Empowering People Over Special Interests
At Least 70% Voter Participation And Fair Legislative Districts
Policy Library

Repair our Broken Democracy

The bold reforms in this legislation will strengthen American democracy and return political power to the people. The state For the People Act will improve access to voting, reduce the power of big-money corporate special interests, and ensure public servants put the public interest first.

The National Landscape

Introduced in:

Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina

In The News

“People really want us to clean up politics. They want to fight corruption. They want to unrig this system…They want to feel like their voice matters...So we push back against that influence of big money in HR 1. You put all that together and this is a very comprehensive set of reforms that respects the voters, respects the public, gives them their voices back.”
“At a press conference Friday morning hailing the forthcoming passage of the bill, Speaker Pelosi said, "Yes it is a 'power grab,' a power grab on behalf of the people. It ends the dominance of big dark special interest money in politics and it empowers small donors and the grassroots. It ensures clean fair elections and fighting voter suppression.””
“[A] recent poll conducted in the House battleground districts of the 2018 congressional elections, 75 percent of independent voters identified cleaning up the “culture of corruption” as a top priority, and 82 percent of all voters supported legislation curbing corruption. H.R. 1 represents a powerful signal to those citizens and to the world that our constitutional democracy will recover.”
“The sweeping bill is aimed at getting money out of politics and increasing transparency around donors, cracking down on lobbying, and expanding voting rights for Americans by implementing provisions like automatic voter registration.”
“According to [Congressman Marc] Veasey, it’s all about ‘common sense’ and also restoring the people’s confidence that yes, their vote does mean something. ‘People will eventually stop voting if they think their vote is not going to count, and we need to do what we can to restore confidence in the electoral system.’”

Partners

  • Voting rights advocates
  • Good government advocates
  • Ethics advocates
  • Issue-specific organizations (environmental, consumer protection, civil rights)

Opposition

  • Interest groups that benefit from low voter participation
  • Special interests that benefit from unfair legislative districts
  • Corporations that spend in elections and oppose transparency in politics
Call us for real-time support using this library, problem-solving tips, and follow-up from our team of national experts:
The State Line
1-833-
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FAQ

Who does this help?
A government that works for the people benefits everyone by being more accountable, responsive and focused on the broad public interest, not narrow special interests. The For the People Act does this by empowering more people to vote, reducing the power of corporate special interest money in our politics, and strengthening ethics laws for public servants.
Is this high cost to the state?
No. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, modernizing voter registration can save states millions of dollars per year while increasing registration rates. The modest costs of increased ethics oversight and better campaign finance laws are far outweighed by the public impact and savings from a better functioning government.
Won’t corporations still be able to influence elections?
Until a change to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, corporations will be able to continue some political spending. But limiting the ability of corporate special interests to shape the outcome of elections is possible and a critical effort in making government more responsive to the needs and interests of the voters they are supposed to represent

Model Policy

Title: This Act may be cited as the “STATE For the People Act of 2020.”

Purpose: To improve access to voting, reduce the power of big-money corporate special interests, and ensure public servants put the public interest first.

(a) Divisions. -- This Act is organized into 3 divisions as follows:
  • (1) Division A -- Election Access.
  • (2) Division B -- Campaign Finance.
  • (3) Division C -- Ethics.

(b) Table of Contents. -- The table of contents of this Act is as follows:.
  • Sect. 1. Short Title
  • Sect. 2. Organization of Act into divisions; table of contents.
  • Sect. 3. Provisions

DIVISION A -- ELECTION ACCESS

Title 1 -- Automatic Voter Registration
  • Part 1. -- Short Title
  • Part 2. -- Purpose
  • Part 3. -- Provisions
  • Sec. (a). Obligations of registration agencies
  • Sec. (b). Obligations of HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL
  • Sec. (c). Definitions
  • Sec. (d). Memoranda of understanding with relevant departments
  • Sec. (f). Date of registration; notice to registrants
  • Sec. (g). Transmission of voter information
  • Sec. (h). Regulations governing the collection and transmission of personal information
  • Sec. (i). Additional security measures.
  • Sec. (j). Additional regulations relative to the administration of automatic voter registration
  • Sec. (k). Construction of section
  • Sec. (l). Evaluation and notification of voter eligibility
  • Sec. (m). Automating transmission of information to registrars
  • Sec. (n). Annual report of HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL
  • Sec. (o). Registration after declining
  • Sec. (p). Safeguarding records of persons opting out
  • Sec. (q). Effect of mistaken application for voter registration
  • Sec. (r). Use of statewide voter registration list
  • Sec. (s). Upgrades
  • Sec. (t). Severability

Title 2 -- Same Day Voter Registration
  • Part 1. -- Short Title
  • Part 2. -- Purpose
  • Part 3. -- Provisions
  • Sec. (a). Intent of section
  • Sec. (b). Same-day registration and/or address update
  • Sec. (c). Conditions of early or same-day registration
  • Sec. (d). Conditions of address update
  • Sec. (e). Expedited additions to statewide voter registration list
  • Sec. (f). Promulgation of necessary rules
  • Sec. (g). Severability

Title 3 -- Pre-Registration
  • Part 1. -- Short Title
  • Part 2. -- Purpose
  • Part 3. -- Provisions
  • Sec. (a). Pre-registration at sixteen years of age
  • Sec. (b). Automatic registration upon reaching age of eligibility
  • Sec. (c). Severability

Title 4 -- Early Voting
  • Part 1. -- Short Title
  • Part 2. -- Purpose
  • Part 3. -- Provisions
  • Sec. (a). Requests to vote early
  • Sec. (b). Suitable equipment required
  • Sec. (c). List of registered voters who have voted by early ballot
  • Sec. (d). Establishment of permanent polling places for early voting
  • Sec. (e). Period for early voting
  • Sec. (f). Temporary branch polling places for early voting
  • Sec. (g). Use of public buildings as early voting polling places
  • Sec. (h). Informing eligible voters of the hours and locations for early voting
  • Sec. (i). No difference between early voting and voting on election day
  • Sec. (j). Severability

Title 5 -- Restore the Right to Vote for Those Who Have Served Their Time
  • Part 1. -- Short Title
  • Part 2. -- Purpose
  • Part 3. -- Provisions
  • Sec. (a). Restoration of voting rights upon completion of time served
  • Sec. (b). Information to be provided upon release from prison
  • Sec. (c). Severability

Title 6 -- Redistricting Reform
  • Part 1. -- Short Title
  • Part 2. -- Purpose
  • Part 3. -- Provisions
  • Sec. (a). Independent redistricting commission shall be established
  • Sec. (b). Composition of commission
  • Sec. (c). Time and place of designation meeting
  • Sec. (d). Selection of certain members
  • Sec. (e). Term of commissioners
  • Sec. (f). Consultants to commission
  • Sec. (g). Remuneration of commissioners.
  • Sec. (h). Obligations of commission
  • Sec. (i). District drawing criteria
  • Sec. (j). Input from the people of the state
  • Sec. (k). Approval of final district plan
  • Sec. (l). Failure of legislature to pass final district plan
  • Sec. (m). Passage of final district plans
  • Sec. (n). Effect of district plan in the absence of enactment
  • Sec. (o). Challenge to district plan by voters
  • Sec. (p). Severability

DIVISION B -- CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Title 7 -- Ban Corporate Contributions to Candidates
  • Part 1. -- Short Title
  • Part 2. -- Purpose
  • Part 3. -- Provisions
  • Sec. (a). Corporations and similar entities; contributions to candidates
  • Sec. (b). Candidates may not accept corporate contributions
  • Sec. (c). Penalties.
  • Sec. (d). Severability

Title 8 -- Corporate Political Accountability
  • Part 1. -- Short Title
  • Part 2. -- Purpose
  • Part 3. -- Provisions
  • Sec. (a). Shareholder authorization of political expenditures
  • Sec. (b). Accounting of expenditures to shareholders
  • Sec. (c). Posting of disclosures on corporate website
  • Sec. (d). Enforcement by Attorney General
  • Sec. (e). Severability

