CAMPAIGN FINANCE
82nd Legislative Session


HB 336 – School District Websites

Adds Election Code § 254.04011

HB 336 applies to school board trustees, candidates for school board trustees, and specific-purpose committees that support, oppose, or assist a candidate for or member of the board of trustees in a school district located wholly or partly in a municipality with a population of more than 500,000 and with a student enrollment of more than 15,000. The bill adds the provision that requires campaign finance reports filed by these school board members, candidates, and associated specific-purpose committees be posted on the school districtís Internet website. A report must be posted not later than the fifth business day after the date the report is filed. The bill applies only to the posting of a campaign finance report required to be filed on or after January 1, 2012.  Effective 09/01/11


HB 2359 – Direct Campaign Expenditures

Amends Election Code §§ 253.094, 254.036(b), 254.061
Adds Election Code Subchapter J, §§ 254.261, 254.262
Repeals Election Code §§ 253.002, 253.097, Subchapter C,§§ 253.061, 253.062, 253.063, and 254.036(f),

HB 2359 repeals the prohibition on direct campaign expenditures and clarifies the reporting requirements for direct campaign expenditures. The bill requires a person, not acting in concert with another person, who makes a direct campaign expenditure to file a campaign finance report to disclose the expenditure as if the person was the campaign treasurer of a general-purpose political committee. The bill provides that a candidate is not required to disclose a notice from such persons who make direct campaign expenditures on behalf of the candidate. A candidate, however, is still required to disclose a notice from political committees that make direct campaign expenditures on behalf of the candidate. The bill requires direct campaign expenditure reports be filed with the Texas Ethics Commission and requires the reports to be filed electronically unless the filer qualifies for the exemption from the electronic filing requirement.   Effective 06/17/11


HB 3093 – Semiannual Reports

Adds Election Code §§ 254.0405, 254.041(d)

HB 3093 applies to semiannual campaign finance reports filed by candidates, officeholders, specific-purpose committees, general-purpose committees, caucuses, and persons filing direct campaign expenditure reports as if they were a general-purpose committee. HB 3093 provides that a semiannual report that is amended before the eighth day after the date the original report was filed is considered to be filed on the date the original report was filed. The bill provides that a semiannual report that is amended on or after the eighth day of the original filing date is considered to be filed on the date the original report was filed if the amendment is filed before any complaint is filed with regard to the subject of the amendment and the original report was made in good faith and without an intent to mislead or misrepresent the information.Effective 09/01/11


SB 1(Special Session) – Political Contributions and Political Expenditures; Lobby Registration Fees; Complaint Procedures

Amends Election Code §§ 253.040(a), 254.031(a)
Adds Election Code §§ 253.0351(c)
Amends Government Code §§ 305.005(c), 571.123(b)
Adds Government Code §§ 572.054(g-1), 571.122(e), 571.1222, 571.1231

SB 1 provides that the Department of Information Resources is a regulatory agency for purposes of the revolving door restrictions in section 572.054 of the Government Code.

SB 1 increases the annual lobby registration fees for all registrants. For most registrants, the registration fee increases from $500 to $750. The bill also increases the registration fee from $50 to $75 for independent contractors required to register as lobbyists under the lobby law and from $100 to $150 for entities, and registrants employed by such entities, that are exempt from federal income tax under sections 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), or 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

SB 1 provides that a candidate or officeholder who deposits personal funds in an account in which political contributions are held shall report the deposited amount as a loan and include the amount in the total amount of political contributions maintained as of the last day of the reporting period. The bill also provides that the deposited amount may be reimbursed in an amount not to exceed the amount reported as a loan. The bill provides that personal funds deposited in an account in which political contributions are held are subject to the personal use restrictions in section 253.035 of the Election Code.

SB 1 changes the threshold triggering itemization of political expenditures from $50 to $100.

SB 1 requires the disclosure of any credit, interest, rebate, refund, reimbursement, or return of a deposit fee resulting from the use of a political contribution or asset purchased with a political contribution, if the amount exceeds $100. The bill also requires the disclosure of the sale of an asset and the disclosure of an investment purchased with a political contribution if the amount received exceeds $100. The bill also requires the disclosure of any other gains received from a political contribution, if the amount received exceeds $100. The new disclosure requirements will be reported on the Schedule K of the campaign finance report form, previously an optional schedule used for reporting credits.

SB 1 provides that it is not a valid basis of a complaint to allege that a campaign finance report contains the improper name or address of a contributor if the name or address in the report is the same as the name or address that appears on a check for the contribution. The bill also provides that the Commission shall dismiss a complaint to the extent that the complaint makes such an allegation.

SB 1 further provides that if the respondent is a candidate or officeholder the Commission must state in the notice of the complaint that is sent to the respondent that the respondent may designate an agent with whom Commission staff may discuss the complaint. Effective 09/28/11

Last Revision: July 22, 2011
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