Author

Jerrick Adams

Jerrick Adams is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at jerrick.adams@ballotpedia.org

SCOTUS finds Virginia lawmakers lack standing to challenge newly adopted state legislative district plan

On June 17, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, finding that the state House, controlled by Republicans, lacked standing to appeal a lower court order striking down the original legislative district plan as a racial gerrymander. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4, with Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg penning the majority opinion, joined by Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Neil Gorsuch. Associate Justice Samuel Alito dissented, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Brett Kavanaugh. As a result of the high court’s ruling, a lower court order implementing a remedial district plan will stand.
 
In 2014, opponents of the state legislative district plan adopted during Virginia’s 2010 redistricting cycle filed suit against the state in federal district court, alleging that 12 legislative districts constituted an illegal racial gerrymander as drawn. The district court rejected this argument, and the plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of the United States. In 2017, the high court remanded the case to the district court, finding that it had “employed an incorrect legal standard in determining that race did not predominate in 11 of the 12 districts.” In 2018, the district court ruled that these 11 districts had been subject to racial gerrymandering. After the state legislature did not adopt a remedial plan, the district court appointed a special master to draft one. On January 22, 2019, the district court issued an order implementing this remedial plan. Republican lawmakers in the House of Delegates appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, but Virginia’s attorney general, Mark Herring (D), declined to join the appeal. This prompted the question of standing on which the high court ruled in today’s opinion.
 
Every state legislative seat in Virginia is up for election this year. The remedial plan implemented by the district court this year applies to the 2019 election cycle. The outcomes of these elections will determine the composition of state government heading into the 2020 redistricting cycle. If Republicans maintain their majorities in both chambers, they will be assured a position of influence during redistricting efforts. If Democrats win both chambers, they will gain trifecta control of state government and, by extension, the redistricting process (the governorship, which is not up for election until 2021, is held by Democrat Ralph Northam).
 


New Jersey governor to sign donor disclosure bill conditionally vetoed in May

On June 10, New Jersey lawmakers and gubernatorial staff announced that Gov. Phil Murphy (D) would sign S1500 into law after conditionally vetoing the bill in May. The measure will require 501(c)(4)s, super PACs, and other entities to disclose their donors who contribute $10,000 or more.

What does the legislation do?

  • As enacted, S1500 defines an independent expenditure committee as any person or group organized under sections 501(c)(4) or 527 of the Internal Revenue Code that spends $3,000 or more annually to influence or provide political information about any of the following:
    • “the outcome of any election or the nomination, election, or defeat of any person to any state or local elective public office”
    • “the passage or defeat of any public question, legislation, or regulation”
  • Independent expenditure committees will be required to disclose all expenditures exceeding $3,000. These committees will also be required to disclose the identities of their donors who contribute $10,000 or more.

What are the responses?

  • Alyana Alfaro, a representative for the governor’s office, said, “The Governor looks forward to signing the legislation while working with the Legislature to resolve outstanding issues by the end of the month.” According to NJTV News, “a source close to the negotiations said … that Murphy agreed to sign the bill only with the understanding that lawmakers will pass a cleanup bill later to address concerns.”
  • Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) said, “I think the administration knew that there was an override and that it absolutely would’ve succeeded in both houses. But, that being said, it’s not about trying to embarrass anybody. We wanted to get a piece of legislation passed that was meaningful and long overdue.” Sweeney also said, “The bill is going to be signed as it was passed. If the governor has concerns we can talk about them, but it has nothing to do with this bill.”

What brought us here?

  • On May 13, Murphy conditionally vetoed the bill, saying the following in his veto statement: “I commend my colleagues in the Legislature for seeking to ensure that so-called ‘dark money’ is brought out into the open. However, I am mindful that such efforts must be carefully balanced against constitutionally protected speech and association rights. Because certain provisions of Senate Bill No. 1500 (Fifth Reprint) may infringe on both, and because the bill does not go far enough in mandating disclosures of political activity that can be constitutionally required, I cannot support it in its current form.” With his conditional veto, Murphy stated his objections to the bill and proposed amendments to address them. This differs from an absolute veto, which is an outright gubernatorial rejection of a proposed law. Both are subject to the same override provisions.
  • Lawmakers discussed the possibility of overriding Murphy’s veto. Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D), a primary sponsor of S1500, said, “We are actively discussing the possibility of a veto override. It is not my preference. But I do feel very strongly that this is a good government bill and we need to act now.” Senator Troy Singleton (D), another S1500 sponsor, said, “I think the atmosphere was challenged a little bit by some of the governor’s comments. [We] took offense to the idea that what we sent was somehow weaker than what was sent back by the governor’s office … we didn’t want to have the discussion steeped in emotion. We’re trying to take a step back to see if there’s a path forward.”