Title 9 -- Small Donor Financing of Election Campaigns
  • Part 1. -- Short Title
  • Part 2. -- Purpose
  • Part 3. -- Provisions
  • Sec. (a). Benefits And Eligibility Requirements For Candidates.
  • Sec. (b). Contributions And Expenditures By Multicandidate And Political Party Committees On Behalf Of Participating Candidates
  • Sec. (c). Use of funds
  • Sec. (d). Qualified Small Dollar Contributions Described
  • Sec. (e). Eligibility
  • Sec. (f). Qualifying Requirements
  • Sec. (g). Certification
  • Sec. (h). Freedom From Influence Fund
  • Sec. (i). Assessments Against Fines And Penalties
  • Sec. (j). Special Assessments For Freedom From Influence Fund
  • Sec. (k). Study And Report On Small Dollar Financing Program

DIVISION C -- ETHICS

Title 10 -- Independent Ethics Oversight
  • Part 1. -- Short Title
  • Part 2. -- Purpose
  • Part 3. -- Provisions
  • Sec. (a). Establishment
  • Sec. (b). Operations
  • Sec. (c). Duties

Title 11 -- No Revolving Door
  • Sec. (a). Two-year bar

Title 12 -- Severability

DIVISION A -- ELECTION ACCESS
Title 1 -- Automatic Voter Registration
Part 1. -- Short Title: This Title may be cited as the STATE Voter Registration Modernization Act.
Part 2. -- Purpose: This Title amends the election law to help ensure that all citizens are registered to vote with current information when they interact with state agencies and modernize voting systems
Part 3. -- Provisions
  • (a) Registration agencies required to provide voter registration services by state law, shall conduct voter registration in a manner that is as efficient, comprehensive and as automated as practicable. Registration agencies shall transmit each completed affidavit of voter registration to the LOCALITY ELECTIONS BODY where the registrant resides. The HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL shall adopt regulations governing such transmission, which shall include, but not be limited to, provisions requiring electronic transmission, data security protocols and integration with the online portals established by state law. A registrant shall be deemed to be a registered voter at the time of completion of a signed affidavit at a registration agency or on the date that the affidavit of voter registration is postmarked or on the day that it is delivered by hand to the registrars.
  • (b) The HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL shall enter into cooperative agreements with additional agencies of state government that agree to function as registration agencies. Such agreements shall provide that the state secretary shall conduct appropriate training of agency staff, shall provide all forms, material and equipment necessary to carry out voter registration activities, and shall have oversight responsibility to ensure proper compliance with applicable provisions of federal and state law.
  • (c)
  • (1) For purposes of this section, the term “automatic voter registration agency” shall mean a location where eligible citizens may register as voters, including city or town clerk's offices, military recruitment offices, and offices of all state agencies that provide public assistance or assistance to people with disabilities, offices that provide state-funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to people with disabilities and any other state offices which the state secretary shall designate.
  • (2) The HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL shall determine that an agency collects “reliable citizenship information” if the agency, in the regular course of business for serving applicants:
  • --(A) requests, in a clear, understandable and consistently stated manner, that customers affirm their citizenship status; and,
  • --(B) collects a signed affirmation of citizenship status or documentary proof of citizenship status such that records of citizens are segregable from non-citizens.
  • (d)
  • (1) The HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL shall enter into memoranda of understanding with the department of motor vehicles and state health department to serve as automatic voter registration agencies. The state secretary may enter into memoranda of understanding with state agencies that collect reliable citizenship information for all applicants if the state secretary determines that enabling the agency to serve as an automatic voter registration agency will materially increase voter registration or the accuracy of the register of voters. Any such memorandum of understanding between the HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL and an automatic voter registration agency shall provide that the state secretary shall conduct appropriate training of agency staff, shall provide all forms, material and equipment necessary to carry out voter registration activities and shall have oversight responsibility to ensure proper compliance with applicable provisions of federal and state law; provided further, that any such memorandum of understanding shall specify that all trainings, forms and materials shall be funded by the state secretary. Registration agencies not designated as automatic voter registration agencies shall continue to provide voter registration services as required by state law.
  • (2) For each automatic voter registration agency, the state secretary shall:
  • --(A) conduct appropriate training of agency staff;
  • --(B) make available voter registration forms;
  • --(C) specify all material, language, forms, and electronic interfaces necessary for the collection and transmission of the information needed to carry out activities under this section;
  • --(D) eliminate to the extent practicable duplicative entries into the central voter registry; and
  • --(E) have oversight responsibility to ensure proper compliance with applicable provisions of federal and state law.
  • (e) Automatic voter registration agencies shall:
  • (1) conduct automatic voter registration as specified by this act;
  • (2) work with the state secretary to implement this chapter and meet the goals of automatic voter registration enumerated in section 65; and
  • (3) enter into memoranda of understanding with the state secretary.
  • (f) Each eligible applicant for services at an automatic voter registration agency who meets the qualifications to register to vote and does not decline to do so shall be registered as a voter under state law as of the date the registrar adds the person’s name and address to the register of voters. Each automatic voter registration agency shall provide notice to each applicant:
  • (1) explaining that the agency application shall serve as an attestation to eligibility and an application to register to vote unless the person declines to be registered;
  • (2) informing the applicant of eligibility requirements to register to vote; and
  • (3) advising the applicant that non-citizens are ineligible to register, and they must decline unless they are US citizens and otherwise eligible.
  • (g) For each applicant that has not declined to be registered to vote, automatic voter registration agencies shall transmit electronic records containing the legal name, age, residence, citizenship information and electronic signature of each person who meets qualifications to register to vote as set forth by section 1, or to pre-register to vote as set forth in section 47A, as soon as practicable but within 5 calendar days after receipt of this information, to the board of registrars or election commission of the city or town in which the person resides in a manner prescribed by the state secretary. Automatic voter registration agencies shall not transmit records that contain: (i) a home address designated as confidential pursuant to section 8 of chapter 9A, or (ii) any record that does not clearly and consistently indicate that the applicant meets the eligibility requirements to vote.
  • (h) The HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL shall adopt regulations governing the collection and transmission of personal information under this subsection, which shall include, but not be limited to, provisions requiring automatic voter registration agencies to:
  • (1) employ the most cost-effective forms of transmission;
  • (2) implement measures to secure information such as encryption in order to prevent security breaches and the unauthorized use of personal information as required under state law;
  • (3) implement measures for reporting security breaches or the unauthorized use of personal information as required under state law;
  • (4) provide protections against disclosure of confidential information, including home addresses, designated as confidential pursuant to state law;
  • (5) make application forms available in English and Spanish, and such additional languages as the state secretary deems necessary or as required by law; and
  • (6) work with the HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL to insure, by public education and other methods, that information sufficient to understand the process for and consequences of automatic voter registration is available in any language that is the primary language of at least 10,000 or 1/2 of 1 per cent of all residents of the state.
  • (i) Nothing in this subsection shall prevent an automatic voter registration agency from establishing and enforcing additional security measures to protect the confidentiality and integrity of inter-agency data transfers.
  • (j) The HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL shall promulgate regulations relative to the administration of automatic voter registration, which shall be in addition to the regulations otherwise authorized by this chapter, and which shall include, but not be limited to, provisions relative to:
  • (1) promoting greater participation of eligible voters in elections;
  • (2) increasing the completeness and accuracy of the register of voters;
  • (3) preventing erroneous disenfranchisement of eligible citizens;
  • (4) protecting ineligible voters from improperly being registered;
  • (5) determining the extent to which automatic voter registration materials should be provided in languages other than English and Spanish, including, but not limited to, ensuring compliance with the Voting Rights Act;
  • (6) specifying the manner of registration for address confidentiality program participants under state law who interact with automatic voter registration agencies; and
  • (7) preventing voter registration fraud.
  • (k)
  • (1) Nothing in this act shall be construed to change the substantive qualifications of voters established by this chapter or the constitution.
  • (2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to interfere with the registrars’ duties under state law to ensure that the names of persons who are ineligible to vote do not appear on the register of voters.
  • (3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to interfere with the right of any person to decline to be a registered voter for any reason.
  • (l)
  • (1) Upon receiving the electronic records, the board of registrars or election commission shall determine whether the names of persons included in the electronic records belong to persons who meet the qualifications of a voter under state law. The registrars shall notify each qualified person whose name appears in those records of the automatic voter registration process.
  • (2) If the registrars determine that the person whose name appears in the electronic records does not meet the qualifications of a voter under state law, the registrars shall notify the person of the determination at the address included in the electronic record, unless that person has already declined to register to vote.
  • (3) The registrars shall notify each person under paragraph (1) of his or her opportunity to:
  • --(i) decline being registered to vote; or
  • --(ii) adopt a political party affiliation, in which case the person shall also sign an eligibility requirement acknowledgement and attestation. Such notification shall be provided in English and Spanish and any additional languages to be determined by the state secretary.
  • (4) If a person so notified does not decline to be registered to vote within 21 calendar days after the registrar issues the notification, the registrars shall add the person’s name and address to the register of voters.
  • (5) The registrars shall not include in the register of voters the names of persons who indicate in a signed writing that they do not wish to be registered voters.
  • (6) If the information transmitted is for a person whose name is already included in the register of voters, and if the information indicates a subsequent change to the person’s name, address or gender marker, the registrars shall ensure that the register of voters is updated accordingly.
  • (7) Upon adding the name of a person to the register of voters under paragraph (4), the registrars shall send written notice, which may be sent electronically, in a form approved by the state secretary, to the registrars or equivalent officers of the place where the person was last registered as a voter. Upon receiving this notice, or a similar notice from another state including information from the Electronic Registration Information Center under this act, the registrars shall immediately remove the person’s name from the register of voters.
  • (m) The HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL shall ensure that information is provided to the registrars in as clear a manner as practicable, and automate the process to the extent practicable. The HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL may develop electronic interfaces with automatic voter registration agencies to carry out this section.
  • (n) The HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL shall make an annual report to the joint committee on election laws of the general court, which the secretary shall post on a public website. The annual report shall include the following information: the number of voters newly registered to the statewide voter registration list updated by an automatic voter registration agency, broken down by agency; the total number of voter records on the statewide voter registration list updated because of records transferred by an automatic voter registration agency; and the number of persons who opted out of voter registration. Any report produced under this section shall exclude personal identifying information.
  • (o) Nothing in this section shall preclude a person who has previously declined voter registration from subsequently registering to vote.
  • (p) The HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL shall ensure that election officials shall not provide the record of any person who has opted out of voter registration, in whole or in part, to any third party and shall establish standards and procedures to safeguard the privacy and security of the information used and obtained pursuant to this section.
  • (q) Any person who is not eligible to vote and who becomes registered under this provision shall not be found on that basis to have made a false claim to citizenship or to have committed an act involving moral turpitude, unless such person affirmatively asserts that he or she is a citizen of the United States. Where a person who is not eligible to vote becomes registered under this provision without affirmatively accepting registration, that person’s voter registration shall be considered to have been effected with official authorization and at no fault of the person so registered.
  • (r) No person may use the statewide voter registration list to attempt to determine the citizenship status of any person for any purpose other than voter registration, election administration or the enforcement of laws against election crimes. No information relating to a person’s declination to supply information for voter registration purposes at a source may be disclosed to the public, used to discriminate against that person or used for any purpose other than voter registration, election administration or the enforcement of laws against election crimes.
  • (s) The state secretary shall implement upgrades to the central voter registry to implement this act, as necessary to ensure the central voter registry incorporates interfaces with the department of motor vehicles, state health agency, and other voter registration agencies, as determined by the HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL.
  • (t) If any provision of this title or amendment made by this title, or the application of a provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this title and amendments made by this title, and the application of the provisions and amendment to any person or circumstance, shall not be affected by the holding.

