Newsletter #3

Reform Caucus Legislative Update #3, January 27, 2017

In short. Four bills on the ODA list were heard last week, and one, HR 7, passed out of committee easily. In the coming week, hearings on two more bills are scheduled as is a committee vote on HB 203-FN-A, the House redistricting bill. And while it is not listed, there is always the possibility of a committee vote on SB 33, the bill that closes the loophole that has allowed independent spending groups to avoid registering with the Secretary of State and filing expenditure reports. No floor votes on ODA bills are scheduled.

Note. This being just the third of Reform Caucus weekly updates, we urge you to give us feedback and ideas for improvement. And if you have briefs, talking points, or scripts for committee hearings and constituent phone calls, please forward them to us for distribution. First point of contact is Olivia Zink: Email, Office: 715-8197, Cell: 661-8621.

What happened this past week

Tuesday, January 24

SENATE Election Law and Internal Affairs

Hearing: SB 47  empowers the Secretary of State, rather than the Attorney General, to investigate potential violations of election law, institute enforcement proceedings, and impose penalties for violations. 

The primary purpose of this bill is to make enforcement of voter fraud cases the responsibility of the Secretary of State, but the wording includes enforcement of campaign finance law as well.

HOUSE Election Law

Hearing: HB 519  establishes a bipartisan commission to study the feasibility of implementing a clearinghouse model for tracking political expenditures and contributions in real time (as they occur).

After a brief introduction by Rep. White, Gordon Allen and Bob Perry of Open Democracy testified in favor of the bill. No questions were asked by committee members.

Hearing: HB 533  closes the loophole that has allowed independent spending groups to avoid registering with the Secretary of State and filing expenditure reports. 

Rep. Smith introduced the bill, by all accounts doing an excellent job. Gordon Allen, Olivia Zink, Bob Perry, and Joe Magruder of Open Democracy explained the bill further. Representatives of Liberty Lobby LLC and Americans for Prosperity spoke against the measure, calling it an unconstitutional abridgement of free speech. Supreme Court decisions do not back their assertions.

Hearing: HB 537  closes the loophole that allows candidates to accept individual donations of up to $5,000 before they publically declare for office. 

The last bill on the committee's agenda, HB 537 generated little discussion. 

Wednesday, January 25

HOUSE State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs

Executive session: HR 7  calls on Congress to consider a constitutional amendment prohibiting campaign contributions unless the donor is eligible to vote in that federal election. 

Jim McConnell's bill was voted OTP 15 - 3 with bipartisan support.

Coming up this week, January 30 - February 3

Tuesday, January 31

SENATE Election Law and Internal Affairs
Room 102 LOB

Hearing: SB 115  attributes campaign donations from a limited liability company to the company's members, effectively preventing campaigns from receiving donations from sham LLCs. Prime Sponsor: Sen. Feltes.

10:00 AM This is the last of four hearings beginning at 9:00.

Executive session (maybe): SB 33  closes the loophole that allows independent spending groups to avoid registering with the Secretary of State and filing expenditure reports. SB 33 is the Senate version of HB 533. Prime sponsor: Sen. Bradley.

Unscheduled, but could occur any time after 10:00.

Wednesday, February 1

HOUSE Election Law 
Room 308 LOB

Hearing: HB 320  calls for use of a computer model to draw unbiased state and federal election district boundaries. Redistricting criteria would be limited to district population size and compactness. Prime sponsor: Rep. Knirk, Carr. 3.

10:30 AM This is the second of three hearings beginning at 10:00.

Executive session: HB 203-FN-A  establishes an independent redistricting commission to draw unbiased election district boundaries for all state and federal offices. Prime sponsor: Rep. Cote, Hills. 31.

11:30 AM This bill is listed fifth among seven bills being considered beginning at 11:30. Please urge constituents to call committee members ASAP and urge an OTP vote.

To contact ODA:

Open Democracy Action: 4 Park Street Suite 301, Concord, NH 03301; 

Office: (603) 715-8197 

Olivia Zink: [email protected]; (603) 661-8621 (cell)

Gordon Allen: [email protected]; (603) 588-2742

Rick Bourdon: [email protected]; (603) 795-2818; (603) 759-1888 (cell)

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