Reform Caucus Legislative Update #5, February 10, 2017
In short. SB 197 (funding enforcement of election law) was heard in committee this past week. The executive session for HB 320 (computer redistricting) was deferred until next week. HR-7 (Constitutional Amendment) passed easily in the full House. In the coming week there will be a hearing for SB 107 (redistricting), and executive sessions are scheduled for HB 320, HB 519 (clearinghouse), and HB 116 (Citizens United). HB 203-FN-A comes up for a vote in the general session of the House.
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: [email protected].
What happened this past week
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.
This executive session was deferred until next Tuesday.
Hearing: SB 197 calls for an appropriation to the Department of Justice of $500,000 over two years to enforce election and lobbying laws.
Speaking in favor of the bill were prime sponsor Senator Feltes, Olivia Zink of Open Democracy, Ann Rice of the Justice Department, and Gilles Bissonnette of the ACLU. No negative testimony was offered.
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.
HR-7 passed easily 211 to 75. The vote was truly bipartisan; voting in the affirmative were 125 Republicans and 86 Democrats. Congratulations to prime sponsor Jim McConnell and special kudos to Ellen Read for a masterful parliamentary inquiry.
Coming up this week, February 13-17
Tuesday, February 14
HOUSE Election Law
Room 308 LOB
Executive session: 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.
11:00 AM This is the 3rd listed of seven bills under consideration beginning at 1l:00 AM.
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.
11:00 AM This is the fifth listed of seven bills under consideration beginning at 11:00 AM.
Executive session: 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.
11:00 AM This is the sixth listed of seven bills under consideration beginning at 11:00 AM.
SENATE Election Law and Internal Affairs
Room 102 LOB
Hearing: SB 107 establishes an independent redistricting commission. This bill is similar to HB 203 (see below). There are differences in several areas, including, among others, method for choosing commission members, funding, and transparency of the redistricting process. Prime Sponsor: Sen. Lasky.
9:20 AM This is the second of two bills to be heard beginning at 9:00.
Wednesday, February 15
HOUSE General session
Floor vote: 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.
This bill came out of the House Election Law Committee with a party-line 11-9 Inexpedient to Legislate recommendation. Representative Moynihan, writing for the minority, stated: "The minority would like this bill to be recommitted so the committee can retain it to be studied with other bills addressing redistricting and the methods available to improve the process." We urge Reform Caucus members to ask for a roll call vote and vote Ought to Pass.
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)