Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

02/02/2021 03:30 PM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
           SB 43-ELECTIONS, VOTING, CAMPAIGN FINANCE                                                                        
3:32:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER  announced the consideration  of SENATE BILL  NO. 43                                                               
"An Act  relating to campaign  finance and  initiatives; relating                                                               
to elections and voting; and relating to unlawful interference                                                                  
with voting."                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SHOWER advised  that he and the sponsor  discussed the bill                                                               
extensively  and  agreed  that  the   best  way  forward  was  to                                                               
introduce a  committee substitute (CS)  that limits the  focus of                                                               
the bill to campaign finance.                                                                                                   
3:33:23 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHELLEY HUGHES, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau,                                                                       
Alaska, sponsor of SB 43, introduced the legislation speaking to                                                                
the following sponsor statement:                                                                                                
     Senate    Bill    43    improves    transparency    and                                                                    
     accountability in  campaign finance laws  pertaining to                                                                    
     ballot initiatives and offers  solutions to help secure                                                                    
     the  integrity  of our  election  system  in Alaska  to                                                                    
     prevent  the  possibility  of what  has  been  commonly                                                                    
     referred  to  as  "ballot  harvesting".  This  bill  is                                                                    
     nonpartisan and  provides no advantage  or disadvantage                                                                    
     to one  political party  over another.  The goal  is to                                                                    
     prevent dark  money in all  elections in our  state and                                                                    
     to prevent  a person with  a conflict of  interest from                                                                    
     being  involved with  the ballot-casting  process of  a                                                                    
     registered voter.                                                                                                          
     In  regard to  the  "dark money"  provisions, the  bill                                                                    
     applies  the provisions  in the  recent Ballot  Measure                                                                    
     Two (passed  in November  2020) to  ballot propositions                                                                    
     in  future  elections.  For instance,  SB  43  requires                                                                    
     those who contribute more than  $2000 to an independent                                                                    
     expenditure  group in  a calendar  year to  report that                                                                    
     contribution  within 24  hours; any  campaign receiving                                                                    
     more than  $2000 from an independent  expenditure group                                                                    
     must also report that contribution  within 24 hours. In                                                                    
     addition,  anonymous contributions,  or a  contribution                                                                    
     made under a fictitious or  another person's name to an                                                                    
     independent  expenditure  group  is  prohibited.  These                                                                    
     provisions would help Alaskans  know the true source of                                                                    
     contributions to  ballot measures, including  whether a                                                                    
     contribution  is from  an in-state  source  or from  an                                                                    
     out-of-state  source.  This   bill  effectively  shines                                                                    
     light on  dark money pertaining to  ballot measures and                                                                    
     drives the shadows out of Alaska.                                                                                          
     SB 43 also  makes amendments to statute  to prevent the                                                                    
     possibility in  Alaska of what is  commonly referred to                                                                    
     as  ballot harvesting.   SB 43 details who  may and who                                                                    
     may not assist a voter  in completing and submitting an                                                                    
     absentee  ballot.  A  person  who  has  a  conflict  of                                                                    
     interest  cannot  help  a  voter  fill  out  or  be  in                                                                    
     possession  of  a  ballot  that   is  not  theirs.  The                                                                    
     legislation  includes  some  teeth: it  makes  unlawful                                                                    
     assistance by  such a person  a crime punishable  by up                                                                    
     to one year of jail and  a fine of up to $10,000. Other                                                                    
     states  have closed  this loophole  that would  allow a                                                                    
     bad actor to take advantage of  a voter; it is time for                                                                    
     Alaska to close it as well.                                                                                                
     The elections and voting sections  of this bill clarify                                                                    
     language to  provide consistency in  application, which                                                                    
     in   turn   provide   Alaskans   with   assurance   and                                                                    
     confidence.   Elections  are   a  cornerstone   to  our                                                                    
     constitutional representative republic  and help ensure                                                                    
     our American  form of government can  continue. Because                                                                    