 

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 72 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. 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.

Disclosure Digest map June 17, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Disclosure Digest status chart June 17, 2019.png

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

Disclosure Digest partisan chart June 17, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken on relevant bills in the past week. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number. Know of any legislation we’re missing? Please email us so we can include it on our tracking list.

  • California AB1217: This bill would expand the definition of “advertisement” under the state’s campaign finance laws, thereby extending existing disclosure requirements.
    • Referred to Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments June 12.


Legislative activity in the wake of Janus

On June 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that public-sector unions cannot require non-members to pay agency fees to cover the costs of non-political union activities. Lawmakers nationwide have since taken up legislation in response to Janus. The summary below is a detailed account of legislative activity in the year since the Janus decision came down.
 
2019 post-Janus activity: As of June 14, 31 state legislatures have considered 101 bills relevant to public-sector union policy.
Breakdown by state: Oregon has had 10 relevant bills introduced this year—more than any other state (none of these have yet been enacted, although two have cleared both chambers of the state legislature). Pennsylvania and Washington have followed close behind with nine and eight bills, respectively.
Partisan split: Of the 101 bills introduced nationwide, Democrats have sponsored 51. Republicans have sponsored 38. Bipartisan groups or committees have sponsored the rest.
 
2018 post-Janus activity: Between June 27, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2018, the Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, and Pennsylvania legislatures took up a total of seven bills relevant to public-sector union policy.
Breakdown by state: Pennsylvania had four relevant bills introduced post-Janus in 2018. One relevant bill was introduced in each of the three remaining states during that period.
Partisan split: Republicans introduced four of the seven bills. Bipartisan groups or committees sponsored the other three.
 
Bills enacted since Janus: Three bills have been enacted since Janus. These are detailed below. Another five bills introduced this year have cleared state legislatures but have yet to be enacted.
 
– Delaware SB8: This bill establishes compensation as a mandatory subject of collective bargaining efforts.
– Nevada SB135: This bill provides for collective bargaining rights for state employees.
– Washington HB1575: This bill declared that public employers and public-sector unions are not liable for claims involving agency fees paid to unions prior to Janus. It repealed statutes requiring employees to join unions or pay dues as a condition of employment. It also amended dues deduction authorization laws, allowing authorizations to be initiated via electronic, voice, or written communication and requiring authorizations to be discontinued by a written request made to the union.
 
To mark the one-year anniversary of Janus, we will be examining its effects in three special issues of Union Station and a webinar.
 
June 14 Union Station: Legislative activity in the wake of Janus
June 21 Union Station: Litigation activity post-Janus
June 26 webinar: Join us for a 30-minute discussion of Janus and its effects on legislation and union membership.
June 28 Union Station: Effect on union membership
 


What does the legislative landscape look like post-Janus?

On June 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that public-sector unions cannot require non-members to pay agency fees to cover the costs of non-political union activities. Lawmakers nationwide have since taken up legislation in response to Janus. The summary below is a detailed account of legislative activity in the year since the Janus decision came down.

  • 2019 post-Janus activity: As of June 14, 31 state legislatures have considered 101 bills relevant to public-sector union policy.
    • Breakdown by state: Oregon has had 10 relevant bills introduced this year, more than any other state (none of these have yet been enacted, although two have cleared both chambers of the state legislature). Pennsylvania and Washington have followed close behind with nine and eight bills, respectively.
    • Partisan split: Of the 101 bills introduced nationwide, Democrats have sponsored 51. Republicans have sponsored 38. Bipartisan groups or committees have sponsored the rest.
  • 2018 post-Janus activity: Between June 27, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2018, the Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, and Pennsylvania legislatures took up a total of seven bills relevant to public-sector union policy.
    • Breakdown by state: Pennsylvania had four relevant bills introduced post-Janus in 2018. One relevant bill was introduced in each of the three remaining states during that period.
    • Partisan split: Republicans introduced four of the seven bills. Bipartisan groups or committees sponsored the other three.
  • Bills enacted since Janus: Three bills have been enacted since Janus. These are detailed below. Another five bills introduced this year have cleared state legislatures but have yet to be enacted.
    • Delaware SB8: This bill establishes compensation as a mandatory subject of collective bargaining efforts.
    • Nevada SB135: This bill provides for collective bargaining rights for state employees.
    • Washington HB1575: This bill declared that public employers and public-sector unions are not liable for claims involving agency fees paid to unions prior to Janus. It repealed statutes requiring employees to join unions or pay dues as a condition of employment. It also amends dues deduction authorization laws, allowing authorizations to be initiated via electronic, voice, or written communication and requiring authorizations to be discontinued by a written request made to the union.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 101 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. 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.

