HB 1773-FN-A - AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 1773-FN-A
AN ACT relative to campaign contributions and expenditures.
SPONSORS: Rep. Cushing, Rock. 21; Rep. Myler, Merr. 10; Rep. Horn, Merr. 2; Rep. Read, Rock. 17; Rep. Somssich, Rock. 27; Rep. Porter, Hills. 1; Rep. Murray, Rock. 24; Sen. Innis, Dist 24; Sen. Hennessey, Dist 5; Sen. Fuller Clark, Dist 21
COMMITTEE: Election Law
This bill establishes a fund to provide campaign financing for eligible candidates for governor, councilor, and state senator. The bill also establishes a clean elections board and a clean elections enforcement unit to administer the fund and enforce campaign finance laws.
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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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.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 Eighteen
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
(340) Moneys deposited in the New Hampshire clean elections fund established in RSA 664-A:2.
I. Upon receipt of a signed written complaint, or upon his or her own motion, the attorney general may in his or her discretion, conduct investigations to determine whether any violation of the election laws has occurred and may prosecute anyone responsible for such a violation. In conducting an investigation under this section the attorney general may enlist the aid of the county attorneys, the state police, and other public officers. In the exercise of his or her powers and duties under this section, the attorney general may hold hearings and require the attendance of individuals by the use of subpoena and may require the production of books, documents, records, and other tangible goods by use of subpoena duces tecum. Any testimony required by the attorney general at a hearing which he or she is empowered to hold under this section shall be given under oath. The attorney general shall maintain records of complaints and investigations of alleged violations of the election laws. However, the clean elections board shall maintain primary authority to enforce and administer RSA 664 and RSA 664-A; investigations regarding violations of those chapters shall only be undertaken by the attorney general pursuant to RSA 664:18.
VIII. "Contribution'' shall mean a payment, gift, subscription, assessment, contract, payment for services, dues advance, forbearance, or loan to a candidate or political committee made for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of any candidate. "Contributions'' shall include the use of any thing of value but shall not include the services of volunteers who receive no pay therefor or the use of personal resources by a candidate on behalf of his or her candidacy. “Contribution” also means any expenditure made for the purpose of promoting the success or defeat of a candidate that has been coordinated with a candidate, as defined in paragraph XXIII and means any expenditure made in connection with the nomination for election or election of any candidate or any communication which republishes, disseminates, or distributes, in whole or in part, any video, audio, written, or other campaign-related material prepared by the candidate or committee or by agents of the candidate or committee, including but not limited to audio recordings or video footage. A candidate shall not be considered to have received such a contribution if the person or entity making the expenditure does not obtain the communication or materials from the candidate’s campaign or from another source with the consent of the candidate’s campaign. For purposes of this paragraph, a candidate has provided consent if the candidate provides material to a third party for the purpose of enabling another person to obtain the communication or material from that third party.
XI. "Independent expenditures'' means expenditures that pay for the development and distribution of a communication that [expressly] advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or candidates or the success or defeat of a measure or measures, which are made without cooperation or consultation with any candidate, or any authorized committee or agent of such candidate, and which are not made in concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate, or any authorized committee or agent of such candidate and are not contributions.
XXIII. An expenditure is “coordinated” if it is authorized, requested, suggested, or fostered by a candidate, authorized committee of a candidate, or agents of the candidate or committee, or made in cooperation with the a candidate, committee, or agents of the candidate or committee. An expenditure is also coordinated if the person or entity making the expenditure:
(a) And the candidate or the candidate’s authorized committee retain the same individual or entity to provide professional campaign services during the same election cycle. The term “professional campaign services” does not include accounting, legal services, or other nonstrategic services.
(b) Is established, directed, or managed by any person who, during the 2-year period before the general election or 2-year period before any primary or special election in which the candidate stands for nomination, (1) has been employed or retained as a political, media, or fundraising adviser or consultant for the candidate or any entity directly or indirectly controlled by the candidate, or (2) has held a formal position with a title for the candidate or any entity directly or indirectly controlled by the candidate.