     of  this, during  election  season,  we as  legislators                                                                    
     must  ensure  transparency  and  untainted  funding  in                                                                    
     regard  to initiatives;  secondly,  for the  individual                                                                    
     casting  a ballot,  we must  ensure protection  against                                                                    
     interference by those with a conflict of interest.                                                                         
SENATOR HUGHES  confirmed that  she and  the sponsor  agreed that                                                               
the forthcoming CS  for SB 43 would be limited  to the subject of                                                               
campaign  finance  and  expansion  of the  provisions  of  Ballot                                                               
Measure 2.                                                                                                                      
3:38:57 PM                                                                                                                    
RILEY NYE, Intern, Senator Shelley Hughes, Alaska State                                                                         
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, presented the following sectional                                                                  
analysis for SB 39.                                                                                                             
     Sec. 1  - AS 15.13.040(s)  Page 1,  Lines 5 to  Page 2,                                                                
     Lines 7                                                                                                                
     Expands  the  reporting   requirements  for  those  who                                                                    
     contributed  more   than  $2,000  in  aggregate   in  a                                                                    
     calendar year  to an  independent expenditure  group to                                                                    
     include all elections, not just candidate elections.                                                                       
MR. NYE advised that this was in Section 7, page 4, of Ballot                                                                   
Measure 2.                                                                                                                      
     Sec. 2 - AS 15.13.065(c) Page 2, Lines 8 - 21                                                                          
     Conforming language to add AS  15.13.074(b) to the list                                                                    
     of requirements  in AS  15.13 that  do apply  to ballot                                                                    
     propositions.  This  section   states  that  all  other                                                                    
     sections in  AS 15.13 except  for those listed,  do not                                                                    
     apply to ballot propositions.                                                                                              
MR. NYE advised that AS 15.13.074(b) was in Section 9 of Ballot                                                                 
Measure 2. It states:                                                                                                           
     A  person   or  group  may  not   make  a  contribution                                                                    
     anonymously,  using a  fictitious  name,  or using  the                                                                    
     name  of another.  Individuals,  persons, or  non-group                                                                    
     entities or  groups subject to AS  15.13.040(s) may not                                                                    
     contribute or  accept $2,000 or  more of dark  money as                                                                    
     that term is  defined in AS 15.13.400(17),  and may not                                                                    
     make  a contribution  while acting  as an  intermediary                                                                    
     without disclosing the true  source of the contribution                                                                    
     as defined in AS 15.13.400(18).                                                                                            
MR. NYE advised that the definitions of "dark money" and "true                                                                  
source" were found in Sections 17 and 18 of Ballot Measure 2. SB
43 proposes no changes to those definitions.                                                                                    
3:41:06 PM                                                                                                                    
     Sec. 3 - AS 15.13.110(k)  Page 2, Lines 23 through Page                                                                
     3, Line 2                                                                                                              
     Expands  the  reporting   requirements  for  those  who                                                                    
     received more  than $2,000 in  a calendar year  from an                                                                    
     independent   expenditure   group    to   include   all                                                                    
     elections, not just candidate elections.                                                                                   
MR NYE advised that the foregoing was in Section 14, page 6, of                                                                 
Ballot Measure 2.                                                                                                               
     Sec. 4 - AS 15.13.400(19) Page 3, Lines 4 - 9                                                                          
     Revises  the definition  of "outside-funded  entity" to                                                                    
     include entities that  make independent expenditures to                                                                    
     any election in Alaska, but  whose place of business is                                                                    
     outside the state of Alaska.                                                                                               
MR. NYE advised that the foregoing definition was in Section 19,                                                                
page 8, of Ballot Measure 2.                                                                                                    
     Sec. 5 - AS 15.30.081(m) Page 3, Lines 11-17                                                                           
     New  subsection  specifying who  may  and  who may  not                                                                    
     assist a voter in completing an absentee ballot.                                                                           
 MR NYE advised that the new subsection also specified that                                                                     
 anybody assisting another in completing a ballot must give their                                                               
 name and address and sign the voter certificate certifying that                                                                
