In less than an hour the North Dakota House voted on ten bills related to voting, campaigns and legislative ethics.
I’m glad Republicans voted in tougher voter ID laws, and voted to move up campaign disclosure dates, but I think they may have made a real mistake in not approving at least a couple of these Democrat transparency bills. As I’ve written previously, some of their bills were bad and would do more to facilitate political point scoring than promote ethics and transparency, but the bills requiring additional disclosures of campaign financing from legislative and statewide campaigns?
Those were good, common sense bills. Democrats are going to make ethics the theme of their 2014 campaigns, and you can bet they’ll be pointing to the votes cast today when they do. Republicans would be in a better position, politically, if they were on the record having passed a few of these bills. Not to mention the fact that they were good bills promoting sound policy.
Here are the two bills that passed.
HB1332,which passed on a 72-21 vote, strengthens North Dakota’s voter ID requirement.
HB1447, which passed on a 87-6 vote, requires local and legislative candidates to report campaign contributions 32 days before the election instead of the current 12 and also requires that the reports be filed electronically.
Here are the eight bills that failed:
HB1400, which failed on a 13-80 vote, would have cut down the number of early voting days from 15 to 8.
HB1418, which failed on a 5-88 vote, would have changed the laws surrounding the challenging of votes. This was deemed unnecessary due to the changes in HB1332 which passed.
HB1275, which failed on a 1-92 vote, was the same sort of bill as 1418 and was also deemed unnecessary due to HB1332.
HB1430, which failed on a 25-67 vote, would have required that independent political groups report contributions and expenditures.
HB1436, which failed on a 24-69 vote, would had expanded the campaign contribution reporting requirements of statewide candidates to legislative candidates.
HB1449, which failed on a 21-72 vote, would have required that both statewide and legislative candidates report campaign expenditures.
HB1444, which failed on a 22-71 vote, would have required that legislators getting reimbursed for trips to conferences and the like disclose those reimbursements.
HB1442, which failed on a 22-71 vote, would have created a statewide ethics committee comprised of members of all three branches of government.
Here’s the video of the floor debate: