Print Friendly HOUSE BILL NO. 682 – Election issue, public funds, use
HOUSE BILL NO. 682
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H0682......................................................by STATE AFFAIRS
ELECTION ISSUES - Amends and adds to existing law to prohibit any person,
governmental entity or educational institution from using public funds to
influence the vote on an issue on the election ballot.
02/24 House intro - 1st rdg - to printing
02/25 Rpt prt - to St Aff
|||| LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO ||||
Fifty-fifth Legislature Second Regular Session - 2000
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
HOUSE BILL NO. 682
BY STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
1 AN ACT
2 RELATING TO ELECTION CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES; AMENDING SECTION
3 67-6602, IDAHO CODE, TO ADD DEFINITIONS AND TO MAKE A TECHNICAL CORREC-
4 TION; AMENDING CHAPTER 66, TITLE 67, IDAHO CODE, BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW
5 SECTION 67-6606A, IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS, TO PROHIBIT
6 ANY PERSON, GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY OR STATE UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE THAT
7 ASSESSES MANDATORY STUDENT FEES FROM EXPENDING PUBLIC FUNDS TO INFLUENCE
8 THE GENERAL PUBLIC ON A MATTER APPEARING ON AN ELECTION BALLOT, TO AUTHO-
9 RIZE EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC FUNDS FOR EDUCATION OF THE PUBLIC ON A MATTER
10 APPEARING ON AN ELECTION BALLOT AFTER A WRITTEN RECORD OF THE EXPENDITURE
11 IS MADE, TO REQUIRE THAT ANY ASSOCIATION OR ENTITY RECEIVING PUBLIC FUNDS
12 FOR DUES OR MEMBERSHIP REFUND AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE AMOUNT OF DUES OR
13 MEMBERSHIP EXPENDED FOR A COMMUNICATION INTENDED TO INFLUENCE THE GENERAL
14 PUBLIC, TO PROVIDE FOR PERSONAL LIABILITY FOR THE IMPROPER EXPENDITURE OF
15 PUBLIC FUNDS, TO PROVIDE FOR PROSECUTION OF VIOLATIONS AND FOR AN INJUNC-
16 TION, TO PROVIDE EXEMPTIONS AND TO PROVIDE FOR REPORTING OF EXPENDITURES;
17 AMENDING SECTION 67-6627, IDAHO CODE, TO REVISE THE SEVERABILITY PROVI-
18 SIONS OF THIS LAW; AND PROVIDING A STATEMENT OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT.
19 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
20 SECTION 1. That Section 67-6602, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby
21 amended to read as follows:
22 67-6602. DEFINITIONS. As used in this act, the following terms have the
23 following meanings:
24 (a) "Candidate" means an individual who has taken affirmative action to
25 seek nomination or election to public office. An individual shall be deemed to
26 have taken affirmative action to seek such nomination or election to public
27 office when he first:
28 (1) Receives contributions or makes expenditures or reserves space or
29 facilities with intent to promote his candidacy for office; or
30 (2) Announces publicly or files for office.
31 (b) "Compensation" includes any advance, conveyance, forgiveness of
32 indebtedness, deposit, distribution, loan, payment, gift, pledge or transfer
33 of money or anything of value, and any contract, agreement, promise or other
34 obligation, whether or not legally enforceable, to do any of the foregoing,
35 for services rendered or to be rendered, but does not include reimbursement of
36 expenses if such reimbursement does not exceed the amount actually expended
37 for such expenses and is substantiated by an itemization of such expenses.
