Reform Caucus Legislative Update #17, May 5, 2017
In short. This past week neither of the two bills remaining on ODA's priority list received attention. Next week the House Finance Committee (Division 1) convenes another work session on SB 197-FN-A (adding $200k over the biennium to the AG’s budget for enforcement of election laws). House Election Law may act on SB 33 (independent spending loophole). Open Democracy and the Reform Caucus are sponsoring a talk focusing on public financing of political campaigns. (See next paragraph.)
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, Room 303 LOB. Please RSVP to Olivia Zink: email@example.com.
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, MAY 1-5
Nothing of note to report.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK, MAY 8-12
Tuesday, May 9
HOUSE Election Law
Room 308 LOB
Possible executive session: 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. The Committee has scheduled work sessions on two voting bills: SB 113 (electronic poll book trial) and SB 3 (domicile). However, executive action on pending legislation, e.g., SB33, may occur "throughout the day." 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.
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.
11:30 AM. Little is known about the direction House Finance will go with SB 197.
Thursday, May 11
Talk: Andrew Bossie on Maine's experience with public financing of political campaigns.
3:30 PM Room 303 LOB. The Executive Director of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections will speak to us about our neighboring state's public funding system. This is a great opportunity to learn about public funding, the most promising solution to the corrupting effect of big money in politics. Sponsored by Open Democracy and the Reform Caucus. Please RSVP to Olivia Zink: email@example.com.
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