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Ethan Rice

Ethan Rice is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Florida legislators introduce bills on donor privacy


Welcome to The Disclosure Digest! Keep an eye out for new editions published on Wednesdays through June 2022. 

Florida legislators introduce bills on donor privacy

Republican lawmakers in the Florida Legislature introduced two versions of the Personal Privacy Protection Act, H1547 and S1848, which would prevent the disclosure of nonprofit donor’s identifying information. Both bills prohibit a government agency from requiring a person or organization to release certain personal information and would penalize the release of any personal information an agency already possesses.

Differences in scope

Although the two bills have a similar function, they differ slightly in their scope. The House bill would protect corporations, associations, and nonprofit organizations from disclosing information while the Senate bill focuses solely on 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. 

Additionally, the House bill defines personal information as “any compilation of data that directly or indirectly identifies a person as a member, supporter, volunteer, or donor of financial or nonfinancial support to any entity.” The Senate bill defines personal information as “any compilation of data that directly or indirectly identifies a person as a member of, supporter of, volunteer for, or donor of financial or nonfinancial support to any entity exempt from federal income tax under s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.”

Reactions

State Rep. Toby Overdorf (R), who is sponsoring H1547, said, “Many of the donors want to stay anonymous, or they do (give) a tremendous amount of money and they don’t need to let everybody know how much money they’re giving to certain organizations.”  Overdorf said his bill would not prevent investigations into any illegal actions. “I have every confidence that if there was a criminal intent or a criminal investigation, that a good prosecuting attorney would be able to gain access to the donors associated with it. This does not stop that in any way,” Overdorf said

Joseph Gruters (R), the sponsor of S1848, said he would consider expanding the bill’s scope to include 501(c)(4) organizations: “I am always open to any suggestions. It is part of the process. It is interesting, I thought this was going to be a simple, easy bill, and all of a sudden it is a firestorm.”

Sen. Gary Farmer (D) said the bills are “the worst type of legislation that eats at the core of our democratic process.” Jenna Grande, the press secretary for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit group that describes itself as “fighting for an ethical, accountable, and open government,” said, “By making this legislation over-inclusive, the Legislature would deny the public legitimate investigations into fraud and corruption. When it comes to understanding how organizations with public influence operate, it’s imperative their financial records are accessible and transparent.” 

First Amendment Foundation attorney Virginia Hamrick said the legislation functions as a public records exemption bill, which requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass, but is not drafted as one and so only needs a majority vote. “It doesn’t look like a public records exemption bill and it doesn’t follow the state’s requirement for enacting a public records exemption, but it acts as one. It prevents the release of information that an agency has, and would have to give up under the public records law,” Hamrick said

Anna Massoglia, manager of editorial content and investigations at OpenSecrets, said the bills are part of a larger wave of privacy legislation introduced after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, which struck down a California policy that required nonprofits to disclose their donors’ identities to the state’s attorney general. Massoglia said, “the language in this bill is similar to the language we are seeing in other areas.” Overdorf said his bill was a “preemptive way of … being in compliance with the Supreme Court case.” State legislators across the country have introduced at least 13 other privacy bills in the past year. 

Florida has a Republican trifecta, meaning the Republican Party controls the office of governor and both chambers of the state legislature. Republicans have a 78-40 majority in the Florida House and a 24-15 majority in the Senate.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 84 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure and privacy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Recent legislative actions

For complete information on all of the bills we are tracking, click here

  • Alaska HB234: This bill would eliminate contribution limits on individuals, groups, and other entities who make independent expenditures.
    • Primary emphasis: Privacy
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 18
  • Alaska SB155: This bill would prohibit a candidate for governor or lieutenant governor from soliciting or accepting contributions for an election in which they are not a candidate.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 18. 
  • Kansas HB2495: This bill would prohibit a state agency from requesting or releasing the personal information of donors to 501(c) organizations.  
    • Primary emphasis: Privacy
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 19. 
  • Kentucky HB241: This bill would allow the Transportation Cabinet and the Energy and Environment Cabinet to raise money from a governmental agency, individual, nonprofit organization, or private business for the Adopt-a- Highway Litter Program or other statewide litter programs. These contributions would be treated as restricted funds and would not be subject to state disclosure restrictions. 
    • Primary emphasis: Privacy
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee Jan. 20.
  • Mississippi HB1126: This bill would prohibit any government official from soliciting or accepting contributions from an individual or nonprofit corporation for conducting state or local elections in the state. Instead, all costs and expenses related to conducting elections shall be paid for with public funds.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 17.
  • Mississippi SB2577: This bill would repeal the monetary threshold for reporting campaign contributions. It would also require candidate committees to report each person or political committee who makes a contribution to the reporting candidate or political committee during the reporting period.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 17.
  • Mississippi SB2576: This bill would prohibit a candidate or candidate’s political committee for nonpartisan judicial office from accepting a contribution before the date of the election for which the candidate is seeking to be elected. 
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 17.
  • Nebraska LB1139: This bill would prohibit a 501(c)(12) corporation from making a contribution for the purpose of (a) campaigning for or against the nomination or election of a candidate, (b) campaigning for or against the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question, or (c) supporting or opposing the introduction, enactment, or executive approval of any legislation or legislative resolution.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 19.
  • Virginia HB1302: This bill would require campaign committees to disclose the identifying information of all individuals whose contributions are bundled.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 21.
  • Virginia SB318: This bill would broaden the scope of campaign advertisement disclosure requirements to include electioneering communications. It would also require advertisements that are independent expenditures or support the passage or defeat of a referendum to disclose the names of the sponsor’s three largest contributors in a disclaimer.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 18.