Title 2 -- Same Day Voter Registration
Part 1. -- Short Title: This section may be cited as the Election Day Registration Act.
Part 2. -- Purpose: To allow qualified voters to register to vote up to and including on Election Day.
Part 3. -- Provisions
  • (a) The intent of this act is to remove barriers to participation in the political process and make voting and registration more convenient and accessible by allowing qualified voters to register to vote up to and on election day.
  • (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an elector who is not registered to vote in STATE or who is registered to vote in STATE but has moved within the state and needs to make a change of address may register or update his or her address prior to and on election day in accordance with this section and rules adopted pursuant to this section.
  • (c) An elector may register and vote prior to an election or on election day if the elector:
  • (i) Appears in person at an [early voting location or] polling place at a time when that [early voting location or] polling place is open;
  • (ii) Completes and signs a voter registration application and provides proof of identity and residence as otherwise would be required of a voter to register in STATE; and
  • (iii) Completes and signs a self-affirmation on a form to be provided by the Secretary of State in which the elector affirms under penalty of perjury that they meet the requirements for voting in STATE and has not, nor will not, cast more than one ballot in any election.
  • (iv) The elector may then vote at the [early voting location or] polling place where the elector registered under the same process as would apply if the elector had registered under prior voter registration deadlines.
  • (d) An elector who has moved within the state or needs to otherwise update his or her voter registration may do so under the same procedures outlined in (c) above.
  • (e) As soon as practicable, each election official responsible for registering voters who receives registrations or updated registrations pursuant to sections (c) or (d) above shall access the statewide voter registration list to add or update voter registration information when an elector registers or updates his or her information pursuant to this section. The Secretary of State shall prescribe procedures to enable such additions or updates to be accomplished on an expedited basis.
  • (f) The Secretary of State shall promulgate rules as may be necessary to implement this section.
  • (g) If any provision of this title or amendment made by this title, or the application of a provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this title and amendments made by this title, and the application of the provisions and amendment to any person or circumstance, shall not be affected by the holding.

Title 3 -- Voter Registration of Minors
Part 1. -- Short Title: This Title may be cited as the Voter Pre-registration Act.
Part 2. -- Purpose: This Title allows residents of STATE who are at least 16 years of age to pre-register to vote with registration becoming effective on his or her 18th birthday.
Part 3. -- Provisions
  • (a) A resident of STATE who is at least sixteen years of age but not yet of voting age and who is otherwise qualified to register to vote may pre-register to vote, pursuant to the same process and procedures applicable to those registering to vote in STATE who are of voting age. Such pre-registrants may also update their information pursuant to the same process and procedures applicable to those updating their voter registration in STATE.
  • (b) Such pre-registrants shall not be registered to vote upon registration but shall be automatically registered upon reaching the age of eligibility.
  • (c) If any provision of this title or amendment made by this title, or the application of a provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this title and amendments made by this title, and the application of the provisions and amendment to any person or circumstance, shall not be affected by the holding.