Union Station map June 14, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart June 14, 2019.png

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

Union Station partisan chart June 14, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions on relevant bills since the beginning of the year. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state and then by bill number.

  • Massachusetts H3854: This bill would authorize employers to disclose personal employee information to unions. It would also permit unions to require non-members to pay for the costs associated with grievance and arbitration proceedings. It would require employers to provide unions with access to employees, and it would allow for dues deduction authorizations to be irrevocable for a period of up to one year.
    • Read for the first time in Senate and referred to Ways and Means Committee June 10.
  • Nevada SB135: This bill would provide for collective bargaining rights for state employees.
    • Signed into law June 12.
  • New Hampshire SB148: This bill would require public employers to notify hirees of their right to join or refrain from joining. The notification would also include the estimated annual cost of joining a union.
    • Senate concurred in House amendments June 13.
  • Oregon HB2016: This bill would require public employers to grant paid time to employees participating in certain union activities. It would also require employers to furnish unions with access to employees.
    • House concurred in Senate amendments June 11.
  • Oregon HB3009: This bill would require public employers to provide unions with access to new employees. It would also permit individuals who are not union members to make payments in lieu of dues to unions.
    • House concurred in Senate amendments June 11.
  • Rhode Island H5259: This bill would authorize unions to impose fees on non-members for administrative matters.
    • House Labor Committee recommended passage June 12.
  • Rhode Island S0712: This bill would authorize unions to impose fees on non-members for administrative matters. It would require employers to notify unions within five days of hiring new employees. It would also require employees to file written notice with the state controller in order to discontinue dues payroll deductions.
    • Senate approved substitute bill June 11. Referred to House Labor Committee June 12.


Federal judge hears arguments in case over IRS donor disclosure rules

On June 5, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris heard arguments in Bullock v. Internal Revenue Service, a case concerning an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule exempting select classes of nonprofit organizations from donor disclosure requirements. The subject of the June 5 hearing was whether states have standing to challenge the IRS rule.

  • What is at issue? On July 16, 2018, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2018-38, which exempts 501(c) nonprofit entities from reporting the names and addresses of their contributors to the IRS. The rule modification does not apply to 501(c)(3) organizations.
  • Who are the parties to the suit, and what are they saying?
    • The plaintiffs are Montana Gov. Stephen Bullock, also a 2020 presidential candidate, (D) and the Montana Department of Revenue. The state of New Jersey later joined the suit. Montana operates under divided government (Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature). New Jersey is a Democratic trifecta.
      • In a court filing, attorneys for the plaintiffs said, “Reduced transparency for 501(c) organizations at the federal level has significant downstream effects. In the context of elections and election spending, reduced transparency at the IRS upends settled expectations that federal tax-exempt organizations are what they purport to be: domestically-funded social welfare groups validly participating in elections, for example.” The attorneys for the state of New Jersey are Attorney General Gurbir Grewal (D), Assistant Attorney General Glenn Moramarco, and Deputy Attorney General Katherine Gregory. The attorneys for Bullock and the Montana Department of Revenue are Raphael Graybill, Bullock’s chief legal counsel, and Deepak Gupta of Gupta Wessler PLLC.
    • The defendants are the Internal Revenue Service, Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter, and the Treasury Department.
      • Justice Department attorneys for the defendants said, “Neither state has ever before sought or received from the IRS the information they are now trying to force the IRS to continue collecting, and both states lack the ability to obtain this information from the IRS even if it was collected. In issuing Revenue Procedure 2018-38, the IRS exercised its longstanding statutory discretion to determine what information it collects from exempt organizations to meet its tax administration needs.”
  • Case information: Judge Brian Morris, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, is presiding. Morris was appointed by President Barack Obama (D) in 2013. The case name and number are Bullock v. Internal Revenue Service, 4:18-cv-00103.