Virginia General Assembly introduces bills barring contributions from public utilities


Welcome to The Disclosure Digest! Keep an eye out for new editions published on Wednesdays through June 2022. 

Virginia General Assembly introduces bills barring contributions from public utilities

Virginia legislators have introduced three bills seeking to limit public utilities’ ability to influence the state’s elections. HB71 (introduced by Del. R. Lee Ware (R) on Jan. 4),  SB45 (introduced by Sen. Chap Petersen (D) on Dec. 28, 2021), and SB568 (introduced by Sen. Richard Stuart (R) on Jan. 12), would all prohibit public utilities from making political contributions and bar candidates, campaign committees, or political committees from soliciting or accepting such contributions.

Background

Utilities’ political contributions have been a reoccuring issue in Virginia politics in recent years. Sen. Petersen has introduced multiple measures similar to SB45, most recently in Jan. 2021, that died in committee. Peterson said calls from reform from progressive Democrats “in a lot of ways moved the needle on this issue.” 

Dominion Energy, one of Virginia’s largest electric utilities, faced criticism from Republicans after reports showed it contributed more than $200,000 to Accountability Virginia PAC, which ran ads against then-candidate Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) during the 2021 gubernatorial race. In an Oct. 2021 interview, Youngkin said, “I’m going to disrupt all of these entrenched interests in Richmond,” including Dominion. Dominion CEO Bob Blue said the company “would not approve or knowingly support” the PAC’s activities and “we failed to vet sufficiently the scope of their intended activities.” “We will not be giving to organizations of this nature in the future,” Blue said. 

Reactions

Ware said he introduced HB71 because utility providers “need to be responsible to the State Corporation Commission and not use massive lobbying monies and a large lobbying corps to get around and get what they want from the assembly.” Referring to the Dominion contributions, Sen. David Suetterlein (R) said the General Assembly “needed to change disclosure policies in Virginia because we would not know exactly what was done until after the next governor was inaugurated.”  Suetterlein introduced SB67 on Jan. 12, which would require in-state political action committees to file a report for any single expenditure of $1,000 or more received in the month before the election on the following day.  

Peterson called for Younkin, who has not taken a public stance on the legislation, to support it. “The commonwealth needs the new governor to take a firm stand on this issue, and my hope is that will change the dynamic,” Peterson said. Asked about the governor’s stance on the bills, Youngkin press secretary Macaulay Porter said, “The governor will review all legislation that comes to his desk.”

Rayhan Daudani, a representative for Dominion Energy, said, “Campaign finance laws should apply to all equally.” As of Jan. 18, no other utility companies have issued public statements on the proposed legislation.

Virginia has a divided government: Republicans control the office of governor and 52 of the 100 seats in the House of Delegates, and Democrats occupy 21 of the 40 seats in the Virginia State Senate.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 79 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure and privacy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Recent legislative actions

