HB 712-FN – AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 712-FN
This bill broadens the applicability of the statute prohibiting certain electioneering by public employees. The bill also inserts a new definition of public employee into the statute and adds elected officials to the persons covered by the prohibition.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Five
AN ACT relative to electioneering.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Electioneering by Public Employees and Elected Officials. Amend RSA 659:44-a to read as follows:
659:44-a Electioneering by Public Employees and Elected Officials. No public employee or elected official[
, as defined in RSA 273-A:1, IX,] shall electioneer while in the performance of his or her official duties or use government property, including, but not limited to, telephones, facsimile machines, vehicles, and computers, for electioneering. For the purposes of this section, “public employee” means any full-time or part-time employee of any state, county, municipal, or other local government and "electioneer" means to act in any way specifically designed to influence the vote of a voter on any question or office. Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2006.
HB 712-FN - FISCAL NOTE
AN ACT relative to electioneering.
The Judicial Branch, Judicial Council, Department of Justice, and Association of Counties state this bill may increase state and county expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2006 and each year thereafter. This bill will have no fiscal impact on state, county, and local revenue or local expenditures.
The Judicial Branch states this bill broadens the applicability of statute prohibiting certain electioneering by public employees, and adds elected officials to the persons covered by the prohibition. Violation of the proposed section is an unspecified misdemeanor. The Branch is unable to predict the number of prosecutions that will be brought pursuant to the proposed statute. Historically there have been few, if any, cases brought under the statute. However, the Branch states the nature of the cases is likely to generate publicity adding to the potential cost. The Branch is unable to determine the exact fiscal impact at this time.
The Judicial Council assumes that any cases arising from the enactment of this bill for which the Indigent Defense Fund may be liable will, in the first instance, be handled by the public defender or a contract attorney who accepts these cases on a fixed fee basis of $250 per misdemeanor charged. If an assigned counsel attorney must be used, the hourly rate of $60 with a fee cap of $1,000 will apply. If a motion to exceed the fee cap is approved and/or “services other than counsel” are approved, these will also be chargeable to the Indigent Defense Fund. Any charge within the criminal justice system, committed by a juvenile, will be compensated within the flat fee contract system of $250 per case through disposition, plus $187.50 for each and every review hearing following disposition. Assigned counsel will be at the $60 per hour rate with a fee cap of $1,200. The fee cap may be waived upon motion filed with the court and approved in advance. Any case where a defendant has been found guilty may also result in appeals to either the superior court or to the supreme court which would have a cost implication for indigent defense expenditures made by the State. The Council is unable to predict the number of cases which may result from the passage of this bill, and are unable to determine the exact fiscal impact at this time.
The Department of Justice states this bill may increase the number of investigations pertaining to electioneering violations pursuant to RSA 659:44-a. The Department cannot estimate the number of violations that will result, and are unable to determine the exact fiscal impact at this time.
The Association of Counties states this bill expands an existing misdemeanor. The Association states to the extent individuals are prosecuted, the county may incur the cost of pre-trial detainment at the county department of corrections, as well as the cost of sentenced inmates under the new law. The average annual cost for counties to incarcerate inmates is $21,633.55. The Association states the total exposure to the counties would be dependent on the number of individuals convicted and sentenced under the new law, which cannot be determined at this time.
The Department of State states this bill will have no fiscal impact on their Department.
The New Hampshire Municipal Association state this bill will have no fiscal impact on local revenue or expenditures.