Call to Order and Roll Call
The4th meeting of the Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs of the Interim Joint Committee on State Government was held on Tuesday, November 26, 2013, at 1:00 PM, in Room 171 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Darryl T. Owens, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Representative Darryl T. Owens, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., Christian McDaniel, Morgan McGarvey, Albert Robinson, and Damon Thayer; Representatives Kevin D. Bratcher, Larry Clark, Joseph M. Fischer, Derrick Graham, Mike Harmon, Mary Lou Marzian, and Bart Rowland.
Guests: Emily Dennis, General Counsel, Registry of Election Finance.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the October 22, 2013 meeting were approved without objection, upon motion by Representative Clark and second by Representative Harmon.
Campaign Finance Initiative for the 2014 Regular Session
The task force discussed the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance’s 2014 legislative initiative to create a single threshold for campaign finance report requirements. Emily Dennis, General Counsel, testified that, under the current campaign finance law, candidates are subject to a confusing dual threshold system for campaign finance reporting based on the level of money they intend to raise and spend, which a candidate selects at the time he or she registers a campaign account. The dual threshold system results in three separate options for candidates: (1) those who will raise or spend $1,000 or less are not required to file any campaign finance reports; (2) those who will raise or spend between $1,000 and $3,000 are required to file only post-election reports; and (3) those who will raise or spend more than $3,000 are required to file all pre-election and post-election campaign finance reports.
Ms. Dennis said the dual threshold for reporting is time consuming for the agency to explain, costly to administer, and confusing for candidates. The issue has been considered by the General Assembly in past sessions, most recently in 2013 HB 369, which proposed establishing a single $5,000 threshold for mandatory campaign finance reporting based on the recommendations of a 2005 advisory task force on campaign finance. Ms. Dennis said there may have been concern that the $5,000 threshold in HB 369 was too high and could result in too many small campaigns not having to file any reports.
Ms. Dennis said that the registry is working on its 2014 legislative initiative, which will propose a single $3,000 threshold for campaign finance reporting. Under the proposal, candidates who raise or spend more than $3,000 will be required to file all pre-election and post-election reports for a given election, and those candidates who raise or spend $3,000 or less will not be required to report.
Several members voiced their opinions, with a particular concern being the timing of instituting a reporting change during an election year.
The business concluded, and the meeting was adjourned at 2:15 p.m.