For complete information on all of the bills we are tracking, click here

  • Arizona HB2443: This bill would prohibit individuals from contributing more than a total of $5,610 in a calendar year to state and local candidate committees and political action committees that contribute to candidate committees.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 13. 
  • Colorado HB1060: This bill would set limits on contributions to candidates for school district director and require candidates to disclose campaign contribution information to the secretary of state. 
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 14. 
  • Florida H0617: This bill would create an exemption from public records requirements for personal identifying information of current or prospective donors to the direct-support organization of the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking who wish to remain anonymous. It would also create an exemption from notice requirements for specified meetings. It provides for future legislative review and repeal of the exemption under the Open Government Sunset Review Act.
    • Primary emphasis: Privacy
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 13.
  • Florida H0921: This bill would prohibit a foreign national from making or offering to make contributions or expenditures in connection with any election held in the state.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 11. 
  • Florida H1359: This bill prohibits the governor, lieutenant governor, or a member of the cabinet from soliciting or accepting a contribution during the 60-day regular legislative session or a special legislative session. It would also require a political committee that is dissolved to dispose of all residual funds and file a report reflecting the disposition of such funds within 90 days of its dissolution. 
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 14. 
  • Florida H1373: This bill would lower the contribution threshold requiring a group to file a statement of organization from $5,000 to $1,000. It would also change the deadline for filing the statement to within 24 hours after the close of the qualifying period for the office the candidate seeks. It would also require electioneering communications organizations to disclose the identity of donors, the amount contributed, and the purpose of each expenditure.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 14. 
  • Florida H1547: This bill would prohibit a public agency from requiring 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations to provide the public agency with personal information or otherwise compel the release of personal information. This bill would not apply to any report or disclosure required for campaign financing under chapter 106 or lobbying under chapter 11.
    • Primary emphasis: Privacy
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee Jan. 16. 
  • Florida H6109: This bill would remove provisions that preempt counties, municipalities, and other local governmental entities from restricting certain contributions and expenditures or establishing contribution limits different than those defined under state law. 
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 12.
  • Florida S1352: This bill would prohibit a foreign national from making or offering to make contributions or expenditures in connection with any election held in the state.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee Jan. 12. 
  • Florida S1836: This bill would change the contribution threshold requiring a group to file a statement of organization from $5,000 to $1,000. It would change the deadline for filing the statement to within 24 hours after the close of the qualifying period for the office the candidate seeks. It would also require electioneering communications organizations to disclose the identity of donors, the amount contributed, and the purpose of each expenditure.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee Jan. 12. 
  • Florida S1848: This bill would prohibit a public agency from requiring 501(c)(3) nonprofits to provide the public agency with personal information or otherwise compel the release of personal information. This bill would not apply to any report or disclosure required for campaign financing under chapter 106 or lobbying under chapter 11.
    • Primary emphasis: Privacy
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee Jan. 12. 
  • Kentucky HB301: This bill would require all costs and expenses related to election administration be paid for with public funds and prohibit a state government employee from accepting contributions to assist with election administration unless entered into as a lawful contract.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee Jan. 13.
  • New Hampshire SB302: This bill would prohibit public agencies and bodies from disclosing any information that directly or indirectly identifies a person as a member, supporter, volunteer, or donor of financial or nonfinancial support, to any nonprofit organization. It would also ban government entities from requiring a nonprofit to disclose information about its donors. 
    • Primary emphasis: Privacy
    • Bipartisan sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 11.
  • New Jersey A924: This bill would prohibit any person holding an administrative position in a Type II school district from making campaign contributions, directly or through a family member, to a board of education candidate of that district of more than $100 per election.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 11.
  • New Jersey A1016: This bill prohibits a legislative aide who works, or worked, directly for a member of the Legislature in a district office from making a political contribution or giving other things of value greater than $30 to that legislator. 
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Bipartisan sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 11.
  • New Mexico HB51: This bill would repeal a statute requiring candidates for the state retirement board to file a report disclosing contributions they received.
    • Primary emphasis: Privacy
    • Bipartisan sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 18.
  • Utah HB0040: This bill would prevent the disclosure of the names and information of donors or prospective donors to a governmental entity. This would include an institution within the state system of higher education defined in Section 53B-1-102, if the donor requests anonymity in writing and the government entity is engaged in educational, charitable, or artistic endeavors, and has no regulatory or legislative authority over the donor. 
    • Primary emphasis: Privacy
    • Bipartisan sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 12.
  • Virginia HB489: The bill would require advertisements that are independent expenditures or support the passage or defeat of a referendum to disclose the names of the sponsor’s three largest contributors in a disclaimer.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 11.
  • Virginia HB492: This bill would require campaign committee treasurers to keep accounts of campaign contributions and expenditures and authorizes the Department of Elections to conduct reviews of a percentage of campaign committees. The Department of Elections would report the results of the reviews to the State Board of Elections, the Governor, and the General Assembly and make them available on the Department’s website.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 11.
  • Virginia HB500: This bill would broaden the scope of campaign advertisement disclosure requirements to include electioneering communications.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 11.
  • Virginia HB524: This bill would prohibit any candidate from soliciting or accepting a contribution from any public service corporation or any political action committee established and administered by such a corporation.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 11.
  • Virginia HB575: This bill would establish contribution limits from any individual to any candidate campaign committee, political action committee, and political party committee and from any political action committee or political party committee to any campaign committee. It would also prohibit corporations from making any contribution to any candidate for elected office.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 11.
  • Virginia SB318: This bill would broaden the scope of campaign advertisement disclosure requirements to include electioneering communications. It would also require advertisements that are independent expenditures or support the passage or defeat of a referendum to disclose the names of the sponsor’s three largest contributors in a disclaimer.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 11.
  • Virginia SB568: This bill would prohibit public utilities from making political contributions.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 12.
  • Virginia SB67: This bill would require in-state political action committees to file a report for any single expenditure of $1,000 or more received in the month before the election on the following day.  
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 18
  • West Virginia HB2841: This bill would require political committee reports to include the name of any donors and would make those reports public. 
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 12.
  • West Virginia SB54: This bill would require political committees to disclose contributors’ names and addresses to the secretary of state.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Bipartisan sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 12.
  • West Virginia SB107: This bill would require the disclosure of the names and addresses of contributors, including federal political action committees that make state level independent expenditures or engage in state level electioneering communications.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 12.
  • West Virginia SB258: This bill would allow members of the Legislature or Board of Public Works to collect donations for a regional or national organization conference or other function related to the office of the member to be held in the state for the purpose of deferring costs to the state for hosting of the conference or function. The organization must file a complete list of the names and last known addresses of all donors and the amount of donations received with the secretary of state.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 13.