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 72 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. 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.

Disclosure Digest map June 10, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Disclosure Digest status chart June 10, 2019.png

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

Disclosure Digest partisan chart June 10, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken on relevant bills in the past week. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number. Know of any legislation we’re missing? Please email us so we can include it on our tracking list.

  • California AB864: This bill would expand disclosure requirements for certain kinds of political advertisements made by independent expenditure groups and other entities.
    • Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee hearing June 4.


Massachusetts House approves omnibus public-sector union legislation

Massachusetts House of Representatives approves omnibus public-sector union legislation

On June 5, the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted 155-1 to approve H3854, an omnibus bill that would, if enacted, make several changes to the state’s public-sector labor laws.

  • What does the bill propose?
    • It would authorize employers to disclose employee information to unions.
    • It would permit unions to require non-members to pay for the costs associated with grievance and arbitration proceedings.
    • It would require employers to provide unions with access to employees
    • It would allow unions to make dues deduction authorizations irrevocable for a period of up to one year.
  • What are the responses?
    • Rep. Paul Brodeur (D), who voted in favor of the bill, said, “It prevents hard-working, dues-paying members from footing the bill for an employee who does not share in the obligation to meet those costs by paying any money into the union. It stands for the fundamental premise that you can’t get something for nothing.”
    • Rep. Brad Jones (R), who also voted in favor of the bill, said, “I think it’s a fair argument to say, ‘Look, you’re not in the union. Fine. You don’t want to pay an agency fee. You don’t want to pay dues. But if the union’s going to have to represent you in a grievance or something like that, they should be able to have a reasonable fee.’ I think everybody bought into that.”
    • Rep. Shawn Dooley (R), who voted against the bill, criticized the bill provisions that provide unions with access to employee information: “I don’t know why they also have to be able to contact them at home in their off hours. I feel it’s a huge invasion of privacy and I think it lends itself to possible workplace bullying in the future.”
  • What comes next? The bill now goes to the Senate. If the Senate approves it, it will go to Governor Charlie Baker (R).

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 102 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. 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.

Union Station map June 7, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart June 7, 2019.png

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

Union Station partisan chart June 7, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions on relevant bills since the beginning of the year. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state and then by bill number.

  • Massachusetts H3854: This bill would authorize employers to disclose personal employee information to unions. It would also permit unions to require non-members to pay for the costs associated with grievance and arbitration proceedings. It would require employers to provide unions with access to employees, and it would allow unions to make dues deduction authorizations irrevocable for a period of up to one year.
    • House approved June 5.
  • Nevada SB135: This bill would provide collective bargaining rights for state employees.
    • Senate approved June 1, and House approved June 2. Enrolled and delivered to governor June 3.
  • Oregon HB2016: This bill would require public employers to grant paid time to employees participating in certain union activities. It would also require employers to furnish unions with access to employees.
    • Senate approved June 6 (House had approved March 27).
  • Oregon HB3009: This bill would require public employers to provide unions with access to new employees. It would also permit individuals who are not union members to make payments in lieu of dues to unions.
    • Second reading in Senate June 5.


Tracking redistricting, electoral system, and primary system bills in state legislative sessions

More than half of the states have wrapped up their legislative sessions for the year. Here’s a summary of what actions states have taken so far on election policy.
 
  • Redistricting legislation: We’ve tracked 221 bills regarding redistricting policy. Seventeen of them have become law. Examples of enacted legislation are:
    • Mississippi JR202: Signed into law April 3, JR202 revised the boundaries of Mississippi State Senate Districts 13 and 22. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi had earlier ruled that District 22 constituted an illegal racial gerrymander.
    • Virginia HB2760: Signed into law March 22, HB2760 requires municipal clerks to transmit Geographic Information System (GIS) maps to local election boards, the secretary of the commonwealth, the state elections department, and the legislative services division when altering local electoral districts or precincts.
  • Electoral systems legislation: So far this year we’ve tracked 120 bills regarding electoral systems policy, addressing such issues as ranked-choice voting and the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Eleven of them have become law. Examples of enacted legislation are:
    • New Mexico HB55: Signed into law March 12, HB55 entered New Mexico into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Member states agree to award their presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote once states totaling at least 270 Electoral College votes have joined the compact.
    • Utah HB0277: Signed into law March 26, HB0277 amended provisions of Utah’s Municipal Alternative Voting Methods Pilot Project. Under the pilot project, municipalities can opt to conduct municipal elections using ranked-choice voting.
  • Primary systems legislation: We’ve tracked 11 bills this year regarding primary systems policy, addressing such issues as top-two primaries and open primaries. None of these 11 bills has become law. Examples of proposed legislation:
    • Maine LD114: LD114 would have established a top-two primary system for elections for the offices of U.S. senator, U.S. representative, governor, state senator, and state representative. The bill died in committee.
    • North Carolina H994: H994 proposes establishing a top-four primary system for elections for any state or congressional office. H994 also proposes establishing ranked-choice voting for general elections for these offices. The bill is currently in committee.
 
