Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Wide Variety of Reform Proposals

The House filing deadline was yesterday, so we should now have a pretty good sense of what bills may be active this spring (except for all those pesky shell bills, which could morph into just about anything). Apparently, many legislators recognize the value of being seen as reformers (though the real test is passage, not filing). Here’s a brief recap of some that we haven’t previously posted:

Election Day procedures. HB 2484 (Rep Connie Howard) would make Election Day a state holiday. Relatedly, HB1337 (Rep. Larry McKeon) would allow workers to take paid voting leave on Election Day. HB 203 (Rep. Rich Myers) would address voting in nursing homes and hospitals. HB 1015 and HB 3548 (both Rep. Mike Boland) and also SB 1697 (Sen. Terry Link) would make provisions for early voting. HB 2532 (Rep. Beth Coulson) would expand the ranks of who can serve as a pollwatcher. HB 111 (Rep. Sara Feigenholtz) and SB 453 (Sen. John Cullerton) would set standards for counting provisional ballots. SB 2015 (Sen. Susan Garrett) gets at standards for counting absentee ballots. HB 715 (Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia) and HB 545 (Rep. Bill Black) would designate where students could vote (in somewhat conflicting ways).

Conduct of elections and of government. HB 1598 (Rep. Bill Black) would expand the electronic filing requirement to cover more political committees. SB 2009 (Sen. Dave Sullivan) would require that most large contributions be disclosed within two days, even when an election wasn’t imminent. HB 4019 (Rep. Sid Mathias) would increase disclosure requirements for politically active non-profits. SB 2007 (Sen. Kirk Dillard) would ban the use of a statewide official's name or image in a commercial solicitation or broadcast message.

Probably many, if not most, of these bills won’t survive the session in their current form. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll see how well the legislature can coalesce around ideas, run them through the wringer, and pass them into law.

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