Reform Caucus Legislative Update #18, May 12, 2017
In short. This past week the House Finance Committee (Division 1) convened another work session on SB 197-FN-A (adding $200k over the biennium to the AG’s budget for enforcement of election laws). Open Democracy and the Reform Caucus sponsored a talk focusing on public financing of political campaigns. Next week House Election Law will vote on SB 33 (independent spending loophole), and House Finance will vote on SB 197-FN-A.
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 8-12
Tuesday, May 9
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.
We won't know what the Committee is thinking about SB 197 until next week's executive session.
Thursday, May 11
Talk: Andrew Bossie, Executive Director of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections spoke to a gathering of legislators and interested citizens about our neighboring state's progress in the fight against big money in politics. The well-received talk focused on Maine's experience with public financing of political campaigns. The event was sponsored by Open Democracy and the Reform Caucus.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK, MAY 15-19
Tuesday, May 16
HOUSE Election Law
Room 308 LOB
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.
10:20 AM. SB 33 will be the second of four bills to be execed beginning at 10:20. This critical measure 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.
Wednesday, May 17
Room 210-211 LOB
Executive 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.
10:00 AM. SB 197 will be the fourth of six bills to be execed beginning at 10:00. The Committee's feeling about SB 197 is still murky. There is a possibility committee members will choose to retain the bill. There is also a possibility that funding for the bill is included (buried deeply) in the Senate budget.
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 ($5,000 pre-filing loophole): ITL full Senate on a voice vote, 4/20/17
SB 33 (independent spending loophole, same as HB 533): OTP full Senate 14-9, 2/23, House Election Law executive session scheduled for Tuesday, 5/16
SB 107 (redistricting commission, similar to HB 203): ITL full Senate 14-9, 3/30/17
SB 197-FN-A ($ for election law enforcement): OTP (with amendment) full Senate 23-0, 3/16. House Finance executive session scheduled for Wednesday, 5/17
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