Bill Text - HB828 (2007)

(2nd New Title) relative to corrupt practices as defined in RSA 640 and state reporting requirements for gifts, honorariums, and expenses.


Revision: Jan. 11, 2010, midnight

CHAPTER 354

HB 828-FN – FINAL VERSION

27Mar2007… 0822h

06/06/07 1693s

06/06/07 2065s

27Jun2007… 2226cofc

27Jun2007… 2388eba

2007 SESSION

07-0009

05/03

HOUSE BILL 828-FN

AN ACT relative to corrupt practices as defined in RSA 640 and state reporting requirements for gifts, honorariums, and expenses.

SPONSORS: Rep. Splaine, Rock 16

COMMITTEE: Executive Departments and Administration

AMENDED ANALYSIS

This bill:

I. Exempts certain campaign contributions, gifts, and expense reimbursements from the scope of RSA 640, relative to corrupt practices.

II. Makes various changes to RSA 15-B, relative to gifts, honorariums, and expenses.

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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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

27Mar2007… 0822h

06/06/07 1693s

06/06/07 2065s

27Jun2007… 2226cofc

27Jun2007… 2388eba

07-0009

05/03

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Seven

AN ACT relative to corrupt practices as defined in RSA 640 and state reporting requirements for gifts, honorariums, and expenses.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

354:1 Corrupt Practices; Scope of Chapter. Amend RSA 640:1 to read as follows:

640:1 Scope of Chapter. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the giving or receiving of campaign contributions made for the purpose of defraying the costs of a political campaign, or the giving or receiving of any other thing exempt from the prohibition on gifts pursuant to RSA 15-B. No person shall be convicted of an offense solely on the evidence that a campaign contribution, or any other thing exempt from the prohibition on gifts pursuant to RSA 15-B was made to a public official, and that a vote, an appointment, or a nomination was subsequently made by the person to whose campaign or political party the contribution was made or who received the thing exempt from the prohibition on gifts pursuant to RSA 15-B.

354:2 Definition of Expense Reimbursement and Gift. Amend RSA 15-B:2, IV and V to read as follows:

IV. “Expense reimbursement” shall mean [payment] any price, charge, fee, expense, or other cost which is waived, forgiven, reduced, prepaid, or reimbursed in any form [as prepayment, underwriting, or reimbursement of] for the reasonable expenses of attendance, registration, travel, meals, or lodging related to a bona fide [informational or educational] conference, [seminar, or] meeting, seminar or educational or informational program, when the source of such reimbursement is other than the state, a county, or the United States of America.

V.(a) “Gift” means:

[(a)] (1) Money in any amount, whether in the form of cash, check or any other negotiable or non-negotiable instrumentality for the transfer of money.

[(b)] (2) Any other tangible thing, intangible thing, service, or the use thereof having more than insignificant economic value. Any such item with a value of less than [$10] $25 is presumed to be of insignificant economic value.

[(c)] (b) Notwithstanding [subparagraphs (a) and (b)] subparagraph (a), “gift” shall not include:

(1) A political contribution as defined in RSA 664.

(2) A commercially reasonable loan, made in the ordinary course of business.

(3) Repayment to an elected official, public official, public employee, constitutional official, or legislative employee of a bona fide loan made by such a person.

(4) A ceremonial [object or] plaque, award, [the value of which is primarily personal] or other commemorative object, which is personally inscribed to the recipient and which has inconsequential economic value. A ceremonial object or award with a value of [$50] $150 or less is presumed to be of inconsequential economic value.

(5) Objects which primarily serve an informational purpose provided in the ordinary course of business, such as reports, books, maps, or charts.

(6) Money in any form, an object, or [an] any tangible or intangible thing of economic value, where the donor’s act of giving is purely private and personal in nature and the money, object, or [intangible] thing of economic value would have been given and received even if the person were not an elected official, public official, public employee, constitutional official, or legislative employee.

(7) Wages, salary, benefits, mileage, or payment for expenses received by the person in his or her regular course of employment or business which is unrelated to the government position held.

(8) Wages, salary, benefits, mileage, or payment for expenses paid to the person by the state, a county, or the United States of America related to performance of official duties.

(9) Tickets or free admission to a charitable, ceremonial, or political event provided that:

(A) The proceeds of the event are subject to the political contributions and expenditure reporting law, RSA 664; or

(B) The event is sponsored by a charitable organization that is registered with the division of charitable trusts, department of justice, or which is a charitable organization pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code; or

(C) The event is published as an event open for attendance by any member of the general court in the calendar of the senate or the house.

(10) Meals, beverages, lodging, or transportation associated with attendance at:

(A) Any event for which the primary significance is ceremonial or celebratory, provided the event is public or, if by invitation only, is planned to have an attendance greater than 50 people; or

(B) Any event where the person is attending in an official capacity representing the state and/or the senate, house, or the agency of which the person is a member.

(11) Expense reimbursement or an honorarium.

(12) Meals and beverages consumed [in the course of] at a meeting or event, the purpose of which is to discuss official business.

354:3 Definition of Honorarium. RSA 15-B:2, VI is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

VI. “Honorarium” means a payment in any form to an elected official, public official, public employee, constitutional official, or legislative employee for an appearance, speech, written article or other document, service as a consultant or advisor, or participation in a discussion group or similar activities. Honorarium does not include a payment for such activities for which the person is being compensated by the state, a county, the United States of America, or by any other employer or client, where the activity giving rise to the honorarium is not related to or associated with any public office or government employment.

354:4 New Paragraph; Definition of Official Business Added. Amend RSA 15-B:2 by inserting after paragraph VIII the following new paragraph:

VIII-a. “Official business” means, for elected members of the general court and legislative employees, the discussion or transaction of legislative business, namely, any official action or non-action with regard to any potential pending or existing bill, resolution, amendment, report, or study, any other matter pending or proposed in a committee or in either house of the general court, or an issue of public policy which is or may be the subject of legislative attention, or any other matter which is within the official jurisdiction or cognizance of the general court.

354:5 Expense Reimbursement. Amend RSA 15-B:5 to read as follows:

15-B:5 Expense Reimbursement. An elected official, public official, public employee, constitutional official, or legislative employee may accept expense reimbursement for the reasonable expenses for [food] attendance, registration, travel, meals, and lodging for a bona fide conference, meeting, seminar, or educational or informational program which the person attends and that is related to the office, position, or employment held with the state or county, provided that the person attaches to the disclosure report a copy of the agenda or an equivalent document which discloses the subjects addressed and the time schedule of all activities at the event. This provision shall not be construed to require reporting of [a prepayment, underwriting, or] an expense reimbursement made by an organization to which the state or county pays dues, when the prepayment, underwriting or reimbursement is provided because of the dues paid.

354:6 Duty to Report. Amend RSA 15-B:6 to read as follows:

15-B:6 Duty to Report.

I. An elected official, public official, public employee, or legislative employee who receives an, honorarium or expense reimbursement shall file a report with the secretary of state no later than the last day of the month following the month during which the [gift], honorarium[,] or expense reimbursement was received.

II. An elected member of the general court or legislative employee who consumes meals or beverages with a value of greater than $25 at a meeting or event pertaining to official business pursuant to RSA 15-B:2, V(b)(12) shall file a report with the secretary of state no later than 10 days following the meeting or event at which the meals or beverages were consumed, which report shall be established by the secretary of state, shall be public, and shall contain the same information and affirmations required under RSA 15-B:7.

354:7 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

Approved: July 17, 2007

Effective: September 15, 2007

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