Title 4 -- Early Voting
Part 1. -- Short Title: This Title may be cited as the Early Voting Act.
Part 2. -- Purpose: This Title amends the statutes governing voting to allow citizens in STATE to vote in the two weeks leading up to primary and general elections.
Part 3. -- Provisions
  • (a) If a request is made to vote early by a registered voter in person, the election authority shall issue a ballot for early voting to the voter. The ballot must be voted on the premises of the election authority, except as otherwise provided in this Article, and returned to the election authority.
  • (b) On the dates for early voting, each election authority shall provide suitable equipment for voting, on the premises of the election authority and any other early voting polling place for use by registered voters who are issued ballots for early voting in accordance with this act.
  • (c) The election authority must maintain a list for each election of the voters to whom it has issued early ballots. The list must be maintained for each precinct within the election authority's jurisdiction. Before the opening of the polls on election day, the election authority shall deliver to the judges of election in each precinct the list of registered voters who have voted by early ballot.
  • (d) An election authority shall establish permanent polling places for early voting at locations throughout its jurisdiction.
  • (1) Permanent polling places may include, but are not limited to, a municipal clerk's office, a township clerk's office, a road district clerk's office, or a county or local public agency office. Any person entitled to vote early by personal appearance may do so at any polling place established for early voting.
  • (2) During each primary and general election, each election authority shall establish at least one permanent polling place for early voting by personal appearance within each of its largest municipalities within its jurisdiction.
  • (3) Each election authority shall establish at least one permanent polling place for early voting per [NUMBER] registered voters in its jurisdiction. None of these permanent polling places shall be located within [NUMBER] miles of each other unless in a municipality of over [NUMBER] people. All population figures shall be determined by the federal census.
  • (e) The period for early voting by personal appearance begins the 40th day preceding a general primary, consolidated primary, consolidated, or general election and extends through the end of the day before election day.
  • (1) Except as otherwise provided by this Section, a permanent polling place for early voting must remain open beginning the 15th day before an election through the end of the day before election day. It must be open at least during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., on weekdays, except that beginning 8 days before election day, a permanent polling place for early voting must remain open during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., or 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturdays and holidays, and 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays; except that, in addition to the hours required by this subsection, a permanent polling place designated by an election authority under subsections (c), (d), and (e) of Section [X] must remain open for a total of at least 8 hours on any holiday during the early voting period and a total of at least 14 hours on the final weekend during the early voting period.
  • (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), an election authority may close an early voting polling place if the building in which the polling place is located has been closed by the State or unit of local government in response to a severe weather emergency or other force majeure. The election authority shall notify the State Board of Elections of any closure and shall make reasonable efforts to provide notice to the public of an alternative location for early voting.
  • (f) In addition to permanent polling places for early voting, the election authority may establish temporary branch polling places for early voting.
  • (1) Voting at a temporary branch polling place may be conducted on any one or more days and during any hours within the period for early voting by personal appearance that are determined by the election authority.
  • (2) The schedules for conducting voting do not need to be uniform among the temporary branch polling places.
  • (3) The legal rights and remedies which inure to the owner or lessor of private property are not impaired or otherwise affected by the leasing of the property for use as a temporary branch polling place for early voting, except to the extent necessary to conduct early voting at that location.
  • (g) Upon request by an election authority, a unit of local government shall make the unit's public buildings within the election authority's jurisdiction available as permanent or temporary early voting polling places without charge. Availability of a building shall include reasonably necessary time before and after the period early voting is conducted at that building. A unit of local government making its public building available as a permanent or temporary early voting polling place shall ensure that any portion of the building made available is accessible to voters with disabilities and elderly voters.
  • (h) The election authority shall inform eligible voters in its jurisdiction of the hours and locations for early voting beginning at least one week before the period for early voting begins.
  • (1) It shall advertise in locally available media, whether print, television, radio, or online, in order to reach the broadest number of eligible voters in the election authority’s jurisdiction:
  • --(A) the location of each permanent and temporary polling place for early voting and the precincts served by each location; and
  • --(B) the dates and hours that early voting will be conducted at each location.
  • (2) The election authority shall post a copy of the schedule at any office or other location that is to be used as a polling place for early voting. The schedule must be posted continuously for a period beginning not later than the 10th day before the first day of the period for early voting by personal appearance and ending on the last day of that period.
  • (3) The election authority must make copies of the schedule available to the public in reasonable quantities without charge during the period of posting.
  • (4) If the election authority maintains a website, it shall make the schedule available on its website.
  • (5) No additional permanent polling places for early voting may be established after the schedule is published under this Section. Additional temporary locations may be established after the schedule is published, provided that the location is open to all eligible voters. The location, dates, and hours shall be reported to the State Board of Elections and posted on the election authority's website.
  • (6) At least 10 days before the period for early voting begins, each election authority shall provide the State Board of Elections with a list of all early voting sites and the hours each site will be open.
  • (i) Early voting shall not differ substantially from voting on election day or by absentee ballot.
  • (j) If any provision of this title or amendment made by this title, or the application of a provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this title and amendments made by this title, and the application of the provisions and amendment to any person or circumstance, shall not be affected by the holding.

Title 5 -- Democracy Restoration
Part 1. -- Short Title: This Title may be cited as the Restore the Right to Vote Act.
Part 2. -- Purpose: To restore the right to vote upon completion of any prison time sentenced for a felony conviction.
Part 3. -- Provisions
  • (a) Any disqualification from voting arising from a felony conviction shall terminate and voting rights shall be restored upon completion of time sentenced in prison. No disqualification from voting shall be imposed as a condition of parole, probation, or any outstanding fines or fees.
  • (b) Upon his or her release from prison, a person so released must be given an official document which provides:
  • (i) That the person has been released from prison;
  • (ii) That the person is restored to his or her civil right to vote; and
  • (iii) Description of how to register to vote.
  • (c) If any provision of this title or amendment made by this title, or the application of a provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this title and amendments made by this title, and the application of the provisions and amendment to any person or circumstance, shall not be affected by the holding.

Title 6 -- Redistricting Reform
Part 1. -- Short Title: This Title may be cited as the STATE Fair and Independent Citizen Redistricting Commission Act.
Part 2. -- Purpose: This Title establishes an independent citizen redistricting commission to advance the creation of fair and independent legislative district maps.
Part 3. -- Provisions
  • (a) An independent redistricting commission shall be established in January of each year ending in one. The independent redistricting commission shall be charged with establishing all election district boundaries for all state and federal elections in STATE.
  • (b) The commission shall consist of 13 members of the public. Those who have within the prior five years been an elected official, family or staff of an elected official, a party official, an officer of an elected official’s campaign committee, or a paid lobbyist shall not serve on the commission. The President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the minority leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate shall each appoint two members and shall notify the Secretary of State of such appointments no later than 60 days of the effective date of this section.
  • (c) Within 60 days of the appointment of the initial 8 members, the Secretary of State shall designate a time and place to hold a meeting in order to select 5 additional members. A public application process shall be required for the remaining 5 members. The Secretary of State shall administer the application process, which may include essays, letters of recommendation, and interviews.
  • (d) The Secretary of State shall put forward for selection by the commission an equal number of applicants from each recognized party as well as voters who have no affiliation with any recognized party in STATE for 5 years. No additional member shall be selected to the commission without the affirmative vote of at least 6 of the 8 initial members. Should the 8 members fail to nominate additional members with the requisite 6 votes, the unfilled positions shall be picked at random from the applicants approved by the Secretary of State. Once the initial 8 members have been selected by the legislative leaders, no additional member shall be selected if such selection results in more than 2 members of the commission having their voting residence in any one county.
  • (e) The terms of all commissioners shall be 10 years. A member may be re-appointed upon the expiration of his or her term. The members shall elect annually a chairperson from among the members. In the event of substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office, or inability to discharge the duties of office, a member of the commission may be removed by a 2/3 vote of the commission. Members shall automatically be removed if convicted of violating the laws of STATE. The commission may look at previous applicants or re-open the application process in order to fill a vacancy.\
  • (f) The commission may employ the services of experts, consultants, and support staff, including attorneys not employed by the Attorney General, as necessary to carry out its duties pursuant to section (h).
  • (g) Each commissioner shall be paid $200 a day, or $100 per half-day, plus mileage at the state employee rate while engaged in her or his official duties. These rates shall be adjusted annually to account for inflation or deflation based on the consumer price index.
  • (h) In addition to other duties prescribed by law, the commission shall:
  • (i) Adopt rules pursuant to STATE law to carry out the provisions of this chapter;
  • (ii) Act as the the legislature’s recipient of the final redistricting data and maps from the United States Bureau of the Census;
  • (iii) Comply with requirements to disclose and preserve public records;
  • (iv) Hold open meetings pursuant to STATE law;
  • (v) Prepare and disclose its minutes pursuant to STATE law; and
  • (vi) Prepare and publish a report with the plan; the report will be made available to the public at the time the plan is published. The report will include but will not be limited to:
  • --(a) The population and percentage deviation from the average district population for every district;
  • --(b) an explanation of the criteria used in developing the plan with a justification of any deviation in a district from the average district population;
  • --(c) a map of all the districts; and
  • --(d) the estimated cost incurred by the counties for adjusting precinct boundaries.
  • (i) The commission shall establish districts for State Representatives, State Senators, and United States Senators and Representatives using the following criteria:
  • (i) Districts shall comply with the United States Constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and all applicable federal laws. Districts shall be drawn on the basis of total population.
  • (ii) Districts shall form single boundaries and shall not be bisected or otherwise divided by other districts. To the extent practicable, districts shall be compact and contiguous. District lines shall use visible geographic features, city, town and county boundaries, and undivided census tracts.
  • (iii) Districts shall respect the integrity of communities of interest to the extent practicable. A community of interest is defined as an area with recognized similarities of interests, including but not limited to, economic, social, cultural, geographic, or historic identities. Communities of interest shall not include common relationships with political parties, elected officials, or political candidates.
  • (iv) Districts shall provide racial minorities and language minorities with an equal opportunity to participate in the political process and shall not diminish their ability to elect candidates of choice whether alone or in coalition with others.
  • (v) The redistricting plan shall not have the intent or the effect of unduly favoring or disfavoring any political party or incumbent or candidate for political office. The commission shall use judicial standards and the best available data and scientific statistical methods, including measures of partisan symmetry, to assess whether this goal is met. The finalized map must reflect the most politically competitive legislative map that is practical and feasible.
  • (j) The commission shall solicit redistricting plans and suggestions from the people of STATE. The commission shall provide a meaningful opportunity for all persons of STATE to participate in the public meetings, including, but not limited to:
  • (i) Issuing notices in at least 3 languages most prevalent in STATE as determined by the census and ensuring that translation services are available at all hearings at the commission’s expense or through partnership with outside organizations;
  • (ii) Holding at least ten meetings throughout the STATE that are geographically distributed to encourage broad public attendance
  • (iii) Adequately planning and advertising commission meetings so as to encourage attendance and participation across the state; and
  • (iv) Using technology that allows for real-time, virtual participation and feedback.
  • (v) The commission shall release proposed maps and shall display the proposed maps, in a manner determined by the commission, providing that such display shall include posting on the commission website for a minimum of 14 days for public comment and by distribution to the news media in a manner designed to achieve the widest public access reasonably possible before establishing a final plan.
  • (vi) The commission shall issue with all proposed and final maps written evaluations that measure the maps against external metrics. These metrics shall cover all criteria set forth in section (i) and or any other binding federal or state law.
  • (k) No later than January 1 of any year ending in 2, the commission shall act to approve final plans for all districts pertaining to all state and federal elections in STATE. To approve a final plan, the plan shall receive 9 “yes” votes from the commission, including 5 “yes” votes from members appointed by the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of representatives, and the minority leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate, and 3 “yes” votes from the other members. The plan shall go into effect once adopted by the legislature. The commission shall forward its final plan proposed maps to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate before January 5 of each year ending in two.
  • (l) If a chamber of the legislature fails to pass the final plans, the presiding officer of that chamber shall issue a written explanation specifying how the final plan fails the criteria listed section (i) or any other binding federal or state law. The commission shall then amend the final plans to the extent necessary to satisfy the criteria in section (i) of this chapter or other legal requirements and resubmit it to the legislature for a subsequent up or down floor vote.
  • (m) This process shall repeat until the legislature passes final plans for all districts pertaining to state and federal elections in STATE, at which point the plans shall be filed with the Secretary of State.
  • (n) Should no plan be enacted into law by March 15 in the year of an election, the plan proposed by the commission shall be used in creating districts with full force and effect as if that plan had been enacted into law, unless such commission plan is found to violate either the federal or the STATE constitution. Should the commission plan be found to be in violation of the STATE or federal constitution, the STATE Supreme Court shall adopt a plan conforming to the commission plan to the extent constitutionally permissible.
  • (o) After the plan takes effect as provided in this chapter, any registered voter may file a petition with the STATE Supreme Court challenging the plan.
  • (p) If any provision of this title or amendment made by this title, or the application of a provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this title and amendments made by this title, and the application of the provisions and amendment to any person or circumstance, shall not be affected by the holding.

