Making Democracy Work
Campaign Finance & Government Ethics

Reduce the influence of special interest money, and increase transparency in government and politics.

Issue Team Chair: Kathy Sakahara, 261-7797
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2020 Legislative Session Updates

(Interested in the 2019 Session Recap? Click Here)

We had this a significant success this session in the area of campaign finance reform with the passage of SB 6152 which will limit the risk of foreign interference in our elections through campaign donations. The bill was first introduced addressing only corporations, it now requires any entity making a campaign contribution to certify that no foreign money was used and there was no foreign influence in the decision to make the contribution.

We also had a bit of a mixed success with a PDC request bill, HB 2772. The bill was introduced with some very strong protections for campaign finance and transparency, but was amended to the point that it would actually limit the authority of the PDC. We then encouraged the Senate to not pass the bill and it died without ever coming to the floor for a vote.

Click on Bill # for detailed information. See UPDATES below.

Bill the League Supported That Have Been Signed Into Law 
  • SB 6152 As passed by the Senate, required that only entities, which includes corporations, who certify that less than 50% of its stock is owned by foreign nationals can make political contributions. The bill was amended significantly in the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations to remove the percentage threshold and replaces it with a prohibition on campaign contributions “financed in any part by foreign nationals, or that involve foreign nationals making decisions in any way”. Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from making political contributions. Passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote (30/16). UPDATE: Signed by the Governor.

Bills the League Opposed That Failed

  • HB 2772  We initially supported this bill as it was requested from the PDC because it strengthened the agency’s enforcement capability and flexibility.  A major component of the initial bill was a change that would allow direct access to the Public Disclosure Transparency Fund, which by law can only be used for Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) special projects, without requiring the approval of the legislature. Unfortunately, that portion of the bill was amended out in the House.  The House also added a section that restricted posting the financial affairs statements (F-1’s) of legislative staff. PThe  bill passed the house overwhelmingly, 97-1. The Senate State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee added additional amendments, including one that would explicitly prohibit the PDC from establishing an archive of online campaign ads to give voters easier access to them.  UPDATE:  Was scheduled for a floor vote but was never voted on. We anticipate that means it is dead for this session.

  • SJM 8002 A memorial encouraging Congress to call for a “limited” Constitutional Convention. The League opposes this because there is no way to guarantee that the convention would be limited to issues of free and fair elections. Congress has made no rules about constitutional conventions, so none of the criteria that the League of Women Votes of the United States’ position calls for could be guaranteed. Our call for a constitutional convention could be combined with other states' calls on different topics (balanced budget amendment, anti-choice amendment) in order to meet the threshold required. For more information see this excellent analysis of the threat by Common Cause. UPDATE:  Never came up for a vote

Bills the League Supports That Did Not Pass

  • HB 1067 / SB 5033 Establishes a one-year “cooling off” period before high-level government officials, including elected officials can work as a lobbyist influencing state public policy. Congress and 40 states have cooling off period/revolving door laws.  Both bills died in Rules Committee.
  • HB 2253 Would require disclaimers for election advertising that encourages votes or includes endorsements for people that are not candidates in that election. We have recently seen our new, dishonest tactic used to confuse voters. Ads were run encouraging voters to write in the name of a previous candidate, showing that they had been endorsed by certain organizations. The ad did not indicate that the person had no interest in running a write in campaign and that the endorsements were from at least two years earlier. Died in committee.
  • SB 6042 Would prohibit the introduction of “title only” bills. These bills are introduced in order to meet a deadline in the legislative calendar but include no statutory language, only an often vague title. The bill is then later amended or a substitute is offered. The use of these bills is inconsistent with open, transparent government.

    There are a number of other areas of Democracy that we are working on.  Please see ElectionsCensus & Redistrictingand Election Security 

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