S.B. 432 expands the Campaign Finance Act to include reporting requirements of persons other than a candidate, candidate committee, party committee, or political committee, who anticipate making and who make independent expenditures for candidate elections. The bill requires Senate and House and individual legislator's PACs to disclose contributions received during the legislative session. In addition, the bill expands permitted uses of campaign funds.
The bill requires persons anticipating making expenditures to file a statement, at least seven days prior to the expenditure, stating the name and address of the person or the organization responsible for the expenditure. Also, persons making a contribution or an expenditure in excess of $1,000 for a candidate for local office or $2,500 for a candidate for state office, within 60 days prior to the primary election and up to the day of the general election, would have to file a disclosure report under the provisions of the Campaign Finance Act. The bill requires persons filing reports to maintain records of individuals who contributed to them regardless of whether such records are required to be reported under the Act.
The bill defines expenditure as anything of value given for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence or providing information which influences or attempts to influence the nomination or election or defeat of a candidate for state or local office.
The bill defines influencing or attempting to influence as any communication containing express words of advocacy of nomination, election, or defeat of a candidate, or any communication containing the name or picture of a candidate, or where the identity of a candidate is apparent by unambiguous reference.
The bill exempts any communication by a state or local incumbent with individuals as a reportable expenditure unless the primary purpose of the communication is to directly or indirectly influence the election or defeat of a candidate for state or local office. Expenditures associated with news stories, commentaries, or editorials by a broadcast station, newspaper periodical publication, or by Internet communication would be exempt. Finally, the bill exempts expenditures for nonpartisan activities designed to encourage individuals to vote or expenditures associated with internal organizations' communications of business, labor, or professional associations.
The bill requires Senate and House and individual legislator's PACs to file a disclosure report of contributions received from persons seeking to influence legislative matters from a period starting January 1 to adjournment sine die or any other time in which the Legislature is in session. The bill defines legislative matters as any bill, resolution, appointment, or other issue or proposal pending before the Legislature, committee, or subcommittee. These disclosure reports would have to be filed prior to final action on legislative matters and an aggregate of all contributions would have to be reported by June 10 of each year.
The bill allows candidates to use campaign contributions for membership dues and donations to a community service or a civic organization, or costs associated with the purchase of tickets to meals or special events sponsored by organizations which promote the social, business, commercial, or economic well being of the local community.
S.B. 432, as introduced, was recommended by the Governor's Office. The Senate Committee on Elections and Local Government made several amendments to the bill.
A fiscal note was not available on the amended version of the bill.
The Senate Committee of the Whole amended the bill to require Senate and House and individual member PACs to file contribution disclosure reports during the legislative session and by June 10 of each year.
1. *Supplemental notes are prepared by the Legislative Research Department and do not express legislative intent. The supplemental note and fiscal note for this bill may be accessed on the Internet at http://www.ink.org/public/legislative/fulltext-bill.html.