DIVISION B -- CAMPAIGN FINANCE
Title 7 -- Ban Corporate Contributions to Candidates
Part 1. -- Short Title: This Title may be cited as the Get Corporate Money Out of Politics Act.
Part 2. -- Purpose: To end corporate political contributions to candidates for state or local office.
Part 3. -- Provisions
  • (a) No business or professional corporation, partnership, or limited liability company incorporated or operating under the laws of this or any other state or any foreign country and not operating or registered as a political committee, and no officer or agent acting on behalf of any such entity, may make a contribution to a candidate for nomination, election, or appointment to a political office.
  • (b) A candidate may not accept a contribution or an offer or agreement to make a contribution that is prohibited under section (a).
  • (c) Penalties shall be enforced for violation of this chapter as under STATE campaign finance laws.
  • (d) If any provision of this title or amendment made by this title, or the application of a provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this title and amendments made by this title, and the application of the provisions and amendment to any person or circumstance, shall not be affected by the holding.

Title 8 -- Corporate Political Accountability
Part 1. -- Short Title: This Title may be cited as the Corporate Political Accountability Act.
Part 2. -- Purpose: This Title amends the corporations law to require shareholder approval and public disclosure of corporate political expenditures.
Part 3. -- Provisions
  • (a) A corporation or any of its subsidiaries may not use its money or other property in connection with a political contribution or independent expenditure unless the shareholders of the corporation, by the affirmative vote of a majority of all votes entitled to be cast, have:
  • (1) authorized in advance the total amount of money or property that may be used for all political expenditures during a specific fiscal year of the corporation; and
  • (2) directed that the money or property be used for:
  • --(i) a specified candidate or candidates;
  • --(ii) candidates of a specified political party or parties;
  • --(iii) a specified political party or parties;
  • --(iv) a specified political committee or committees;
  • --(v) a specified entity or entities exempt from taxation under §501(c)(4) or (6) of the internal revenue code; or
  • --(vi) a specified question or questions.
  • (b) Any corporation, either by itself or its subsidiaries, making a contribution or independent expenditure shall at least annually disclose to its shareholders and file with the secretary of state an accounting of the contributions and independent expenditures used for such purposes, including:
  • (1) the date of the contribution or independent expenditure;
  • (2) the amount of the contribution or independent expenditure;
  • (3) the identity of the recipient of the contribution, or if an independent expenditure, the identity of the candidate, referendum, political party, pending legislation, public policy or a government rule or regulation supported or opposed; and
  • (4) the business rationale for each such contribution or independent expenditure.
  • (c) The secretary of state shall post each corporation's annual disclosure on the website maintained by the secretary of state.
  • (d) Whenever it appears to the Attorney General that any person has engaged in any act or practice constituting a violation of any provision of this section, the attorney general may bring an action to obtain one or more of the following remedies:
  • (1) a temporary restraining order;
  • (2) a temporary or permanent injunction;
  • (3) a civil penalty not exceeding:
  • --(i) three times the amount of a political expenditure made in violation of subsection (a) of this section; or
  • --(ii) $5,000 for any other violation of this section;
  • (4) a declaratory judgment;
  • (5) rescission;
  • (6) restitution; and
  • (7) any other appropriate relief.
  • (e) If any provision of this title or amendment made by this title, or the application of a provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this title and amendments made by this title, and the application of the provisions and amendment to any person or circumstance, shall not be affected by the holding.

