Newsletter #19

Reform Caucus Legislative Update #19, May 19, 2017

In short. This past week the two ODA priority still in play, SB 197-FN-A (adding $200k over the biennium to the AG’s budget for enforcement of election laws) and SB 33 (independent spending loophole) were retained in committee. That means, of course, that next week no relevant sessions are scheduled. However, the week after next Open Democracy is holding its annual meeting (see next paragraph).

Mark your calendar. Please join us Friday, June 2, 2017 at 5 PM for Open Democracy/NH Rebellion's Annual Meeting. We’ll begin the evening with cocktails, hearty appetizers and socializing. Meet our Board members, including some new to the board. We will share our many accomplishments, our campaigns to advance voting rights and campaign finance reform. There will be a silent auction featuring many great items including vacation stays, books, portraits and more! Tickets are $30 per person.

Our guest speaker will be Hedrick Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter and editor and Emmy award-winning producer/correspondent. Over his fifty-year career, Hedrick has become one of America's most distinguished journalists.

The event will be held at the Puritan Backroom and Conference Center, 245 Hooksett Rd, Manchester, NH. You can purchase tickets at: www.nhrebellion.org/annual_meeting, by email to doreen@opendemocracy.me or by calling the office at 603-715-8197. You may also mail a check to NH Rebellion, 4 Park St. Suite 301, Concord, NH 03301.

If you would like to donate an item or service for the auction, or would like to become a sponsor, please contact Doreen@opendemocracy.me.

WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK, MAY 15-19

Tuesday, May 16

HOUSE Election Law

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.

As expected, House Election Law retained SB 33 in committee, just as they had HB 533, the identical House version. While it is not entirely clear why the committee would not vote on these bills this year, we speculate that members, having been thoroughly confused by the testimony of Americans for Prosperity's spokesman, seek clarification on the difference between electioneering and issue advocacy. ODA will keep you posted on the progress of SB 33/HB 533 over the summer.

Wednesday, May 17

HOUSE Finance 

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.

SB 197 was unanimously retained in committee, probably due to the general confusion surrounding the House budget (or lack of one). Senator Feltes assures us, however, that there is funding for the bill on the Senate side of the budget. ODA will be tracking SB 197 over the summer.

COMING UP NEXT WEEK, MAY 22-26

No sessions relevant to ODA 

COMING UP THE FOLLOWING WEEK, MAY 29 - JUNE 2

Friday, June 2

 Puritan Backroom, Manchester, NH

Event: Open Democracy/NH Rebellion's Annual Meeting 

5:00-7:00 PM  See event details near the beginning of this legislative update.

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, retained in House Election Law 20-0, 5/16/17

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, retained in House Finance 23-0, 5/17/17

Bill Status Summary – Other campaign finance bills supported by ODA

HB 116 (Citizens United): ITL full House 193-165, 3/9/17

HR 7 (Real Reform 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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