 they assisted the voter in completing the ballot.                                                                              
     Sec. 6 - AS 15.56.035(a) Page 3, Lines 19-31                                                                           
    This   section   expands    the   crime   of   unlawful                                                                     
     interference with voting.                                                                                                  
MR. NYE advised that unlawful  interference includes: 1) a person                                                               
who violates Section  5 of SB 43, 2) a  candidate, ballot measure                                                               
campaign   employee,  volunteer,   sponsor,  or   circulator  who                                                               
knowingly  assists a  voter  in marking  an  absentee ballot,  3)                                                               
anybody  who  knowingly  possesses   a  ballot  for  a  statewide                                                               
election that was mailed to  another person unless that person is                                                               
a) an  election official, b) a  US Postal Service employee,  c) a                                                               
person allowed by  law to collect and transport US  mail, or d) a                                                               
family member or caregiver of the  voter.                                                                                       
     Sec. 7 - AS 15.56.035 Page 5, Lines 1-16                                                                               
      New subsection adding definitions referenced in new                                                                       
     subsections in the bill.                                                                                                   
MR.  NYE advised  that the  new  definitions were  for the  terms                                                               
"caregiver," "family member," "household member," and "possess."                                                                
      Sec. 8 - AS 15.07.130(e)(3) and AS 15.20.800 Page 5,                                                                  
     Line 12                                                                                                                
      This section repeals Vote by mail and a reference to                                                                      
     Vote by mail from statute.                                                                                                 
      Sec. 9 - AS 15.56.035(a)(8) - (10) Page 5, Lines 15-                                                                  
     Applicability of section six is specified as after the                                                                     
     effective date.                                                                                                            
CHAIR SHOWER solicited a motion to adopt the CS.                                                                                
3:44:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD moved  to adopt  CSSB 43(STA),  work order  GS-                                                               
320253\I, as the working document.                                                                                              
CHAIR SHOWER objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                  
3:45:39 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
3:46:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER reconvened the meeting  and asked Mr. Shanigan to go                                                               
through the changes between version B and version I of SB 43.                                                                   
3:46:17 PM                                                                                                                    
TERRENCE  SHANIGAN,  Staff,  Senator Mike  Shower,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, stated  that the CS removes Sections                                                               
5 through 9,  and the remaining sections are  unchanged. He noted                                                               
that removing those sections triggered a title change.                                                                          
CHAIR SHOWER explained that removing  those sections tightens the                                                               
bill and  eliminates some overlap.  He noted that another  CS was                                                               
forthcoming to eliminate further overlap with other legislation.                                                                
3:47:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER removed  his objection and CSSB  43(STA), version I,                                                               
was adopted.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD  thanked  the  sponsor and  chair  for  working                                                               
together on  the legislation. She  expressed her pleasure  at the                                                               
collegiality this session.                                                                                                      
CHAIR  SHOWER asked  the sponsor  if she  was satisfied  that the                                                               
changes  to the  bill achieve  sufficient transparency  such that                                                               
nobody  would be  able  be able  to spend  money  from inside  or                                                               
outside  Alaska to  influence an  election without  reporting the                                                               
3:50:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES  replied  the bill  seeks  to  address  Alaskans'                                                               
desire  for accountability  and  transparency  and concern  about                                                               
dark money influencing  elections. She said she  was receptive if                                                               
anybody found another loophole to close.                                                                                        
CHAIR SHOWER  asked what was in  SB 43 that Ballot  Measure 2 did                                                               
not cover.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR HUGHES replied it provides  transparency so Alaskans know                                                               
the true source  of a campaign contribution,  including where the                                                               
person came from.                                                                                                               
CHAIR SHOWER  asked for an  example of what might  happen without                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR HUGHES  cited the example  of an entity  headquartered in                                                               
the Lower  48 that is  collecting money from multiple  states and                                                               
feeding the  funds into a  measure in Alaska. Alaskans  would not                                                               
know  that the  true source  was from  outside the  state. SB  43                                                               
