Reform Caucus Legislative Update #4, February 3, 2017
In short. Two bills on the ODA list were heard in committee last week: SB 115 (LLC contributions) and HB 320 (computer redistricting). HB 203-FN-A (redistricting commission) was voted Inexpedient to Legislate in committee. In the coming week, a hearing is scheduled for SB 197 (funding enforcement of election law) and an executive session is listed for HB 320. The House will be in session starting at 10:00 on Thursday. HR 7 (Constitutional Amendment) is scheduled for a floor vote on an Ought to Pass recommendation.
Notes. (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 call for a roll call. (2) We have begun collecting and making available talking points, briefs, call scripts, and other useful documents on the ODA website. You can access them here. This is a work in progress, so please have patience.
What happened this past week
Tuesday, January 31
SENATE Election Law and Internal Affairs
Hearing: SB 115 attributes campaign donations from a limited liability company to the company's members, effectively preventing campaigns from using LLCs to get around contribution limits. Olivia Zink presented two case studies of NH candidates blatantly doing just that. Her comments were later aired on NH Public Radio.
Wednesday, February 1
HOUSE Election Law
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.
Six people spoke in favor of this interesting concept, including Reform Caucus members Ellen Read and Peter Somssich. Olivia Zink presented Rick Bourdon's written testimony which contained side-by-side maps of NH districts as currently drawn versus drawn by computer. HB 320 appears to enjoy bipartisan support, even support from Libertarians. Only two people spoke against the bill.
Executive session: HB 203-FN-A establishes an independent redistricting commission to draw unbiased election district boundaries for all state and federal offices.
HB 203 was voted Inexpedient to Legislate along party lines 11 - 9.
Coming up this week, February 6-10
Tuesday, February 7
HOUSE Election Law
Executive session: 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.
1:00 PM Room 308 LOB This is the fifth listed of seven bills under consideration beginning at 1:00 PM.
Hearing: SB 197 calls for an appropriation to the Department of Justice of $500,000 over two years to enforce election and lobbying laws. Prime sponsor: Sen. Feltes.
1:15 PM Room 103 SH This is the second of five hearings beginning at 1:00.
Wednesday, February 8
HOUSE Election Law
Hearing: HB 642-FN. While Open Democracy Action has chosen not to target voting rights bills this year, we know that many Reform Caucus members are keenly interested in them, so we mention HB 642-FN here. It is perhaps the most far reaching of the many voting rights bills out there.
1l:00 AM LOB Room 308 This is the last of five hearings beginning at 9:00.
Thursday, February 9
HOUSE General Session
Floor vote: HR-7 calls on Congress to consider a constitutional amendment prohibiting campaign contributions unless the donor is eligible to vote in that federal election. Prime Sponsor: Rep. McConnell, Ches. 12. For Talking Points or FAQ.
10:00 AM HR-7 came out of committee with an Ought to Pass recommendation. Please vote OTP.
To contact ODA:
Open Democracy Action: 4 Park Street Suite 301, Concord, NH 03301; Office: (603) 715-8197
Olivia Zink: firstname.lastname@example.org; (603) 661-8621 (cell)
Gordon Allen: email@example.com; (603) 588-2742
Rick Bourdon: firstname.lastname@example.org; (603) 795-2818; (603) 759-1888 (cell)