Title 9 -- Small Dollar Financing of State Legislative Campaigns
Part 1. -- Short Title: This Title may be cited as the Small Dollar Financing Act.
Part 2. -- Purpose: To establish public financing of campaigns for state legislative offices.
Part 3. -- Provisions
  • Sec. (a). Benefits And Eligibility Requirements For Candidates
  • (a) In General.--If a candidate for election to the office of STATE Senator or [Assemblymember / Delegate / Representative] to the STATE Senate or [Assembly / House] is certified as a participating candidate under this title with respect to an election for such office, the candidate shall be entitled to payments as provided under this title.
  • (b) Amount Of Payment.--The amount of a payment made under this title shall be equal to 600 percent of the amount of qualified small dollar contributions received by the candidate since the most recent payment made to the candidate under this title during the election cycle, without regard to whether or not the candidate received any of the contributions before, during, or after the Small Dollar Democracy qualifying period applicable to the candidate.
  • (c) Limit On Aggregate Amount Of Payments.--The aggregate amount of payments made to a participating candidate with respect to an election cycle under this title may not exceed 50 percent of the average of the 20 greatest amounts of disbursements made by the authorized committees of any winning candidate for the same type of office during the most recent election cycle, rounded to the nearest $10,000.
  • Sec. (b). Procedures for Making Payments
  • (a) In General.--STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY shall make a payment under this title to a candidate who is certified as a participating candidate upon receipt from the candidate of a request for a payment which includes--
  • --(1) a statement of the number and amount of qualified small dollar contributions received by the candidate since the most recent payment made to the candidate under this title during the election cycle;
  • --(2) a statement of the amount of the payment the candidate anticipates receiving with respect to the request;
  • --(3) a statement of the total amount of payments the candidate has received under this title as of the date of the statement; and
  • --(4) such other information and assurances as STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY may require.
  • (b) Restrictions On Submission Of Requests.--A candidate may not submit a request under subsection (a) unless each of the following applies:
  • --(1) The amount of the qualified small dollar contributions in the statement referred to in subsection (a)(1) is equal to or greater than $1,000, unless the request is submitted during the 30-day period which ends on the date of a general election.
  • --(2) The candidate did not receive a payment under this title during the 7-day period which ends on the date the candidate submits the request.
  • Sec. (c). Use of Funds
  • (a) Use Of Funds For Authorized Campaign Expenditures.--A candidate shall use payments made under this title, including payments provided with respect to a previous election cycle which are withheld from remittance to STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY in accordance with this title, only for making direct payments for the receipt of goods and services which constitute authorized expenditures as determined in accordance STATE ELECTION LAW in connection with the election cycle involved.
  • (b) Prohibiting Use Of Funds For Legal Expenses, Fines, Or Penalties.--A candidate may not use payments made under this title for the payment of expenses incurred in connection with any action, claim, or other matter before STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY or before any court, hearing officer, arbitrator, or other dispute resolution entity, or for the payment of any fine or civil monetary penalty.
  • Sec. (d). Qualified Small Dollar Contributions Described
  • (a) In General.--In this title, the term ‘qualified small dollar contribution’ means, with respect to a candidate and the authorized committees of a candidate, a contribution that meets the following requirements:
  • --(1) The contribution is in an amount that is--
  • --(A) not less than $1; and
  • --(B) not more than $200, and consists of the first $200 received by the candidate from that individual.
  • --(2) The contribution is made directly by an individual to the candidate or an authorized committee of the candidate and is not received by the candidate or committee with the knowledge that the contribution was made with funds provided to the contributor by another person, or reimbursed to the contributor by another person.
  • Sec. (e). Eligibility
  • (a) In General.--A candidate for the office of STATE [Senator / Assemblymember / Delegate / Representative] to the STATE [ Senate / Assembly / House] is eligible to be certified as a participating candidate under this title with respect to an election if the candidate meets the following requirements:
  • --(1) The candidate files with STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY a statement of intent to seek certification as a participating candidate.
  • --(2) The candidate meets the qualifying requirements under this Act.
  • --(3) The candidate files with STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY a statement certifying that the authorized committees of the candidate meet the requirements of this Act.
  • --(4) Not later than the last day of the Small Dollar Democracy qualifying period, the candidate files with STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY an affidavit signed by the candidate and the treasurer of the candidate's principal campaign committee declaring that the candidate--
  • --(a) has complied and, if certified, will comply with the contribution and expenditure requirements of this Act
  • --(b) if certified, will run only as a participating candidate for all elections for the office that such candidate is seeking during that election cycle; and
  • --(c) has either qualified or will take steps to qualify under State law to be on the ballot.
  • (b) General Election.--Notwithstanding subsection (a), a candidate shall not be eligible to be certified as a participating candidate under this title for a general election or a general runoff election unless the candidate’s party nominated the candidate to be placed on the ballot for the general election or the candidate is otherwise qualified to be on the ballot under State law.
  • (c) Small Dollar Democracy Qualifying Period Defined.--The term ‘Small Dollar Democracy qualifying period’ means, with respect to any candidate for an office, the 180-day period (during the election cycle for such office) which begins on the date on which the candidate files a statement of intent, except that such period may not continue after the date that is 30 days before the date of the general election for the office.
  • Sec. (f). Qualifying Requirements
  • (a) Receipt Of Qualified Small Dollar Contributions.--A candidate for the office of STATE [Senator / Assemblymember / Delegate / Representative] to the STATE [ Senate / Assembly / House] meets the requirement of this section if, during the Small Dollar Democracy qualifying period, each of the following occurs:
  • --(1) Not fewer than [50] individuals make a qualified small dollar contribution to the candidate.
  • --(2) The candidate obtains a total dollar amount of qualified small dollar contributions which is equal to or greater than $[10,000].
  • (b) Requirements Relating To Receipt Of Qualified Small Dollar Contribution.--Each qualified small dollar contribution--
  • --(1) may be made by means of a personal check, money order, debit card, credit card, electronic payment account, or any other method deemed appropriate by STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY;
  • --(2) shall be accompanied by a signed statement (or, in the case of a contribution made online or through other electronic means, an electronic equivalent) containing the contributor’s name and address; and
  • --(3) shall be acknowledged by a receipt that is sent to the contributor with a copy (in paper or electronic form) kept by the candidate for STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY.
  • (c) Verification Of Contributions.—STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY shall establish procedures for the auditing and verification of the contributions received and expenditures made by participating candidates under this title, including procedures for random audits, to ensure that such contributions and expenditures meet the requirements of this title.
  • Sec. (g). Certification
  • (a) Deadline And Notification.—
  • --(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 5 business days after a candidate files an affidavit, STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY shall—
  • --(A) determine whether or not the candidate meets the requirements for certification as a participating candidate;
  • --(B) if STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY determines that the candidate meets such requirements, certify the candidate as a participating candidate; and
  • --(C) notify the candidate of STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY's determination.
  • --(2) DEEMED CERTIFICATION FOR ALL ELECTIONS IN ELECTION CYCLE.—If STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY certifies a candidate as a participating candidate with respect to the first election of the election cycle involved, STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY shall be deemed to have certified the candidate as a participating candidate with respect to all subsequent elections of the election cycle.
  • (b) Revocation Of Certification.—
  • --(1) IN GENERAL.—STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY shall revoke a certification under subsection (a) if—
  • --(A) a candidate fails to qualify to appear on the ballot at any time after the date of certification (other than a candidate certified as a participating candidate with respect to a primary election who fails to qualify to appear on the ballot for a subsequent election in that election cycle);
  • --(B) a candidate ceases to be a candidate for the office involved, as determined on the basis of an official announcement by an authorized committee of the candidate or on the basis of a reasonable determination by STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY; or
  • --(C) a candidate otherwise fails to comply with the requirements of this title, including any regulatory requirements prescribed by STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY.
