HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO ELECTIONEERING COMMUNICATIONS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that democracy is best served when voters are informed about the sources of advertising seeking to influence their vote, and every citizen is afforded a reasonably equal opportunity to influence the outcome of each election.
The legislature further finds that candidate committees must publicly report the source of every donation and details of every expenditure, and have well established and reasonable limits on the amounts of any political donation a candidate may accept, which ensures citizens a reasonably equal opportunity to participate in supporting candidates and influencing elections.
However, in recent years the influence of noncandidate committees operating without meaningful transparency in the sources of their money and without limits on how much they can raise or spend has begun to reduce transparency and undermine any reasonably equal opportunity for citizens to participate in and influence elections.
The legislature further finds that logistical flaws in current electioneering communication laws mean an electioneering communication report must be filed for every single expenditure no matter how small, including one for every single envelope mailed, once spending an aggregate of $2,000.
Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to:
(1) Provide greater transparency and reporting requirements for noncandidate committees which currently allow some individuals to wield an unreasonable unequal influence on elections; and
(2) Streamline the reporting process for electioneering communications.
SECTION 2. Chapter 11, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part XIII to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§11- Electioneering communications; weekly reports. (a) Each person or noncandidate committee that publishes or publically distributes during the applicable reporting period an electioneering communication or communications from a single vendor costing an aggregate amount of more than $2,000 in one week shall file a report with the commission that includes:
(1) The aggregate dollar value of any communications first published or distributed that week and the vendor or vendors to whom the money was paid; and
(2) The value of each communication and the date on which the communication was published or distributed;
provided that if no electioneering communications were made costing an aggregate amount of more than $2,000 from a single vendor in one week, no report is required for that week; provided further that no report shall be due for the Sunday and Monday immediately preceding the Tuesday on which a general election is held.
(b) Reports required pursuant to this section shall be due by 4:00 p.m. on the Monday after the week covered by the report; provided that if the Monday after the week covered by the report is a state holiday, the report shall be due at 4:00 p.m. on the next weekday that is not a state holiday; provided further that for the final week before a Saturday on which a primary election is held, the report shall be due at 4:00 p.m. on the Friday preceding the primary election and the report shall cover the period from the preceding Sunday through the preceding Thursday.
(c) For the purposes of this section:
"Electioneering communication" means the same as defined in section 11-341.
"Reporting period" means the thirty days preceding a primary election or the sixty days preceding a general or special election.
"Week" means the period of time from 12:00 a.m. on Sunday until 11:59 p.m. on the following Saturday."
SECTION 3. Section 11-341, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
communications; statement of information.
(a) Each person [
noncandidate committee that makes an expenditure for electioneering
communications in an aggregate amount of more than $2,000 during any calendar
year shall file with the commission a statement of information within
twenty-four hours of each disclosure date provided in this section.
(b) Each statement of information shall contain the following:
(1) The name of the person
or noncandidate committee making the expenditure, name of any person or
entity sharing or exercising discretion or control over the person[
noncandidate committee, and the custodian of the books and accounts of the person
or noncandidate committee making the expenditure;
(2) The names and titles of the executives or board of directors who authorized the expenditure, if the expenditure was made by a noncandidate committee, business entity, or an organization;
(3) The state of incorporation or formation and principal address of the noncandidate committee, business entity, or organization or for an individual, the name, address, occupation, and employer of the individual making the expenditure;
(4) The amount of each expenditure during the period covered by the statement and the identification of the person to whom the expenditure was made;
(5) The elections to which the electioneering communications pertain and the names of any clearly identifiable candidates and whether those candidates are supported or opposed;
(6) If the expenditures were made by a candidate committee or noncandidate committee, the names and addresses of all persons who contributed to the candidate committee or noncandidate committee for the purpose of publishing or broadcasting the electioneering communications;
(7) If the expenditures were made by an organization other than a candidate committee or noncandidate committee, the names and addresses of all persons who contributed to the organization for the purpose of publishing or broadcasting the electioneering communications;
(8) Whether or not any electioneering communication is made in coordination, cooperation, or concert with or at the request or suggestion of any candidate, candidate committee, or noncandidate committee, or agent of any candidate if any, and if so, the identification of the candidate, candidate committee, or noncandidate committee, or agent involved; and
(9) The three top contributors as required under section 11-393, if applicable.
(c) An electioneering communication statement of information filed pursuant to this section shall be in addition to the filing of any other report required under this part.