Oregon groups propose ballot initiatives to limit contributions, increase disclosure


Welcome back to The Disclosure Digest! We’re glad to be back in your inbox again every week. The weekly edition will be authored by Marquee staff writer Ethan Rice, who took over the project from fellow Marquee writer Jerrick Adams in August. Keep an eye out for new editions published on Wednesdays through June 2022. 

Oregon groups propose ballot initiatives to limit contributions, increase disclosure 

A series of advocacy groups have filed three ballot measure proposals with Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s office intended to limit campaign contributions and enact more stringent donor disclosure requirements.  

What these initiatives would do

Honest Elections Oregon, Portland Forward, and the League of Women Voters Oregon filed three different versions of the Oregon Campaign Finance Contribution Limits Initiative on Dec. 6, 2021.  The initiatives would limit campaign finance contributions from individuals, multicandidate committees, political parties, legislative caucus committees, and membership organizations (e.g. unions). Groups would have to disclose the identity of every donor who contributed more than $5,000 in all political advertisements and communications and would also have to identify the people or entities that paid for them. One of the three initiatives would also establish a public campaign financing system where donations would be matched with public funds. 

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees filed two different versions of the Oregon Campaign Finance Limits Initiative on Dec. 17. The initiatives would limit campaign finance contributions from the same groups as the Oregon Campaign Finance Contribution Limits Initiative and require campaigns to disclose top donors in political ads. Satellite groups would also have to disclose their donors. It would also create a public campaign finance system similar to the Dec. 6 initiatives.

The third initiative was also filed on Dec. 17, with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 submitting the Establish Campaign Finance Contribution Limits Initiative. The initiative would limit campaign finance contributions from individuals to $2,500 a year to any candidate or cause and would prohibit contributions from corporations. The initiative would allow entities to create small-donor committees made up of members that are limited to $250 contributions per member each year. Unlike the other initiatives, it does not propose a public campaign finance system. 

Reactions

Rebecca Gladstone, a chief petitioner of the Campaign Finance Contribution Limits Initiative, said, “These measures can help to restore voters’ confidence in healthy democracy. Voters must know that our elections are fair and free of undue influence by powerful dark money at the expense of voters. We can accomplish this and restore trust in our political system.” Jason Kafoury, another petitioner for the initiative, said it “could move Oregon from the Wild Wild West of campaign finance to leading the way with one the best programs in the nation.”

Michael Selvaggio, the chief petitioner of the Establish Campaign Finance Contribution Limits Initiative, said that effort arose from concerns that the Dec. 6 Campaign Finance Contribution Limits Initiative could allow groups to file election complaints against one another. “There were some concerns about some of the other measures that were filed. We got together and decided what we were going to do was float our own concept,” Selvaggio said

Imani Dorsey, director of the political nonprofit Washington County Ignite, said complying with the new measures would make it more difficult for small nonprofits to achieve their goals. “The provisions in the measures would just make things really hard and add administrative things we aren’t able to accommodate,” Dorsey said

Christel Allen, executive director of the group Pro-Choice Oregon, also said the requirements of the current initiatives would burden political committees, adding that disclosure requirements may endanger some donors. “When it comes to those of us who work to defend abortion access, unfortunately our opponents have a history of violence,” she said.

What comes next

In Oregon, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated state statute for the ballot is equal to six percent of the votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election. Signatures for Oregon initiatives must be submitted four months before the next regular general election. State law also requires paid signature gatherers to submit any signatures they gather every month. In order for the state to certify the initiatives for the 2022 ballot, 112,020 valid signatures are required by Jul. 8.

Between 2010 and 2020, the average ballot  initiative certification rate in Oregon was 8.3%. Between 1985 and 2020, 148 initiatives appeared on Oregon ballots with 35.8% approved at the ballot box.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: Welcome to 2022! This is a first look at donor disclosure and privacy legislation as state legislative sessions begin across the country. We’re currently tracking 57 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure and privacy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Recent legislative actions