To stay up-to-date on the latest in election policy, subscribe to The Ballot Bulletin.
 


Halftime report: what states have done so far on election policy

Welcome to The Ballot Bulletin, where we track developments in election policy at the federal, state, and local levels. Each issue includes an in-depth feature—such as an interview or legislative analysis—and discussions of recent events relating to electoral and primary systems, redistricting, and voting provisions.

Halftime report: what states have done so far on election policy

With more than half of the states having wrapped up their legislative sessions for the year, here’s a summary of what states have done so far on election policy.

  • Redistricting legislation: So far this year, we’ve tracked 221 bills regarding redistricting policy. Seventeen of them have become law.
    • Examples of enacted legislation:
      • Mississippi JR202: Signed into law April 3, JR202 revised the boundaries of Mississippi State Senate Districts 13 and 22. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi had earlier ruled that District 22 constituted an illegal racial gerrymander.
      • Virginia HB2760: Signed into law March 22, HB2760 requires municipal clerks to transmit Geographic Information System (GIS) maps to local election boards, the secretary of the commonwealth, the state elections department, and the legislative services division when altering local electoral districts or precincts.
  • Electoral systems legislation: So far this year we’ve tracked 120 bills regarding electoral systems policy, addressing such issues as ranked-choice voting and the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Eleven of them have become law.
    • Examples of enacted legislation:
      • New Mexico HB55: Signed into law March 12, HB55 entered New Mexico into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Member states agree to award their presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote once states totaling at least 270 Electoral College votes have joined the compact.
      • Utah HB0277: Signed into law March 26, HB0277 amended provisions of Utah’s Municipal Alternative Voting Methods Pilot Project. Under the pilot project, municipalities can opt to conduct municipal elections using ranked-choice voting.
  • Primary systems legislation: We’ve tracked 11 bills this year regarding primary systems policy, addressing such issues as top-two primaries and open primaries. None of these 11 bills has become law.
    • Examples of proposed legislation:
      • Maine LD114: LD114 would have established a top-two primary system for elections for the offices of U.S. senator, U.S. representative, governor, state senator, and state representative. The bill died in committee.
      • North Carolina H994: H994 proposes establishing a top-four primary system for elections for any state or congressional office. H994 also proposes establishing ranked-choice voting for general elections for these offices. The bill is currently in committee.

In other election policy news

  • Electoral systems in Massachusetts: On May 15, the Easthampton City Council approved a charter amendment that would, if approved by voters, implement ranked-choice voting for municipal elections. The state Legislature must approve the amendment language before the measure can appear on the November ballot. If voters approve the charter amendment, ranked-choice voting would be used in Easthampton’s 2021 municipal elections. Amherst and Cambridge, Mass. have both adopted ranked-choice voting for their municipal elections.
  • Redistricting in Michigan and Ohio: On May 24, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed lower court orders in Michigan and Ohio that had struck down district plans as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. The court is expected to issue rulings in two partisan gerrymandering cases—Rucho v. Common Cause and Benisek v. Lamone—by the end of the month.
  • Redistricting in Nevada and Washington: In May, the governors of Nevada and Washington signed into law bills requiring state prison inmates be counted as residents of their home addresses for redistricting purposes. The U.S. Census Bureau, which provides the population data sets that form the foundation of redistricting and reapportionment efforts, counts prisoners as residents of the places where they are incarcerated. In addition to Nevada and Washington, four other states—California, Delaware, Maryland, and New York—have adopted legislation providing for adjusting the census data to reflect prisoners’ home addresses as their residences.