requires reporting the true source.                                                                                             
3:52:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI referenced  Section 1  and asked  if an  entity                                                               
that made  more than one  independent expenditure in  an election                                                               
would  be  required  to  report   each  of  the  individuals  who                                                               
contributed even  if not all the  funds went to Alaska.  He cited                                                               
the example  of the Republican State  Leadership Committee (RSLC)                                                               
that  was  active  in  Alaska  in  both  the  primary  and  state                                                               
election. The  RSLC raised more  than $150 million over  the last                                                               
several years to go to targeted states, one of which was Alaska.                                                                
3:53:58 PM                                                                                                                    
BUDDY  WHITT,   Staff,  Senator  Shelley  Hughes,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, explained that when  Ballot Measure                                                               
2 passed,  it became  APOC's responsibility  to work  through the                                                               
mechanics and  write the regulations for  how those contributions                                                               
would  be reported.  He said  Sections  1 and  3 of  SB 43  would                                                               
ensure  that  those  same  mechanics  and  regulations  apply  to                                                               
statewide ballot  initiatives as well. To  the specific question,                                                               
he said he  imagines that APOC will  require specific information                                                               
if out-of-state money is received  for in-state campaigns and in-                                                               
state campaigns  cannot receive that  money unless  the reporting                                                               
requirements are attached.  He said that already  applies for any                                                               
political  party and  campaign candidates.  By removing  the word                                                               
"candidate," if the  RSLC, for example, contributes  to an Alaska                                                               
statewide  ballot initiative,  before  anybody  can receive  that                                                               
money, if it  is classified as an  independent expenditure group,                                                               
they would  need to comply  with reporting requirements.  If they                                                               
cannot comply,  he said his  understanding is that they  would be                                                               
in breach of the law and would not be able to accept that money.                                                                
SENATOR HUGHES added  that sponsors of a  ballot initiative would                                                               
have to meet the same reporting requirements as a candidate.                                                                    
CHAIR  SHOWER  observed  that  it sounds  as  though  the  answer                                                               
potentially is yes.                                                                                                             
3:56:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI said his question  is whether an entity like the                                                               
RSLC would  have to  report within 24  hours of  the contribution                                                               
every  single donor  who has  donated  [$2,000 or  more] and  the                                                               
entity that  receives the contribution  would have to  know where                                                               
the  money is  coming from.  He said  he would  like to  have the                                                               
director  of APOC  online to  answer  that question  at a  future                                                               
CHAIR  SHOWER  questioned  whether Hans  Zigmund,  Department  of                                                               
Administration director  of the Division of  Finance could answer                                                               
the question.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGHES  replied the question  would be specific  to APOC.                                                               
She added  that each entity like  RSLC is keeping records  of the                                                               
contributions. If SB 43 passes,  entities such as RSLC would have                                                               
to transmit that  information when they transmit the  money to an                                                               
in-state campaign. She highlighted that  this would only apply to                                                               
those individuals who contribute $2,000 or more.                                                                                
3:58:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD  asked if she  worked on this issue  before this                                                               
SENATOR  HUGHES replied  she  began thinking  about  it over  the                                                               
summer and fall.                                                                                                                
3:59:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER held SB 43 in committee.                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 43 Sectional Analysis.pdf SSTA 2/2/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 43
3 SB 25 Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 4/20/2021 9:00:00 AM
SSTA 2/2/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 25
4 SB 25 Sectional.pdf SSTA 2/2/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 25
5 SB 25 Supporting Doc 1 Follow the Money 2018 Report.pdf SFIN 4/20/2021 9:00:00 AM
SSTA 2/2/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 25
6 SB 25 Supporting Doc 2 Historical 10-19 Reports Follow The Money.pdf SFIN 4/20/2021 9:00:00 AM
SSTA 2/2/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 25
7 SB 25 Supporting Doc 3 Online Checkbook Examples.pdf SFIN 4/20/2021 9:00:00 AM
SSTA 2/2/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 25
2 SB 25 Ver.A.PDF SSTA 2/2/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 25
ppt Presentation to Sen State Affairs Committee.pdf SSTA 2/2/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 25
Agenda SSTA 2.1.2021.pdf SSTA 2/2/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 43 Explanation of Changes from Version B to I.pdf SSTA 2/2/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 43
SB 43 CS Bill.pdf SSTA 2/2/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 43
SB 43 Fiscal Note 70.pdf SSTA 2/2/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 43
SB 43 Research Ballot Measure 2.pdf SSTA 2/2/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 43