  • Sec. (h). Freedom From Influence Fund.
  • (a) Establishment.—There is established by the STATE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE a fund to be known as the ‘Freedom From Influence Fund’.
  • (b) Amounts Held By Fund.—The Fund shall consist of the following amounts:
  • --(1) ASSESSMENTS AGAINST FINES, SETTLEMENTS, AND PENALTIES.—Amounts transferred under section (d) of this Title (“Assessments Against Fines and Penalties”).
  • --(2) DEPOSITS.—Amounts deposited into the Fund under—
  • --(A) section [insert section number from below] (relating to exceptions to contribution requirements);
  • --(B) section [insert section number from below] (relating to remittance of unused payments from the Fund); and
  • --(C) section [insert section number from below] (relating to violations).
  • --(3) INVESTMENT RETURNS.—Interest on, and the proceeds from, the sale or redemption of any obligations held by the Fund under subsection (c).
  • (c) Investment.—STATE TREASURY OFFICIAL shall invest portions of the Fund in obligations of the United States as are not, in his or her judgment, required to meet current withdrawals. Such investments may be made only in interest-bearing obligations of the United States. For such purpose, such obligations may be acquired:
  • --(A) on original issue at the issue price, or
  • --(B) by purchase of outstanding obligations at the market price.
  • (d) Use Of Fund To Make Payments To Participating Candidates.—
  • --(1) PAYMENTS TO PARTICIPATING CANDIDATES.—Amounts in the Fund shall be available without further appropriation or fiscal year limitation to make payments to participating candidates as provided in this title.
  • --(2) MANDATORY REDUCTION OF PAYMENTS IN CASE OF INSUFFICIENT AMOUNTS IN FUND.—
  • --(A) ADVANCE AUDITS BY COMMISSION.—Not later than 90 days before the first day of each election cycle (beginning with the first election cycle that begins after the date of the enactment of this title), STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY shall—
  • --(i) audit the Fund to determine whether the amounts in the Fund will be sufficient to make payments to participating candidates in the amounts provided in this title during such election cycle; and
  • --(ii) submit a report to STATE LEGISLATURE describing the results of the audit.
  • --(B) REDUCTIONS IN AMOUNT OF PAYMENTS.—
  • --(i) AUTOMATIC REDUCTION ON PRO RATA BASIS.—If, on the basis of the audit described in subparagraph (A), STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY determines that the amount anticipated to be available in the Fund with respect to the election cycle involved is not, or may not be, sufficient to satisfy the full entitlements of participating candidates to payments under this title for such election cycle, STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY shall reduce each amount which would otherwise be paid to all participating candidates under this title by such pro rata amount as may be necessary to ensure that the aggregate amount of payments anticipated to be made with respect to the election cycle will not exceed the amount anticipated to be available for such payments in the Fund with respect to such election cycle.
  • --(ii) RESTORATION OF REDUCTIONS IN CASE OF AVAILABILITY OF SUFFICIENT FUNDS DURING ELECTION CYCLE.—If, after reducing the amounts paid to participating candidates with respect to an election cycle under clause (i), STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY determines that there are sufficient amounts in the Fund to restore the amount by which such payments were reduced (or any portion thereof), to the extent that such amounts are available, STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY may make a payment on a pro rata basis to each such participating candidate with respect to the election cycle in the amount by which such candidate’s payments were reduced under clause (i) (or any portion thereof, as the case may be).
  • --(iii) NO USE OF AMOUNTS FROM OTHER SOURCES.—In any case in which STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY determines that there are insufficient moneys in the Fund to make payments to participating candidates under this title, moneys shall not be made available from any other source for the purpose of making such payments.
  • (e) Effective Date.—This section shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this title.
  • Sec. (i). Assessments Against Fines And Penalties.
  • (A) Assessments.—
  • --(1) CONVICTIONS OF CRIMES.—In addition to any assessment imposed under the STATE CRIMINAL CODE, the court shall assess on any organizational defendant or any defendant named in their official capacity as a corporate officer or person with equivalent authority in any other organization who is convicted of a criminal offense under STATE law an amount equal to 2.75 percent of any fine imposed on that defendant in the sentence imposed for that conviction.
  • --(2) SETTLEMENTS.—The court shall assess on any organizational defendant or defendant who is a corporate officer or person with equivalent authority in any other organization who has entered into a settlement agreement or consent decree with the STATE in satisfaction of any allegation that the defendant committed a criminal offense under STATE law an amount equal to 2.75 percent of the amount of the settlement.
  • --(B) Manner Of Collection.—An amount assessed under subsection (A) shall be collected in the manner in which fines are collected in criminal cases.
  • --(C) Transfers.—There shall be transferred from the STATE GENERAL FUND to the Freedom From Influence Fund an amount equal to the amount of the assessments collected under this section.
  • --(D) Assessments Relating To Civil Penalties.—
  • --(1) CIVIL PENALTIES.—Any entity of the STATE which is authorized under any law, rule, or regulation to impose a civil penalty shall assess on each person, other than a natural person who is not a corporate officer or person with equivalent authority in any other organization, on whom such a penalty is imposed an amount equal to 2.75 percent of the amount of the penalty.
  • --(2) ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTIES.—Any entity of the STATE which is authorized under any law, rule, or regulation to impose an administrative penalty shall assess on each person, other than a natural person who is not a corporate officer or person with equivalent authority in any other organization, on whom such a penalty is imposed an amount equal to 2.75 percent of the amount of the penalty.
  • --(3) SETTLEMENTS.—Any entity of the STATE which is authorized under any law, rule, or regulation to enter into a settlement agreement or consent decree with any person, other than a natural person who is not a corporate officer or person with equivalent authority in any other organization, in satisfaction of any allegation of an action or omission by the person which would be subject to a civil penalty or administrative penalty shall assess on such person an amount equal to 2.75 percent of the amount of the settlement.
  • --(E) Manner Of Collection.—An amount assessed under subsection (D) shall be collected—
  • --(1) in the case of an amount assessed under paragraph (1) of such subsection, in the manner in which civil penalties are collected by the entity of the STATE involved;
  • --(2) in the case of an amount assessed under paragraph (2) of such subsection, in the manner in which administrative penalties are collected by the entity of the STATE involved; and
  • --(3) in the case of an amount assessed under paragraph (3) of such subsection, in the manner in which amounts are collected pursuant to settlement agreements or consent decrees entered into by the entity of the STATE involved.
  • --(F) Transfers.—There shall be transferred from the GENERAL FUND OF STATE to the Freedom From Influence Fund an amount equal to the amount of the assessments collected under this section.
  • Sec. (j). Special Assessments For Freedom From Influence Fund.
  • (A) In General.—Each person required to pay a covered penalty shall pay an additional amount equal to 2.75 percent of the amount of such penalty.
  • (B) Covered Penalty.—For purposes of this section, the term ‘covered penalty’ means any addition to tax, additional amount, penalty, or other liability provided under STATE TAX CODE.
  • (C) Exception For Certain Individuals.—
  • --(1) IN GENERAL.—In the case of a taxpayer who is an individual, subsection (a) shall not apply to any covered penalty if such taxpayer is an exempt taxpayer for the taxable year for which such covered penalty is assessed.
  • --(2) EXEMPT TAXPAYER.—For purposes of this subsection, a taxpayer is an exempt taxpayer for any taxable year if the taxable income of such taxpayer for such taxable year does not exceed the dollar amount at which begins the highest rate bracket in effect under section 1 with respect to such taxpayer for such taxable year.
  • (D) Application Of Certain Rules.—Except as provided in subsection (e), the additional amount determined under subsection (a) shall be treated for purposes of this title in the same manner as the covered penalty to which such additional amount relates.
  • (E) Transfer To Freedom From Influence Fund.—The STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL shall deposit any additional amount under subsection (a) in the STATE GENERAL FUND and shall transfer from such Fund to the Freedom From Influence Fund established under this Act an amount equal to the amounts so deposited (and, notwithstanding subsection (d), such additional amount shall not be the basis for any deposit, transfer, credit, appropriation, or any other payment, to any other trust fund or account).
  • (F) Effective Dates.— Except as provided in paragraph (C)(2), the amendments made by this section shall apply with respect to convictions, agreements, and penalties which occur on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
  • Sec. (k). Study And Report On Small Dollar Financing Program.
  • (A) Study And Report.—Not later than 2 years after the completion of the first election cycle in which the Small Dollar Financial Program is in effect, the STATE ELECTION AUTHORITY shall—
  • --(1) assess—
  • --(A) the amount of payment established under this Act (ie, 600 percent of the amount of qualified small dollar contributions received by the candidate); and
  • --(B) the amount of a qualified small dollar contribution established in this Act (ie, contributions under $200); and
  • --(2) submit to STATE LEGISLATURE a report that discusses whether such amounts are sufficient to meet the goals of the program.