38 (c) "Contribution" includes any advance, conveyance, forgiveness of
39 indebtedness, deposit, distribution, loan, payment, gift, pledge, subscription
40 or transfer of money or anything of value, and any contract, agreement, prom-
41 ise or other obligation, whether or not legally enforceable, to make a contri-
42 bution, in support of or in opposition to any candidate, political committee
43 or measure. Such term also includes personal funds or other property of a can-
1 didate or members of his household expended or transferred to cover expendi-
2 tures incurred in support of such candidate but does not include personal
3 funds used to pay the candidate filing fee. Such term also includes the ren-
4 dering of personal and professional services for less than full consideration,
5 but does not include ordinary home hospitality or the rendering of
6 "part-time" personal services of the sort commonly performed by volunteer cam-
7 paign workers or advisors or incidental expenses not in excess of twenty-five
8 dollars ($25.00) personally paid for by any volunteer campaign worker.
9 "Part-time" services for the purposes of this definition, means services in
10 addition to regular full-time employment, or, in the case of an unemployed
11 person or persons engaged in part-time employment, services rendered without
12 compensation or reimbursement of expenses from any source other than the can-
13 didate or political committee for whom such services are rendered. For the
14 purposes of this act, contributions, other than money or its equivalent s shall
15 be deemed to have a money value equivalent to the fair market value of the
17 (d) "Education" means actions or statements which, when taken as a whole,
18 are not argumentative and do not explicitly or implicitly contend for a spe-
19 cific result in a matter, but which fairly provide only factual information,
20 contain a balanced presentation of the competing positions at issue and, when
21 taken as a whole, are neutral.
22 (e) "Election" means any general, special or primary election.
23 (f) "Election ballot" means any ballot submitted for vote by the public
24 at any primary, general, special or other election, whether submitted state-
25 wide or at a city, county, district or zone level.
26 ( eg) "Election campaign" means any campaign in support of or in opposi-
27 tion to a candidate for election to public office and any campaign in support
28 of, or in opposition to, a measure.
29 ( fh) "Expenditure" includes any payment, contribution, subscription, dis-
30 tribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value, and
31 includes a contract, promise, or agreement, whether or not legally enforce-
32 able, to make an expenditure. The term "expenditure" also includes a promise
33 to pay, a payment or a transfer of anything of value in exchange for goods,
34 services, property, facilities or anything of value for the purpose of assist-
35 ing, benefiting or honoring any public official or candidate, or assisting in
36 furthering or opposing any election campaign.
37 ( gi) "Independent expenditure" means any expenditure by a person for a
38 communication expressly advocating the election, passage or defeat of a
39 clearly identified candidate or measure that is not made with the cooperation
40 or with the prior consent of, or in consultation with, or at the consent of,
41 or in consultation with, or at the request of a suggestion of, a candidate or
42 any agent or authorized committee of the candidate or political committee sup-
43 porting or opposing a measure. As used in this subsection, "expressly advocat-
44 ing" means any communication containing a message advocating election, passage
45 or defeat including, but not limited to, the name of the candidate or measure,
46 or expression such as "vote for," "elect," "support," "cast your ballot for,"
47 "vote against," "defeat" or "reject."
48 (j) "Influence" means any statement or action that is persuasive in
49 nature and:
50 (1) Seeks a specific result or vote in a matter; or
51 (2) Is intended to or will likely influence those voting on the matter
53 Influence does not include the release of a brief, factual statement of a pub-
54 lic entity's position on a matter appearing on an election ballot, when such
55 release is made either to the news media or to any individual upon a request
1 by that individual.
2 ( hk) "Lobby" and "lobbying" each means attempting through contacts with,
3 or causing others to make contact with, members of the legislature or legisla-
4 tive committees, to influence the approval, modification or rejection of any
5 legislation by the legislature of the state of Idaho or any committee thereof.
6 Neither "lobby" nor "lobbying" includes an association's or other
7 organization's act of communicating with the members of that association or
9 ( il) "Lobbyist" includes any person who lobbies.
10 ( jm) "Lobbyist's employer" means the person or persons by whom a lobbyist
11 is employed, directly or indirectly, and all persons by whom he is compensated
12 for acting as a lobbyist.
