Limits Index: Average of State Integrity Investigation indicators 14-25
|State||Limits Index score||Relative Performance in 2015 SII||Change Since 2015?||What Changed?||Description of Change||Link|
|Arizona||56||↘||SB 1516 is a sweeping campaign finance bill that INCREASES the amount of "dark money" allowed in AZ elections: it removes the financial limit on that an individual can spend on a party thrown for a candidate; it allows candidates to transfer unlimited money amongst themselves; and it repeals all criminal provisions in the campaign finance law (though the sponsor promises to add these provisions back next year). It also renames "Super PACs" and "Mega PACs." The bill maintains current contribution limits.The limit will increase by $100 every other year.|
|California||50||↗||SB 254; AB 1544||SB 254 will place a measure on the November 2016 general election ballot that would call on California to ratify an amendment to the U.S. constitution overturning Citizen's United.|
AB 1544 modifies language surrounding behested payments. In California, payments made at the behest of candidates for office are considered campaign contributions. (For example, if a state officer asks a company to pay for airfare for people testifying at a hearing). This bill clarifies that a payment made by a federal, state or local government agency for a legislative or governmental purpose is not a campaign contribution and thus isn't subject to behested payment reporting laws.
|Connecticut||69||↘||HB 5612||CT law prohibits incumbents from using public funds in campaigns for office. HB 5612 creates an exemption stating that candidate activity with the Council of State Governments does not violate this prohibition.|
|Kentucky||90||↘||Lawsuit & regulatory change||3/31/16: A federal judge ruled that Kentucky's ban on political contributions from corporations was unconstitutional because the state did not ban contributions from labor unions, thus violating the equal protection clause. In response, in April, the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance retained the ban on corporate contributions but also banned unions from donating. But it also began allowing corporations to create political action committees and pay their administrative expenses from corporate cash.|
|Maryland||52||↗||HB 241; HB 963||HB 241 modifies current law to change how the State Board of Elections can penalize officials who violate a provision that bans fundraising during the General Assembly session: the SBE may impose a civil fine of $1,000 (in addition to the amount of the donation) instead of taking a civil action in court. The SBE can reduce the fine based on the severity of the violation and the intent of the donor. |
HB 963 updates existing law to require that political groups created to support or defeat ballot measures be subject to state campaign finance law.
|Michigan||44||↘||SB 571||SB 571 doubles the maximum PAC donation from $68,000 to $136,000 for statewide campaigns. This provision was added in a last-minute amendment that many legislators who voted for the bill were not even aware of, according to the Detroit Free Press. (See subsection 12 of the bill text -- the $68,000 limit doesn't apply to PAC expenditures for state wide races that are "part of 1 or more bundled contributions.")|
|New York||58||↗||Opinion from Governor's Legal Counsel||Governor Andrew Cuomo's Legal Counsel issued the two page memo to enforcement agencies as part of Cuomo's last minute attempt to get movement on campaign finance reform before the end of this legislative session. The memo seeks to reinforce current law to curb violations by clarifying when candidates and independent groups cannot coordinate. Cuomo also pledged to introduce legislation to this effect before the session ended, but that bill (SB 6411) never saw any activity. Given that Cuomo announced that he would push for reform in January, but did not release this opinion until June, activicts questioned his level of devotion to this issue.|
|North Carolina||67||↘||HB 373; Sweepstakes Case||HB 373 allows the party caucuses in the North Carolina legislature to set up affiliated party committees to advocate for the re-election of their members. These committees are subject to the same rules as political parties, meaning they can take contributions from lobbyists and corporations ("if the funds are segregated") with no limit.|
7/15/15: a state investigation found that $270,000 in donations from Chase Burns (an Oklahoma man who made a fortune from his sweepstakes company) didn't violate the law against corporate contributions because the money came from Burns' personal bank account. But given that the money in that account was transferred from Burns' corporate account, activists criticized the ruling.
Bill summary / analysis:
Bill text: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2015/Bills/House/HTML/H373v5.html
|Pennsylvania||13||↘||AG used campaign funds to pay legal defense for criminal charges||2/12/16: Attorney General Kathleen Kane used nearly $300,000 in campaign funds in 2015 to pay public relations and legal fees when she was accused of leaking grand jury information. The law is "vague" on whether this use of campaign funds is legal.|
|South Dakota||31||↗||HB 1099||HB 1099 makes a change to current law clarifying that counties/towns/districts/municipalities that are not covered by state campaign finance law can apply those laws to county and municipal elections.|
|Tennessee||56||→||Contribution limits increased - but based on existing law the limit is chained to CPI||The 2015/2016 contribution limits (posted to the Bureau of Ethics/Campaign finance website in Sept. 2015) increased over the 2013/2014 limits|
|Utah||19||↗||HB 95; HB 290||HB 95 expands the definition of a group that does NOT qualify as a political issues committee to include groups that were created to support 1 single issue/ballot measure/action (previously the law only stated that groups created to *oppose* a single issue were exempt). |
HB 158 restricts candidates/officials from local school boards and county offices from spending money in campaign-related bank accounts for personal use.
|Wisconsin||38||↘||AB 387||AB 387 repeals and replaces pre-existing campaign finance law. It creates an "event based" reporting structure for express advocacy made within 60 days of the election, which is in addition to an ongoing reporting structure. It restricts corporations, labor unions, and tribes from donating to PACs, but allows them to donate to legislative campaign committees ($12,000), political parties ($12,000), and independent expenditure committees (IECs) (unlimited). It raises the threshold for when certain committees are required to register with the state. It generally increases contribution limits, often doubling them. (For example, individual contribution limits to gubernatorial campaigns had been $10,000 - now it's $20,000).|
Old contribution limits: http://elections.state.wi.us/docview.asp?docid=18185
State analysis of the bill: http://www.gab.wi.gov/node/37814
Bill text: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/related/proposals/ab387