DIVISION C -- ETHICS
Title 10 -- Independent Ethics Oversight
Part 1. -- Short Title: This Title may be cited as the Independent Ethics and Oversight Act.
Part 2. -- Purpose: This Title creates a STATE independent ethics commission to ensure adequate ethics rules, oversight and enforcement for all branches of government.
Part 3. -- Provisions
  • (a) Establishment. It is hereby established a STATE Independent Ethics Commission to ensure adequate ethics rules, oversight and enforcement for all branches of government.
  • (1) The Commission shall be composed of seven members.
  • (2) Each of the seven members shall be registered voters in STATE and
  • (3) Commission members shall be appointed as follows:
  • --(i) One member appointed by the Speaker of the State House;
  • --(ii) One member appointed by the Minority Leader of the State House;
  • --(iii) One member appointed by the President of the State Senate;
  • --(iv) One member appointed by the Minority Leader of the State Senate;
  • --(v) One member appointed by the Governor;
  • --(vi) One member appointed by the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court;
  • --(vii) A final member who shall be appointed by the affirmative vote of at least four of the other six members appointed to the commission.
  • --(viii) Initial appointments shall be concluded within three months of enactment of this Act and appointed members shall serve until July 1 following the next regular Gubernatorial election. Thereafter, new Commission members shall be appointed to concurrent four-year terms, taking office every four years on July 2 following each regular Gubernatorial election.
  • --(ix) In the event that a mid-term vacancy arises with respect to a member of the Commission first appointed by a legislative leader, the legislative leaders of the same political party in the same house shall appoint a member to fill such vacancy irrespective of whether that legislative leader's political party is then in the majority or minority. In the event that a mid-term vacancy arises with respect to a member of the Commission first appointed by a Governor, the then-Governor shall appoint a replacement member from the same political party as the member that vacated that position.
  • --(x) Appointing authorities shall solicit and accept non-binding recommendations for Commission appointees from the State Attorney General, Treasurer or Comptroller, the State and local Bar Associations, and State and local ethics and good government groups.
  • (4) The HEAD STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIAL shall enter into cooperative agreements with additional agencies of state government that agree to function as registration agencies. Such agreements shall provide that the state secretary shall conduct appropriate
  • (5) No member or staff of the Commission board shall (1) hold or campaign for any public office or be a state employee other than (for Commission employees) as an employee of the Commission; (2) have held public office or been a candidate for public office for a three-year period prior to appointment; (3) hold office in any political party or political committee or have held such office for a three-year period prior to appointment; or (4) be a registered lobbyist or have been a registered lobbyist for a three-year period prior to appointment.
  • (6) The commission shall have power to act by majority vote of the total number of members of the commission without vacancy. Any vacancies shall be filled within 30 days. A person appointed to fill a vacancy occurring other than by expiration of a term of office shall be appointed for the unexpired term of the member he or she succeeds.
  • (7) Commission members may be removed by the appointing authority solely for substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office, violation of Commission confidentiality restrictions, inability to discharge the powers or duties of office or violation of this Act, after written notice and opportunity for a reply.
  • (b) Operations.
  • (1) The Commission shall appoint an executive director who shall act in accordance with the policies of the Commission. The appointment and removal of the Executive Director shall be made solely by a vote of a majority of the Commission without vacancies.
  • --(i) The Executive Director shall be appointed without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of fitness to perform the duties assigned by this article, and shall be a qualified, independent professional. The commission may remove the Executive Director for neglect of duty, misconduct in office, violation of Commission confidentiality restrictions, or inability or failure to discharge the powers or duties of office, including the failure to follow the lawful instructions of the Commission.
  • (2) The Commission may delegate authority to the Executive Director to act in the name of the Commission between meetings of the commission provided such delegation is in writing, the specific powers to be delegated are enumerated, and the commission shall not delegate any decisions specified in this section that require a vote of the commission.
  • (3) The Commission shall appoint such other staff as are necessary to carry out its duties under this section, including to;
  • --(i) Review and approve a staffing plan provided and prepared by the executive director which shall contain, at a minimum, a list of the various units and divisions as well as the number of positions in each unit, titles and their duties, and salaries, as well as the various qualifications for each position including, but not limited to, education and prior experience for each position.
  • (4) Initial passage of this Act shall include appropriations sufficient to staff the Commission adequately with policy and legal, investigative, and support personnel sufficient to carry out the responsibilities of the Commission over five years. The Commission shall then include in its annual reports an assessment of the budget necessary for continuing operations and shall request that amount for appropriation by the Legislature.
  • (5) The Commission shall adopt, amend, and rescind rules and regulations to govern procedures of the commission, its annual report and operations sufficient to allow it to fulfill its mission and duties in accordance with this Act.
  • (c) Duties. The Commission shall:
  • (1) Undertake a comprehensive review of all ethics statutes, regulations and opinions, to evaluate address the consistency of such statutes, regulations and opinions among each other and with the new statutory language of this Act, and assess the effectiveness of existing laws, regulations, guidance and ethics enforcement structures to address the ethics of public officials across all branches of government. Such review shall be conducted in cooperation with and with the input of all existing ethics bodies in STATE, and, to the extent possible, the Commission’s findings shall reflect the full input of the Commission and such other ethics bodies. The Commission shall, within two years of passage of this Act, report to the governor and legislature regarding such review and shall propose any regulatory or statutory changes and issue any advisory opinions and regulations necessitated by such review.
  • --(i) Such review, report, and recommended law changes shall include a review of lobbying, financial disclosure, and ethics laws in state to ensure rules are sufficient to protect the public interest in line with best practices from other states around the country, support the democratic functioning of government, and prevent corruption.
  • (2) Create, within three years of the passage of this Act, a centralized process to be managed by Commission staff for filing a) STATE financial disclosure and ethics statements required from public officers and employees and b) lobbyist and lobby client reports required under state lobbying laws. Such procedures shall reduce burdens on those filling out such forms and result in the forms being available online in a central electronic repository that is easily searchable and accessible by the public to the extent permitted by law.
  • (3) Annually starting three years after passage of this Act, prepare an annual report to the governor and legislature summarizing the activities of the Commission during the previous year and recommending any changes in the laws governing the conduct of persons subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission, or the rules, regulations and procedures governing the Commission's conduct.
  • (4) Prepare materials for, design and administer a comprehensive ethics training program for all public officers and employees, annually starting within three years after passage of this Act.
  • --(i) This training shall be required for state officers and employees as the Commission directs, except to the extent that an ethics training program is otherwise required by law and such program meets or exceeds the level of training provided in Commission programs.
  • (5) Receive and investigate complaints alleging violations of the state ethics laws, in accordance with the following procedures.)
  • --(i) Within two years of the passage of this Act, the Commission shall promulgate regulations and create processes to allow for the submission of complaints of violations of the state ethics laws to the Commission, and begin accepting complaints.
  • --(ii) The commission shall be deemed to be an agency within the meaning of the STATE administrative procedure act and shall adopt rules governing the conduct of adjudicatory proceedings and appeals relating to the assessment of the civil penalties herein authorized in accordance with the STATE administrative procedure act and other laws.
  • --(iii) When the Commission receives a complaint or determines on its own initiative to investigate a possible violation, the Commission shall notify the individual potentially committing the violation in writing, describe the possible or alleged violation, provide a description of the allegations against him or her and the evidence, if any, supporting such allegations, provided however that the Commission shall redact any information that might, in the judgment of the commission, be prejudicial to either the complainant or the investigation; the letter also shall set forth the sections of law alleged to have been violated and provide the person with a fifteen day period in which to submit a written response, including any evidence, statements, and proposed witnesses, setting forth information relating to the activities cited as a possible or alleged violation of law.
  • --(iv) The Commission shall, within sixty calendar days after a complaint or a referral is received or an investigation is initiated on the commission's own initiative, vote on whether to commence a full investigation of the matter. When four Commission members with no vacancies vote to proceed with an investigation, complaints shall be investigated by Commission staff and referred to the Commission with recommendations for an initial finding. If the Commission finds probable cause for a violation of ethics law, it shall make a public statement and the complaint and finding shall be made public, and referred back to staff for additional investigation, including a hearing.
  • --(v) All complaints and complainant identities shall be kept confidential unless and until the complaint is made public either a) when a matter is resolved publicly through a Commission-issued decision or through a negotiated settlement approved by the Commission; or b) upon a finding of Probable Cause by the Commission and an issuance of a public order to show cause to the respondent by the Commission.
  • --(vi) Such investigation and determination as to whether a civil penalty is in order shall proceed in accordance with STATE administrative procedure act, and shall include a hearing that provides respondent with a reasonable opportunity to appear in person, and by attorney, give sworn testimony and present evidence. The commission shall also inform the individual of its rules regarding the conduct of adjudicatory proceedings and appeals and the other due process procedural mechanisms available to such individual. If the commission determines at any stage that there is no violation, that any potential violation has been rectified, or if the investigation is closed for any other reason, it shall so advise the individual and the complainant, if any, in writing within fifteen days of such decision.
  • (6) Impose civil penalties for violations of up to $10,000 per violation, and for violations of bribery provisions up to $25,000 per violation. The Commission can also refer matters to the Attorney General or appropriate District Attorneys for criminal prosecution, or to relevant judicial, executive or legislative branch ethics committees or offices for further investigation or sanctions pursuant to state law.

Title 11 -- No Revolving Door
Part 1. -- Short Title: This Title may be cited as the No Revolving Door Act.
Part 2. -- Purpose: This Title amends state ethics laws to close the revolving door for state officers and employees.
Part 3. -- Provisions
  • (a) Two-year bar. No public officer, member, or employee, shall for two years following the date on which the officer, member or employee ends service, for compensation, on behalf of another, make any appearance before or negotiate with any officer, member or employee of the department or body with which the departing officer, member or employee was associated, nor shall the departing officer or employee serve for a fee as a lobbyist or otherwise represent clients before the board, agency, commission, department, or legislative body, of which he or she is a former officer or employee.
  • (b) No public officer, member, or employee, shall for two years following the date on which the officer, member or employee ends service, have a beneficial interest in a contract or grant authorized or funded by legislative or executive action in which the former state officer participated.

Title 12 -- Severability
  • (a) If any provision of this title or amendment made by this title, or the application of a provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this title and amendments made by this title, and the application of the provisions and amendment to any person or circumstance, shall not be affected by the holding.