sb33. A list of Committee members can be found here.
 
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. Currently in House Finance (Div. I)
 
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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