For complete information on all of the bills we are tracking, click here

  • Alabama HB41: This bill would prohibit state and local election officials and their employees from soliciting, accepting, using, or disposing of certain donations from individuals or nongovernmental entities for funding certain election-related expenses.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 11. 
  • Alabama HB74: This bill would prohibit solicitation, receipt, or use of private funds to administer an election.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 11. 
  • Florida H0921: This bill would prohibit a foreign national from making or offering to make contributions or expenditures in connection with any election held in the state.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 3. 
  • Florida H1359: This bill prohibits the governor, lieutenant governor, or a member of the cabinet from soliciting or accepting a contribution during the 60-day regular legislative session or a special legislative session. It would also require a political committee that is dissolved to dispose of all residual funds and file a report reflecting the disposition of such funds within 90 days of its dissolution. 
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 8. 
  • Florida H1373: This bill would lower the contribution threshold requiring a group to file a statement of organization from $5,000 to $1,000 and change the deadline for filing the statement to within 24 hours after the close of the qualifying period for the office the candidate seeks. It would also require electioneering communications organizations to disclose the identity of donors, the amount contributed, and the purpose of each expenditure.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 8. 
  • Florida H6109: This bill would remove provisions that preempt counties, municipalities, and other local governmental entities from restricting certain contributions and expenditures or establishing contribution limits different than those defined under state law. 
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 7. 
  • Florida S1352: This bill would prohibit a foreign national from making or offering to make contributions or expenditures in connection with any election held in the state.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Dec. 21, 2021.
  • Florida S1836: This bill would change the contribution threshold requiring a group to file a statement of organization from $5,000 to $1,000 and change the deadline for filing the statement to within 24 hours after the close of the qualifying period for the office the candidate seeks. It would also require electioneering communications organizations to disclose the identity of donors, the amount contributed, and the purpose of each expenditure.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 7. 
  • Florida S1848: This bill would prohibit a public agency from requiring 501(c)(3) nonprofits to provide the public agency with personal information or otherwise compel the release of personal information. This bill would not apply to any report or disclosure required for campaign financing under chapter 106 or lobbying under chapter 11.
    • Primary emphasis: Privacy
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 7. 
  • Indiana SB0134:  This bill would require donations from a nongovernmental organization to a state agency or local unit of government to be listed in a separate line item in the budget of the state or local unit of government.The budget line item described in subdivision must specify each individual state employee or local government employee, whichever is applicable, whose salary is funded in whole or in part from the donated money.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 4. 
  • Maine LD1754: This bill amends the law requiring contributors giving more than $100,000 to a political action committee or ballot question committee to file a statement with the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. The proposed changes would: 1) Exempt political action committees and ballot question committees already registered with the commission from filing the major contributor report; 2) Permit a major contributor to request a modification of the requirement to disclose its 5 largest sources of income in the previous 6 months; and 3) Clarify the enforcement provisions regarding potential violations and the factors the commission must consider for each potential violation.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 12. 
  • Maine LD1782: This bill would prohibit a ballot question committee from making contributions to a candidate or political action committee if the contributed funds are derived, in whole or in part, from a business entity. 
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 12. 
  • Maryland HB93: This bill would require candidates for municipal office and homeownder’s associations to submit reports of all contributions and expenditures to the state, to appoint a committee treasurer, maintain records of all donations and expenditures, and retain those records for a period of two years.  It would prohibit a candidate from accepting any donations unless they disclose all donations and disbursements in accordance with these guidelines.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 12. 
  • Maryland SB15: This bill would allow the state board of elections to impose a civil penalty for failure to report and maintain a record of campaign contributions. It would also prohibit an individual from running for office or becoming the treasurer of a campaign committee if they fail to pay a civil penalty under this section. 
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 12. 
  • Missouri HB2312: This bill would prohibit candidate committees from accepting cash donations larger than $100, contributions made on behalf of another person, anonymous contributions of more than $25, and contributions from out-of-state committees. Anonymous contributions cannot exceed $500 or one percent of the aggregate amount of all contributions the committe receives in the same calendar year, whichever is greater. The bill also requires recipients to disclose the name and address of the actual source of each contribution and to disclose sponsors in print and digital advertisements. 
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 10.
  • Nebraska LB370: This bill would prohibit a public agency from disclosing identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors.
    • Primary emphasis: Privacy
    • Unknown sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 5.
  • Nebraska LB8: This bill would change the statutory definition of an “independent expenditure.” It would also alter reporting requirements for independent expenditures and electioneering communications.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Unknown sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 11.
  • Nebraska LB733: This bill would prohibit a foreign national, directly or indirectly, from making a contribution to a ballot question committee or for a ballot question committee to solicit, accept, or receive such a contribution.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Unknown sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 10.
  • Nebraska LB734: This bill would prohibit contributions to a candidate committee totaling more than $5,000 during an election period. A candidate committee would be required to refund any contribution exceeding $5,000 within ten days after receipt. Committees would have to report such contribution on subsequent campaign statements disclosing the name and address of the contributor, the amount received, the date of receipt, and the date returned.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Unknown sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 10.
  • Nebraska LB858:  This bill would prohibit the secretary of state, election commissioners, and county clerks from soliciting, accepting, or using any grants or donations from any private entity for preparing for, administering, or conducting an election.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Unknown sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 11.
  • New Hampshire SB302: This bill would prohibit public agencies and bodies from disclosing any information that directly or indirectly identifies a person as a member, supporter, volunteer, or donor of financial or nonfinancial support, to any nonprofit organization. It would also ban government entities from requiring a nonprofit to disclose information about its donors. 
    • Primary emphasis: Privacy
    • Bipartisan sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 5.
  • New Hampshire SB348: This bill would prohibit contributions made on behalf of another individual, from a labor union or affiliate of a labor union, or from an anonymous source. It would also establish maximum limits on contributions from any single individual or entity. 
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 5.
  • New York A00064: This bill would require district attorney candidates to disclose campaign contributions from law firms that represent defendants in criminal proceedings.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 5.
  • New York A00447: This bill would require that identifying information be reported for intermediaries’ contributions  to political candidates or committees.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 5.
  • New York A01383: This bill would require financial disclosure of certain political contributions elected officials make, including statewide executives, state legislators, and New York City officials.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 5.
  • New York S00352: This bill would require that identifying information be reported for intermediaries’ contributions to political candidates or committees.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 5.
  • New York S00840: This bill would establish reporting requirements for transition and inaugural entities.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 5.
  • New York S00941: This bill would require district attorney candidates to disclose campaign contributions from law firms that represent defendants in criminal proceedings.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 5.
  • New York S01464: This bill would require that state legislators who receive contributions for the payment of legal services disclose the identities of donors.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 5. 
  • New York S02637: This bill would require that any statement of campaign receipt that includes a contribution from a limited liability corporation disclose the name of that corporation’s registered agent (or, absent that, another person).
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 5. 
  • New York S03090: This bill would require that identifying information be reported for intermediaries’ contributions to political candidates or committees.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 5. 
  • Rhode Island H7033: This bill would require candidates to file campaign disclosure reports for all elections, including races in which the candidate ran unopposed.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 10. 
  • Virginia HB174: This bill would prohibit contributions to a candidate’s campaign committee from out-of-state residents and persons or committees with a candidate, treasurer, or custodian of books who does not reside in the district in which the candidate is seeking election if the contribution exceeds 75 percent of the total contributions received by the candidate’s campaign committee. It would also require contributions from a single person or committee that are directed through another person or committee to be considered contributions from the same original contributor.  
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 10.
  • Virginia HB71: This bill would prohibit a candidate, campaign committee, or political committee from soliciting or accepting a contribution from any public utility or political committee a public utility has established.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Republican sponsorship
    • This bill was introduced on Jan. 4.
  • Virginia SB111: This bill would prohibit a candidate from soliciting or accepting a contribution from a person or committee in excess of $25,000 per election. It would also require contributions from a single person or committee that are directed through another person or committee to be considered contributions from the same original contributor.  
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 6.
  • Virginia SB44: This bill would prohibit a person, campaign committee, or political committee from soliciting or accepting a contribution of more than $20,000 from any one campaign committee of a candidate for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, or the General Assembly in any one candidate election cycle.
    • Primary emphasis:  Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Dec. 28, 2021.
  • Virginia SB45: This bill would prohibit a candidate, campaign committee, or political committee from soliciting or accepting a contribution from any public utility or political committee a public utility has established.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Democratic sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Dec. 28, 2021.
  • Wisconsin AB819: This bill would prohibit referendum committees from accepting contributions from foreign nationals.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Bipartisan sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Jan. 6.
  • Wisconsin SB795: This bill would prohibit referendum committees from accepting contributions from foreign nationals.
    • Primary emphasis: Disclosure
    • Bipartisan sponsorship
    • This bill was referred to committee on Dec. 17, 2021.