13 ( kn) "Measure" means any proposal, to be voted statewide, submitted to
14 the people for their approval or rejection at an election, including any ini-
15 tiative, referendum or revision of or amendment to the state constitution. An
16 initiative or referendum proposal shall be deemed a measure when the attorney
17 general reviews it and gives it a ballot title.
18 ( lo) "Nonbusiness entity" means any group (of two (2) or more individu-
19 als), corporation, association, firm, partnership, committee, club or other
20 organization which:
21 (1) Does not have as its principal purpose the conduct of business activ-
22 ities for profit; and
23 (2) Received during the preceding calendar year contributions, gifts or
24 membership fees, which in the aggregate exceeded ten percent (10%) of its
25 total receipts for such year.
26 ( mp) "Person" means an individual, corporation, association, firm, part-
27 nership, committee, political party, club or other organization or group of
29 ( nq) "Political committee" means:
30 (1) Any person specifically designated to support or oppose any candidate
31 or measure; or
32 (2) Any person who receives contributions and makes expenditures in an
33 amount exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) in any calendar year for the
34 purpose of supporting or opposing one (1) or more candidates or measures.
35 Any entity registered with the federal election commission shall not be
36 considered a political committee for purposes of this chapter.
37 (3) A county, district or regional committee of a recognized political
38 party shall not be considered a political committee for the purposes of
39 this chapter unless such a party committee has expenditures exceeding five
40 thousand dollars ($5,000) in a calendar year.
41 ( or) "Political treasurer" means an individual appointed by a candidate
42 or political committee as provided in section 67-6603, Idaho Code.
43 (s) "Public funds" includes both money and any benefit derived from con-
44 sumptive use of personal property, which, irrespective of its source, is in
45 the hands of or belongs to any entity of government or any department or sub-
46 division thereof.
47 ( pt) "Public office" means any state office or position, including state
48 senator, state representative, and judge of the district court that is filled
49 by election.
50 SECTION 2. That Chapter 66, Title 67, Idaho Code, be, and the same is
51 hereby amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and des-
52 ignated as Section 67-6606A, Idaho Code, and to read as follows:
53 67-6606A. EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC FUNDS. (1) The legislature finds that
1 the expenditure of public funds to influence members of the general public on
2 matters appearing on an election ballot is not a proper public purpose for
3 such funds and shall be forbidden. The legislature also finds that, particu-
4 larly at colleges and universities, the expenditure of public funds to educate
5 the public regarding matters appearing on an election ballot, if done in a
6 fair, neutral and balanced manner, may be a proper public purpose for such
7 funds. The legislature further finds that associations, boards or other enti-
8 ties shall be required to refund the amount of public money received for dues
9 and memberships which is expended to influence the general public regarding
10 matters appearing on an election ballot. The purpose of this section is to
11 establish remedies for the improper expenditure of public funds and to pro-
12 vide for penalties, punishment and enforcement whenever public funds are
13 expended in any manner not designated herein.
14 (2) (a) No person or governmental entity may use, expend or authorize
15 the expenditure of public funds to influence members of the general public
16 on a matter appearing on an election ballot. This paragraph shall not
17 apply to public funds held by community colleges, state colleges or state
19 (b) The state board of education shall promulgate rules sufficient in
20 scope to prohibit the use or expenditure of public funds directly or indi-
21 rectly by any community colleges, state colleges or state universities, or
22 any nonbusiness entity receiving public funds from any such educational
23 institution when such use or expenditure of public funds would violate the
24 United States or Idaho constitutions.
25 (3) A governmental entity, state university or state college may autho-
26 rize the use of public funds for education of the public on a matter appearing
27 on an election ballot only after a written record of the expenditure is made
28 which includes the amount, the name of the person or entity receiving the
29 expenditure and the name of the person authorizing or making such expenditure.
30 Such record shall be retained by the governmental entity, state university or
31 state college and shall be available to the public pursuant to chapter 3,
32 title 9, Idaho Code.
