LWVAL logo Disclosure in Political Advertising
Citizens have a right to know about sources of influence on candidates.
| Legislation to watch | About the legislation | LWVAL's position | Progress of the legislation | LWVAL action |

Legislation to watch in 2007

HB118 Substitute 88434-2 - Sponsored by Representatives Hinshaw, Guin, Irons, Curtis, Robinson (J), White, Letson, Dukes, Schmitz, Todd, Graham, Morrow, Boyd, Dunn, Coleman, Robinson (O), Keahey, McCampbell, Thomas (J), Jackson, Thigpen, Boothe, Page, Harper, Ford, England, Sherer, Baker (L), Spicer and McLaughlin.

About the legislation

Bill Synopsis

From the bill:  Under existing law, paid political advertising must contain the identification of the person, principal campaign committee, or other political action committee that paid for or otherwise authorized the advertising.

This bill would provide that electioneering communications and paid political advertisements paid for by an organization or entity shall disclose the names of the source of the funding of the organization or entity.

Fiscal Impact

"House Bill 118 as amended by the Committee on Constitution and Elections will not directly affect state or local funding." -- Fiscal Note of Rep. Randy Hinshaw, Chair, House Committee on Constitution and Elections, 3/7/07.

LWVAL's Position

Citizens have a right to know about sources of funding for political advertising. This advertising influences public opinion about issue referendums (including referendums on constitutional amendments) and candidate elections. It also influences public opinion and advocacy efforts for or against pending legislation in the State House.

The state League's position on Campaign Finance Reform states, "The League of Women Voters of Alabama believes that the methods of financing campaigns should ensure the public's right to know, combat corruption and undue influence, enable candidates to compete more equitably for public office, and allow maximum citizen participation in the political process."

The LWVAL Advocacy Team is in the process of reviewing HB118 Substitute 88434-2 in light of League positions.

Progress of the Legislation

Wed., 3//7/07, HB118 Substitute was considered by the House Committee on Constitution and Elections chaired by Rep. Randy Hinshaw (D, Madison).  

Summary of C & E Committee discussion on 3/7/07
Hinshaw passed around an attorney general's opinion that under current law if you don't have "elect", or "vote for", or "vote against" etc. on campaign material, the campaign committee does not have to be disclosed.  For example, now you can have a sign in the yard with just the candidate's name and you don't have to disclose the source of funding for the sign. Or, a sign that says "No" and the candidate's name requires no disclosure.  HB118 would mandate disclosure of the source of campaign material.   Hinshaw's bill does not, however, cover trade groups and how they communicate with their members.  It also excludes referenda.  It also establishes a $1000 threshold for the law to take effect.  If a group spends less than $1000, then they are not covered.  So, local flyers distributed "throw & go" in yards that do not cost over $1000 are excluded under Hinshaw's bill.  He said this exclusion was necessary to provide private citizens with a mode of regress.

HB118 with one substitution passed out of C & E committee with a favorable report on 3/7/07. 

On 3/22/07 HB118 substitute 88434-2 was passed by the House 105-0. It was engrossed, read for the first time in the Senate, and assigned to the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs.

HB118 Substitute 88434-2 was amended and passed out of Senate GA Committee with a favorabel report 10-0 on 4/11/07. The Senate has not considered the bill as of 5/21/07.

LWVAL Action

[Review of activity on this issue in 2006:  Ad disclosure was an issue that received no attention by either house during the 2006 General Session. Bills were introduced in both the House and Senate (HB90, HB113/SB123). LWVAL supported these bills as it did similar legislation in 2005. However, none of these bills were considered by their respective committees in 2006, and seeing no opportunity for affective advocacy, the League took no action.]

The LWVAL Advocacy Team is in the process of reviewing HB118 Substitute 88434-2 in light of League positions.

READ HB118 Substitute  88434-2

READ HB118 Substitute  88434-2 Amendments

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