Virginia Supreme Court approves new state legislative district maps

Virginia enacted new state legislative districts on Dec. 28, 2021, when the Virginia Supreme Court approved proposals drafted by two special masters the court had appointed. The maps will take effect for Virginia’s 2022 state legislative elections.

Democrat and Republican consultants submitted statewide map proposals for consideration to the Virginia Redistricting Commission on Sept. 18. After the commission missed its deadline for approving map proposals and the Virginia Supreme Court assumed authority over the process, the two special masters selected by the court released proposals for House and Senate districts on Dec. 8.

As of Jan. 3, 28 states have adopted new state legislative maps for both chambers, one state adopted a map for one chamber, and 21 states have not yet adopted state legislative maps. As of Jan. 3, 2012, 32 states had enacted legislative redistricting plans after the 2010 census.

Nationwide, states have completed legislative redistricting for 1,078 of 1,972 state Senate seats (54.7%) and 2,776 of 5,411 state House seats (51.3%).

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Virginia Supreme Court approves new congressional district map

Virginia enacted new congressional districts on Dec. 28, 2021, when the Virginia Supreme Court approved a proposal drafted by two special masters the court had appointed. Virginia was apportioned 11 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it received after the 2010 census. This map will take effect for Virginia’s 2022 congressional elections.

The Virginia Redistricting Commission released two statewide congressional map proposals on Oct. 14 and Oct. 15. After the commission missed its deadline for approving map proposals and the Virginia Supreme Court assumed authority over the process, the two special masters released proposals for congressional districts on Dec. 8.