(d) For purposes of this section:
"Disclosure date" means,
for every calendar year[
, the first date by which a person has made
expenditures during that same year of more than $2,000 in the aggregate for
electioneering communications, and the date of any subsequent expenditures by
that person for electioneering communications.]:
(1) The first date on which an electioneering communication is publicly distributed; provided that the person making the electioneering communication has made expenditures for electioneering communications of more than $2,000 in the aggregate during that same year; and
(2) Any other date on which an electioneering communication is publicly distributed during that same year; provided that the person making the electioneering communication has made expenditures for electioneering communications of more than $2,000 in the aggregate since the most recent disclosure date during that calendar year.
communication" means any advertisement that is broadcast from a cable,
satellite, television, or radio broadcast station; published in any periodical
or newspaper or by electronic means; or sent by mail [
at a bulk rate],
(1) Refers to a clearly identifiable candidate;
(2) Is made, or
scheduled to be made, [
either] within thirty days prior to a primary or initial
special election or within sixty days prior to a general or special election;
(3) Is not susceptible to any reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate.
"Electioneering communication" shall not include communications:
(1) In a news story or editorial disseminated by any broadcast station or publisher of periodicals or newspapers, unless the facilities are owned or controlled by a candidate, candidate committee, or noncandidate committee;
(2) That constitute
expenditures by the expending organization; (3)] (2) In house bulletins; or
(4)] (3) That constitute a candidate debate or forum,
or solely promote a debate or forum and are made by or on behalf of the person
sponsoring the debate or forum.
(e) For purposes of this section, a person shall
be treated as having made an expenditure if the person has executed a contract
to make the expenditure.]"
SECTION 4. Section 11-393, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
Identification of [ certain top] contributors to noncandidate
committees making only independent expenditures. (a)
An advertisement shall contain an additional notice in a prominent
location immediately after or below the notices required by section 11-391, if
the advertisement is broadcast, televised, circulated, or published, including
by electronic means, and is paid for by a noncandidate committee that certifies
to the commission that it makes only independent expenditures. This additional notice shall start with the
words, "The three top contributors to the noncandidate committee that
paid for this advertisement are", followed by the names of the three
top contributors[ , as defined in subsection (e),] who made the highest
aggregate contributions to the noncandidate committee [ for the purpose of
funding the advertisement]; provided that:
(1) If a noncandidate
committee is only able to identify two top contributors who made contributions [
the purpose of funding the advertisement,] to the noncandidate
committee, the additional notice shall start with the words, "The two
top contributors to the noncandidate committee that paid for this
advertisement are", followed by the names of the two top contributors; and
(2) If a noncandidate
committee is able to identify only one top contributor who made contributions [
the purpose of funding the advertisement,] to the noncandidate
committee, the additional notice shall start with the words, "The top
contributor to the noncandidate committee that paid for this
advertisement is", followed by the name of the top contributor[ ; (3) If a
noncandidate committee is unable to identify any top contributors who made
contributions for the purpose of funding the advertisement, the additional
notice shall start with the words, "The three top contributors for this
noncandidate committee are", followed by the names of the three top
contributors who made the highest aggregate contributions to the noncandidate
committee; and (4) If there are no
top contributors to the noncandidate committee, the noncandidate committee
shall not be subject to this section].
In no case shall a noncandidate committee be
required to identify more than three top contributors pursuant to this section.
If a noncandidate committee has more than three top contributors who
contributed in equal amounts, the noncandidate committee may select which of
the top contributors to identify in the advertisement; provided that the top
contributors not identified in the advertisement did not make a higher
aggregate contribution than those top contributors who are identified in the
advertisement. The additional notice
required for noncandidate committees described under this subsection shall
start with the words "Three of the top contributors to the noncandidate
committee that paid for this advertisement are" [
or "Three of
the top contributors to this noncandidate committee are", as appropriate],
followed by the names of the three top contributors.
(c) This section shall not apply to advertisements broadcast by radio or television of such short duration that including a list of top contributors in the advertisement would constitute a hardship to the noncandidate committee paying for the advertisement. A noncandidate committee shall be subject to all other requirements under this part regardless of whether a hardship exists pursuant to this subsection. The commission shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 to establish criteria to determine when including a list of top contributors in an advertisement of short duration constitutes a hardship to a noncandidate committee under this subsection.
(d) Any noncandidate committee that violates this section shall be subject to a fine under section 11-410.
(e) For purposes of this part, "top
contributor" means a contributor who has contributed an aggregate amount
of $10,000 or more to a noncandidate committee within a twelve-month period
prior to the purchase of an advertisement.]"
SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on March 15, 2094.
Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission Package; Electioneering Communication; Disclosure Dates
Requires all persons and committees that make electioneering communication expenditures to a single vendor of more than $2,000 in aggregate within one week to file a report with the Campaign Spending Commission within thirty days of a primary election or sixty days of a general or special election. Amends the definition of "disclosure date" to mean the date when the electioneering communication is publicly distributed. Expands the definition of "electioneering communication" in section 11‑341(d), HRS, to apply to advertisements: (1) sent by any mail rate; and (2) that are expenditures of an organization. Repeals section 11‑341(e), HRS. Requires any advertisement by a noncandidate committee that makes only independent expenditures to disclose its top three contributors. Effective 3/15/2094. (SD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.