A veto in a trifecta state

Welcome to the Tuesday, June 29, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Maine governor vetoes bill prohibiting ballot measure contributions from foreign government-owned entities
  2. Six national party fundraising committees have raised a combined $337 million through the end of May
  3. Flashback: First Democratic presidential debate two years ago this week

Maine governor vetoes bill prohibiting ballot measure contributions from foreign government-owned entities

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) vetoed legislation on June 23 which would have prohibited entities in which foreign governments have a 10% or larger ownership share from making contributions or expenditures to influence ballot measures.

The bill would have applied to an initiative certified for the 2021 ballot which I wrote about last week. That initiative would prohibit the construction of a 145-mile long, high-voltage transmission line project from hydroelectric plants in Quebec to electric utilities in Massachusetts and Maine. It would also require a two-thirds vote of each state legislative chamber to approve certain electric transmission line projects. A subsidiary of Hydro-Québec, a public utility owned by the government of Québec, has given $8.3 million to campaigns opposing the initiative.

Maine is a Democratic state government trifecta. The House approved the legislation 87-54 with 74 Democrats and eight Republicans in favor and four Democrats and 50 Republicans opposed. The Senate passed the bill 23-11 with 14 Democrats and nine Republicans in favor and seven Democrats and four Republicans voting against. A two-thirds (66.7%) vote in both chambers of the legislature is required to overturn the governor’s veto.

Governor Mills is not the first governor to veto a ballot initiative restriction this year. Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) vetoed a bill in May that would have required initiative and referendum petitions to be signed while the signer is physically located within the state. Gov. Little cited concerns over the legislation’s constitutionality. Idaho is a Republican state government trifecta.

Legislators in eight states—Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah—have passed restrictions on their state’s initiative processes this year. Ballotpedia is currently tracking 198 legislative proposals concerning ballot initiatives, veto referendums, referrals, local ballot measures, and recall in 39 states. Notable topics include:

  • supermajority requirement increases,
  • signature requirement and distribution requirement increases,
  • single-subject rules,
  • pay-per-signature bans,
  • residency requirements and other circulator restrictions,
  • fiscal impact statement and funding source requirements, and
  • ballot measure campaign contribution restrictions.

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Six national party fundraising committees have raised a combined $337 million through the end of May 

With 2021 nearly halfway over, let’s check in on national party fundraising. Six national party fundraising committees have raised a combined $337 million during the first five months of the 2022 election cycle. According to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings, the committees raised $65 million in May alone.

Through the end of May, the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have raised a combined $168.6 million this year. The Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee raised a combined $168.5 million. 

Both parties each have three national fundraising committees: 1) a national committee, 2) a committee dedicated to U.S. Senate elections, and 3) a committee dedicated to U.S. House elections. Click on the link below to see how much these committees have raised and spent monthly this year and every month since the 2016 election cycle.

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Flashback: First Democratic presidential debate two years ago this week

Two years ago this week, the first of 11 Democratic presidential primary debates occurred in Miami. Spread over two days—June 26 and 27—20 candidates took the stage, including Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. 

Biden and Harris debated on the same night and took up the top two spots in total minutes spoken during the debate, respectively. Click the link below to read the transcript, watch a recording of the entire debate, or skim the highlights.
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About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.