Liz White, the director of OneVirginia2021, said, “They’re definitely the best maps we’ve seen in Virginia in a long time. It’s the first set of maps that haven’t been drawn at all by any member of the legislature, by any member of any political party.” OneVirginia2021 was formed in 2014 with “the common goal of reforming Virginia’s outdated and discriminatory redistricting laws.”

U.S. Rep. Ben Cline (R), whose district boundaries were redrawn to include new areas, said, “I look forward to the opportunity of introducing myself to the new voters added to VA-6 including the Counties of Frederick, Clarke, and Alleghany, and the Cities of Winchester, Covington, and Salem. However, I am disappointed I will no longer have the privilege of representing so many friends and neighbors in Amherst and Bedford Counties and the City of Lynchburg.”

As of Jan. 3, 24 states have adopted congressional district maps, two states have approved congressional district boundaries that have not yet taken effect, six states were apportioned one congressional district (so no congressional redistricting is required), and 18 states have not yet adopted congressional redistricting plans after the 2020 census. As of Jan. 3 in 2012, 31 states had enacted congressional redistricting plans.

Congressional redistricting has been completed for 266 of the 435 seats (60.0%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Forty members of Congress are not running for re-election

As of Dec. 21, 2021, 40 members of Congress—six members of the U.S. Senate and 34 members of the U.S. House—have announced they will not seek re-election. The latest member to announce their intent to not run in 2022, Lucille Roybal-Allard (D), announced her retirement from the House on Dec. 21. 

Roybal-Allard represents California’s 40th Congressional District and assumed office in 2013. She won re-election in 2020 against C. Antonio Delgado (R) with 73% of the vote to Delgado’s 27%. “After thirty years in the House of Representatives, the time has come for me to spend more time with my family. Therefore, I have decided not to seek reelection,” Roybal-Allard said.

Four other members of Congress, Stephanie Murphy (D), Alan Lowenthal (D), Devin Nunes (R), and Peter DeFazio (D), also announced this month that they will not run for re-election. Murphy has represented Florida’s 7th Congressional District since 2017. She won re-election in 2020 against challenger Leo Valentin (R) with 55% of the vote to Valentin’s 43%.

Representing California’s 47th Congressional District, Lowenthal assumed office in 2013 and announced his retirement on Dec. 16. He won re-election in 2020 against John Briscoe (R) with 63% of the vote to Briscoe’s 37%.

Nunes, who has represented California’s 22nd Congressional District since 2013, announced on Dec. 6 that he would not seek re-election. Nunes said he is planning to become CEO of Trump Media & Technology Group, a social media company founded by former President Donald Trump (R). He won re-election in 2020 against Phil Arballo (D) with 54% to Arballo’s 46%.

DeFazio represents Oregon’s 4th Congressional District. He assumed office in 1987 and is the longest-serving Congressperson member in Oregon history. He won re-election in 2020 against Alek Skarlatos (R) with 52% of the vote to Skarlatos’ 46%.

Of the 40 members not seeking re-election in 2022, 25 members—six senators and 19 representatives—have announced their retirement. Five retiring Senate members are Republicans and one is a Democrat, and of the retiring House members, 14 are Democrats and five are Republicans.

Fifteen U.S. House members are running for other offices. Four Republicans and four Democrats are seeking seats in the U.S. Senate, one Republican and two Democrats are running for governor, one Republican is running for secretary of state, one Democrat is running for mayor, and one Democrat and one Republican are running for attorney general. No U.S. Senate members are running for other offices.



South Carolina enacts new state legislative districts

South Carolina enacted new state legislative district maps on Dec. 10, 2021, when Gov. Henry McMaster (R ) signed a proposal approved by the South Carolina House and Senate into law.

The South Carolina Senate approved House and Senate map proposals in a 43-1 vote on Dec. 7, and the House approved the new districts in a 75-27 vote on Dec. 9. Gov. McMaster signed the bill into law the next day. This map will take effect for South Carolina’s 2022 state legislative elections.

Rep. Jay Jordan (R) said the House Redistricting Committee considered public testimony and map submissions when drafting new districts: “The committee, before the — to go through the entire process worked very hard, traveling across the entire state, taking testimony, looking at all the different proposed maps.” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Luke Rankin (R) said, “Democrats: Be happy. Republicans: Don’t be greedy. This is a good plan.”

Rep. Wendy Brawley (D) said, “The map we have before us from the House Judiciary Committee is highly gerrymandered. That has been determined.” Lynn Teague, vice president for the South Carolina League of Women Voters, said, “[The House map’s] lack of competition is a very serious threat to representative democracy. General election votes become meaningless because the outcome is certain, or nearly so.”

Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 817 of 1,972 state Senate seats (41.4%) and 2,156 of 5,411 state House seats (39.8%). During the 2010 redistricting cycle, South Carolina approved legislative maps on Jun. 28, 2011.