Legislation update: Redistricting, electoral systems, and primary systems bills

The maps below show which states are considering redistricting, electoral systems, and primary systems legislation. A darker shade of red indicates a greater number of relevant bills.

Redistricting legislation as of June 3, 2019

Electoral systems legislation as of June 3, 2019

Primary systems legislation as of June 3, 2019

Primary systems June 2019 map.png


Connecticut House of Representatives approves omnibus public-sector union bill

On May 29, 2019, the Connecticut House of Representatives voted 83-58 to approve HB06935, an omnibus public-sector union bill.
 
If approved, the bill would make several changes to the state’s public-sector labor laws:
  • It would require public employers to furnish unions with information about newly hired and current employees. Employees would have to consent to provide personal contact information to unions, such as home addresses and phone numbers.
  • It would require employers to grant unions access to new employee orientations. It would also authorize unions to use public facilities and resources in order to communicate with members.
  • It would authorize unions to maintain dues deduction authorization records. It would require employees to revoke or revise their authorizations directly with their unions.
  • It would prohibit employers from deterring or discouraging employees or applicants from joining or remaining in a union. It would also bar unions from contacting employees who have indicated that they do not want to be contacted.
The bill now goes to the Connecticut State Senate. If the Senate approves the bill, it would then go to Gov. Ned Lamont (D) for his action. The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn June 5.
 


New Jersey lawmakers consider overriding veto of expanded donor disclosure requirements

New Jersey legislators are considering overriding the governor’s conditional veto of S1500, a bill that would require 501(c)(4)s, super PACs, and other entities to disclose donors who contribute $10,000 or more. A meeting scheduled for May 30 between lawmakers and the governor to discuss the bill was postponed. (Source: NJ.com)

  • What does the governor say? In his May 13 veto statement, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said, “I commend my colleagues in the Legislature for seeking to ensure that so-called ‘dark money’ is brought out into the open. However, I am mindful that such efforts must be carefully balanced against constitutionally protected speech and association rights. Because certain provisions of Senate Bill No. 1500 (Fifth Reprint) may infringe on both, and because the bill does not go far enough in mandating disclosures of political activity that can be constitutionally required, I cannot support it in its current form.” With his conditional veto, Murphy stated his objections to the bill and proposed amendments to address them. This differs from an absolute veto, which is an outright gubernatorial rejection of a proposed law. Both are subject to the same override provisions.
  • What are lawmakers saying?
    • Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D), a primary sponsor of S1500, said, “We are actively discussing the possibility of a veto override. It is not my preference. But I do feel very strongly that this is a good government bill and we need to act now.”
    • Senator Troy Singleton (D), another S1500 sponsor, said, “I think the atmosphere was challenged a little bit by some of the governor’s comments. [We] took offense to the idea that what we sent was somehow weaker than what was sent back by the governor’s office … we didn’t want to have the discussion steeped in emotion. We’re trying to take a step back to see if there’s a path forward.”
  • How can the legislature override the veto? The legislature can, by a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber, override Murphy’s veto and enact the bill. This means 54 assembly members and 27 senators would have to vote in favor of an override. The Senate approved the bill 33-0, with seven members not voting. The Assembly approved the bill 60-1, with two members not voting and 17 abstaining. Democrats have a 26-14 majority in the Senate and a 54-26 majority in the Assembly. The Legislature’s last successful override of a gubernatorial veto was in 1997.
  • What does the legislation propose?
    • As adopted, S1500 would define an independent expenditure committee as any person or group of persons organized under sections 501(c)(4) or 527 of the Internal Revenue Code spending $3,000 or more annually to influence or provide political information about any of the following:
      • “the outcome of any election or the nomination, election, or defeat of any person to any state or local elective public office”
      • “the passage or defeat of any public question, legislation, or regulation”
    • Under S1500, independent expenditure committees would be required to disclose all expenditures exceeding $3,000. These committees would also be required to disclose the identities of donors contributing $10,000 or more.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 72 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. 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

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken on relevant bills in the past two weeks. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number. Know of any legislation we’re missing? Please email us so we can include it on our tracking list.

  • New Hampshire SB105: This bill would establish disclosure requirements for certain contributions made to inaugural committees.
    • House Election Law Committee reported favorably May 21.
  • New Hampshire SB156: This bill would require that political contributions made by limited liability companies be allocated to individual members in order to determine whether individuals have exceeded contribution limits.
    • House Election Law Committee reported favorably May 21.


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