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2016 House Bill 5219: Permit local tax hike electioneering if "reasonable"
Introduced by Rep. Lisa Lyons (R) on January 14, 2016
To revise a 2015 law that prohibits local governments and school district communications from referencing in a taxpayer-funded communication their own property tax hike or other ballot measures during the 60 days before the election. The bill would create exceptions for communications containing the actual ballot question language and election date, and also permit discussions of the measure during broadcast meetings of a public body if “both proponents and opponents have an equal opportunity to discuss” it.   Official Text and Analysis.
Referred to the House Elections Committee on January 14, 2016
Which added the contents of House Bill 5249 to the text of this bill. HB 5249 repeals the existing 60 day pre-election ban on tax-funded communications that promote a tax increase or other local initiative, as long as a state official does not decree that the claims in the communication can be "reasonably" interpreted as an attempt to influence the outcome of the vote.
Amendment offered by Rep. Jeff Irwin (D) on February 9, 2016
To clarify which rules apply to which communications.
The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on February 9, 2016
Amendment offered by Rep. Jeff Irwin (D) on February 9, 2016
To delete a proposed requirement that government electioneering be "strictly neutral".
The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on February 9, 2016
Amendment offered by Rep. Jeff Farrington (R) on February 9, 2016
To delete a provision prohibiting government electioneering, if a judge or state elections official agrees can be "reasonably interpreted" as "an attempt to influence the outcome".
The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on February 9, 2016
Amendment offered by Rep. Lisa Lyons (R) on February 23, 2016
To revise the penalties, removing criminal sanctions on local officials who violate the revised law's provisions, and increasing the monetary fine on local governments that do.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on February 23, 2016
Amendment offered by Rep. Lisa Lyons (R) on February 23, 2016
To not require claims of a measure's purpose and possible effects in tax funded ballot issue communications to be "strictly neutral," but just "neutral".
The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on February 23, 2016
To repeal the prohibition established by a 2015 law on governments and school district communications referencing their own property tax hike or other ballot measures in a taxpayer-funded communication during the 60 days before the election. The bill instead would permit mailings and other communications with “factual and neutral information concerning the purpose or direct impact” of a proposal, as long as a judge or state elections bureau official has not decreed that their language can be “reasonably be interpreted as an attempt to influence the outcome".
Received in the Senate on February 24, 2016
Referred to the Senate Elections and Government Reform Committee on February 24, 2016

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