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Cordoza declared winner in Virginia House recount, confirming 52-48 Republican majority

On Dec. 8, 2021, a three-judge circuit court panel ruled Aijalon Cordoza (R) the winner of the election in Virginia House of Delegates District 91. The decision confirmed that Republicans won a 52-48 majority in the chamber. Officials in District 85, the only other district where a candidate requested a recount, confirmed on Dec. 3 that Karen Greenhalgh’s (R) defeated Alex Askew (D).

Although certified results released on November 15 showed Republicans winning 52 races and Democrats winning 48, the winning candidates’ margin of victory in District 85 and District 91 were within 1% of the total votes cast. Under Virginia law, the second-place finishers may request a recount within 10 days of results being certified. The deadline for filing petitions was moved to Nov. 29, as the courts were closed for Thanksgiving on Nov. 25 and 26. Askew and Mugler filed court petitions for recounts on Nov. 17.

Prior to the election, Democrats controlled the chamber with a 55-45 majority. Republicans needed to gain six seats to take control of the chamber in 2021, and Democrats needed to hold at least 51 seats to maintain their majority. Five of the ten preceding elections in the chamber saw net shifts of six seats or more: twice in Republicans’ favor and three times in Democrats’. On average, 6.6 seats shifted control per election cycle during that same time frame.

The outcome of the House elections, in addition to the state’s 2021 gubernatorial election, also determined Virginia’s trifecta status. Virginia became a Democratic trifecta in 2019 for the first time since 1994. Since Republicans won control of the House and the governorship in 2021, they have ended Democrats’ trifecta control of the state.



Recount begins in Virginia House of Delegates District 85

A recount of votes cast in the Nov. 2, 2021, general election for Virginia House of Delegates District 85 began on Dec. 2. Incumbent Del. Alex Askew (D) and District 91 incumbent Del. Martha Mugler (D) both filed court petitions for a recount on November 17. The recount in District 91 is expected to begin on Dec. 7. 

In Virginia, a candidate may request a recount of his or her race within 10 days of results being certified if the margin between the requester and the winning candidate is less than or equal to 1% of the total votes cast for the two candidates. Certified results released on Nov. 15 showed both races were within this margin. Karen Greenhalgh (R) led Askew by 127 votes in District 85 and Aijalon Cordoza (R) led Mugler by 94 votes in District 91. 

According to Virginia Beach Deputy Registrar Christine Lewis, the District 85 ballots will be recounted using a high-speed scanner, and any ballots featuring irregularities will be counted by hand. On Dec. 3, any ballots challenged by either candidate will be inspected by a three-judge panel, who will then rule on how they should be counted.

According to the certified results, Republicans won 52 of the chamber’s 100 total seats, meaning that if the recounts in Districts 85 and 91 succeed in reversing the results, the chamber will be tied 50-50. In the event of a tied chamber, the House would vote on a power-sharing agreement and the Clerk of the House would preside over the vote for a speaker. Any tie vote in the chamber would reject any agreement, speaker, or legislation. 

Across the 50 states, 20 states have a statutory provision allowing for automatic recounts, and 43 states have a statutory provision allowing for requested recounts. Since 2017, Ballotpedia has covered five noteworthy recounts at the state legislative level. Those five recounts resulted in two reversals of the initial election result, one of which became a tie.

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Baldon and Jones win Atlanta Public Schools runoff elections

Runoff elections for District 2 and At-Large District 7 of the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) school board took place on Nov. 30, 2021. Aretta Baldon defeated Keisha Carey in the runoff election for the District 2 seat, 50.6% to 49.4%. Tamara Jones defeated KaCey Venning in the runoff for the At-Large District 7 seat, 66.9% to 33.1%.

Nine seats on the Atlanta Public Schools school board in Georgia—three at-large and six district seats—were up for general election on Nov. 2. Districts 1, 4, 5, and 6 and At-Large Districts 8 and 9 were decided in the general election.

Baldon was the District 2 incumbent and ran against challengers Carey and Bethsheba Rem in the general election. Baldon received 48.5% of the vote and Carey received 29.5%, followed by Rem with 22%. At-Large District 7 was an open seat, as incumbent Kandis Wood Jackson did not seek re-election. Five candidates ran for the seat, with Jones receiving 39.5% of the vote, Venning receiving 20%, and candidates Patricia Crayton, Royce Carter Mann, and Stephen Spring receiving 15% or less.

With one-quarter of APS students enrolled in charter and partner schools, standards for renewing and expanding charter schools were a major issue in this race. COVID-19 response policies, including mask and vaccine mandates, were also an issue.

The 2021 election was the last election during which every board seat was up for election simultaneously, as Georgia’s HB 1075 changed the state’s school board election process so that members’ terms are staggered based on whether they serve in even or odd-numbered districts. Jones will serve a two-year term that will expire Dec. 31, 2023, and Baldon will serve a four-year term that will expire on Dec. 31, 2025.