Reform Caucus Legislative Update #8, March 3, 2017
In short. This past week: No full House or Senate sessions were scheduled and none of the bills on Open Democracy Action's list were taken up in committee. This coming week: The full House will vote on three important bills with ITL recommendations from the Election Law Committee: HB 116 (Citizens United), HB 320 (computer redistricting), and HB 519 (clearinghouse). We urge Reform Caucus members and allies to speak for these bills and vote OTP.
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 have begun 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 publically available, send them to Olivia Zink: firstname.lastname@example.org .
What happened this past week
No full House or Senate sessions were scheduled and none of the bills on Open Democracy Action's list were taken up in committee.
Coming up next week, March 8-16
Action on priority bills is limited to Wednesday's floor votes in the full session of the House. The three bills on the regular calendar all received ITL recommendations from the Election Law Committee. We urge Reform Caucus members and allies to speak for these bills and vote OTP. Full majority and minority reports for these bills can be found on pp. 33-35 of the March 3 House Calendar.
Wednesday, March 8
Full HOUSE Session
Consent calendar: HB 537 closes the loophole that allows candidates to accept individual donations of up to $5,000 before they publically declare for office. Committee: Election Law. Prime sponsor: Rep. Porter, Hills. 1. This bill passed out of committee 19 - 0.
Floor vote: HB 116 calls for legislative hearings to assess the consequences of the Citizens United decision and evaluate proposals to amend the U.S. Constitution in the wake of that ruling. The bill also calls upon New Hampshire's congressional delegation to support such an amendment. Prime sponsor: Rep. Elliot, Rock. 8.
From Rep. Moynihan's minority report: "...Eighteen states and sixty-nine New Hampshire towns have passed resolutions calling for such an amendment...The passage of the bill will be unambiguous recognition of the demand that New Hampshire citizens have delivered to the New Hampshire House that it take action to oppose the consequences of Citizens United."
Floor vote: 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.
From Rep. Epstein's minority report: "... with such an algorithm, it would be impossible to draw district lines that favor any particular party, and would lead to more compact districts and more competitive elections. The minority believes that this bill would end partisan gerrymandering and limit potential lawsuits, and its adoption would lead to a freer, fairer, and more transparent redistricting process."
Floor vote: 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). Prime sponsor: Rep. Higgins, Graf. 12.
From Rep. Porter's minority report: "...a clearinghouse system would provide many advantages, including complete, timely, and accurate disclosure of contributions and expenditures, enforcement of contribution limits, and reduction of campaign workloads...The bill does not mandate implementation, but rather seeks to explore another method of ensuring the integrity of our elections."
HB 519 talking points
Bill Status – ODA Top Priority Bills (all supported)
HB 203: ITL House 190-164, 2/15/17
HB 320: ITL 11-8, Election Law 2/14/17, House floor 3/8 with minority report
HB 519: ITL 11-8, Election Law 2/14/17, House floor 3/8 with minority report
HB 533: Retain 20-0, Election Law 2/21/17 (Same as SB 33)
HB 537: OTP 19-0, Election Law, 2/21/17, Consent Calendar, House floor 3/8
SB 33: OTP Senate 14-9, 2/23/17 (Same as HB 533)
SB 107: Hearing, Senate Election Law, 2/14/17 (Similar to HB 203)
SB 197: Hearing, Senate Finance, 2/7/17
Bill Status – Other Campaign Finance Bills (all supported)
HB 116: ITL 11-8, Election Law 2/14/17, House floor 3/8 with minority report
HR 7: OTP House, 211-75, 2/9/17
SB 115: ITL Senate, 14-9, 2/23/17
To contact ODA:
Open Democracy Action: 4 Park Street Suite 301, Concord, NH 03301; Office: (603) 715-8197