33 (4) Any association or other entity receiving public funds for dues or
34 membership and which expends funds to influence the general public about a
35 matter appearing on an election ballot shall publicly disclose a statement of
36 its revenue and expenses sufficient to disclose the expenditure of any public
37 funds for such influence. Any such association or other entity making such
38 expenditure of public funds to so influence the general public shall refund an
39 amount equal to the amount of dues or membership fees received by the associa-
40 tion or entity in the year in which such expenditure was made.
41 (5) In addition to the penalties provided in section 67-6625, Idaho Code,
42 any person violating the provisions of this section shall be personally liable
43 for repayment of all public funds which that person improperly expended or
44 authorized for expenditure, plus fifty dollars ($50.00).
45 (6) Any citizen of this state may prosecute violations of this section
46 and, in all cases where violation of this section or of any rules regarding
47 matters addressed by this section is alleged an injunction may be sought pur-
48 suant to section 67-6626, Idaho Code, and an expedited hearing shall be
49 afforded. Expenditure of public funds in violation of the provisions of this
50 section or any rules regarding matters addressed by this section shall create
51 a rebuttable presumption of irreparable harm. Costs of litigation in cases
52 prosecuted by citizens shall be awarded pursuant to section 67-6626, Idaho
54 (7) Otherwise proper expenditures of public funds by elected officials in
55 the exercise of the duties of such office and expenditure of public funds as
1 specifically authorized by statute or other law are exempt from the applica-
2 tion of this section.
3 (8) Legitimate news organizations operating at the state's universities
4 and colleges are exempt from the provisions of this section when these news
5 organizations are providing bona fide news coverage.
6 (9) Any person, nonbusiness entity, governmental or other entity making
7 an expenditure of public funds to influence those eligible to vote on any
8 election ballot, shall make a report regarding all such expenditures at the
9 times and in the manner set out in section 67-6607, Idaho Code.
10 SECTION 3. That Section 67-6627, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby
11 amended to read as follows:
12 67-6627. SEVERABILITY. If any one (1) or more provision s, section, sub-
13 section, sentence, clause, phrase or word of this act or its the application
14 thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid found to be unconstitu-
15 tional, the remainder of the act, or the application of the provision to other
16 persons or circumstances is not affected same is hereby declared to be sever-
17 able and the balance of this act shall remain effective notwithstanding such
18 unconstitutionality. The legislature hereby declares that it would have passed
19 this act and each provision, section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or
20 word thereof irrespective of the fact that any one (1) or more provisions,
21 sections, subsections, sentences, clauses, phrases or words be declared uncon-
23 SECTION 4. LEGISLATIVE INTENT. It is legislative intent that, if an asso-
24 ciation at a college or university expends public funds to sponsor an event
25 intended for entertainment, cultural enrichment, or academic lecture, and
26 beyond the control and knowledge of the association, the event is construed to
27 present biased or nonfactual information which may influence those in atten-
28 dance on a matter appearing on an election ballot, then in the interest of
29 promoting the free exchange of ideas at colleges and universities, the associ-
30 ation and the college or university in question shall not be liable for
31 alleged violations of section 67-6606A, Idaho Code.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The purpose of this legislation is to codify Attorney General's Opinion 6-75
relating to the expenditures of public funds during elections. The language
provides statutory definition of those actions which the Attorney General has
determined are unlawful.
Additionally, the Attorney General's Office submitted a legal guideline on January
20, 1997, further outlining the proper role of public funds expended during
Public funds have been used appropriately to educate voters about various ballot
items. However, many times the publicly financed education is clearly one-sided
and outside ethical guidelines.
This legislation provides for the proper use of public funds during elections and
provides for enforcement and penalties.
CONTACT: Rep. Jeff Alltus (800) 626-0471 or (208) 332-1000
Rep. Bill Sali " " " "
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/ FISCAL NOTE H 682