Senate’s finance bill heads to House

Published 10:28 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2017

S.B. 2689 prohibits campaign funds for personal use.

Several bills that passed the Senate last week will head to the House for review and vote, while a few others died in in the Senate chamber, District 39 Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, said.

“This campaign reform measure is in all likelihood the most important legislation I will every handle in the Senate,” said Doty, who is chair of the Senate Elections Committee.

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The bill passed unanimously Wednesday with nearly no debate and several lawmakers asked to be added as co-authors of the measure.

The House on Jan. 11 passed a similar measure authored by House Speaker Philip Gunn on a vote of 104-12. The biggest difference between Doty’s bill and Gunn’s is that the Senate version would leave oversight of campaign finances with the secretary of state’s office. The House version would give enforcement of campaign finance laws to the state Ethics Committee, which in recent years was given similar authority over public records and open meetings laws.

The Senate bill also lacks a provision to require candidates to itemize campaign spending with a credit card. Law currently requires candidates to itemize any expenditures of $200 or more. However, some politicians get around this requirement by using a credit card to make purchases and then reporting only the payment to the credit card company on their campaign reports.

• S.B. 2707 amends the Election Code by removing the requirement for full-time college students to get their absentee ballots notarized.

• S.B. 2687 enables absentee voters to have the option to vote on a machine in the circuit clerk’s office, which will cut down on technical errors and cause less ballots to be thrown out.

• S.B. 2907 imposes penalties for a person who posts intimate photos of another person without their explicit consent, when done in retaliation (sextortion and revenge porn). 

• S.B. 2703 amends the grounds for divorce to include “spousal domestic abuse.”

The deadline for bills to come out of committee is Feb. 28. “We will not have much floor action for the next two weeks, as committees will be meeting to determine the fate of House bills that have been sent to the Senate,” she said.

Sally Doty

Sally Doty