(c) Is a member of the candidate’s immediate family or is established, directed, or managed by a member of the immediate family of the candidate. The term “immediate family” means the candidate’s spouse, and any child, parent, grandparent, brother, half-brother, sister, or half-sister of the candidate, and the spouses of such persons.
(d) Is directly or indirectly formed or established by or at the request or suggestion of, or with the encouragement of, the candidate or the candidate’s authorized committee, or agents of the candidate or committee, including with the express or tacit approval of the candidate or committee or agents of the candidate or committee.
(e) Is assisted in fundraising or strategy by the candidate or the candidate’s authorized committee or agents of the candidate or committee, including by providing the person with names of potential donors or other lists to be used by the person in engaging in fundraising activity, regardless of whether the person pays fair market value for the names or lists provided.
(f) Has participated in strategic or policymaking discussions with the candidate regarding the pursuit of nomination or election to office during the 6-month period before the general election or 6-month period before any primary election in which the candidate stands for nomination.
For purposes of this paragraph, the term “candidate” includes a person who has not become a candidate as defined in paragraph II, but subsequently becomes a candidate pursuant to that paragraph at any point before the next state general election.
664:18 Complaints. Any candidate or voter may make complaint in writing to the attorney general and the clean elections board of any violation of any of the provisions of this chapter or RSA 664-A.
I. Upon receipt of such complaint, the attorney general or [his] designee and the clean elections board shall review the complaint, and where sufficient evidence of a violation is presented, conduct investigations to determine whether a violation of this chapter has occurred.
II. Following investigation, the attorney general and the clean elections board [is] are empowered, if [he determines] they determine that a provision of this chapter has been violated, to:
(a) Issue an order requiring the violator to cease and desist from his or her violation. If the [attorney general's] order is not obeyed, the attorney general or designee and the clean elections board may petition the superior court of the county in which the violation occurred for an order of enforcement.
(b) Prosecute to final judgment through [his] their designee if sufficient cause for such prosecution is found.
III. [If, in the opinion of any person making complaint, the family, business or political connection of the attorney general's designee is such as to make it unlikely that he will act diligently and earnestly in any proceeding therefor, the person complaining may state such facts to the attorney general.
IV.] If the attorney general believes that [his] the designee will be hampered by any existing facts or circumstances and in any manner prevented from vigorously proceeding against any respondent complained against for such violation, or that the service of more than one attorney in any proceeding would be in the interest of the state, he or she shall have authority to employ and assign additional attorneys, to conduct or assist in conducting such proceeding. Such attorneys shall be allowed reasonable compensation, to be approved by the governor and council and paid by the state out of funds not otherwise appropriated.
IV. If the attorney general and the clean elections board refuse to review or investigate a complaint, a complainant may file a complaint in the superior court of the county in which the violation occurred or in Merrimack county. After the attorney general and the board have made a final decision, a party to the case may file a complaint appealing the decision in the superior court of the county in which the violation occurred, or in Merrimack county.
V. If the attorney general and the clean elections board cannot practicably commence an investigation or court proceeding because of lack of resources, they shall refer such matter to the county attorney with jurisdiction over such matter.
II. Any fine assessed under the provision of this section shall be paid to the secretary of state for deposit into the [general] clean elections fund.
CLEAN ELECTIONS FINANCING
664-A:1 Definitions. In this chapter:
I. “Affidavit of registration” means a form completed and filed by a candidate according to procedures and forms developed by the clean elections board demonstrating and certifying that the candidate will comply with all the requirements of this chapter.
II. “Board” means the clean elections board established in RSA 664-A:7.
III. “Contested primary election” means when 2 or more candidates for a gubernatorial, council, or senate race each report expenditures of more than $50,000, $10,000, or $5,000, respectively, before a primary election.
IV. “Contested general election” means when 2 or more candidates for a gubernatorial, council, or senate race each report expenditures of $100,000, $10,000, or $5,000, respectively, or more in campaign contributions, expenditures, or funds held over from prior campaigns.
V. “Declaration of intent” means a form completed and filed by a candidate, according to procedures, forms, and deadlines developed by the clean elections board, declaring intent to seek certification as a “participating candidate” under this chapter.
VI. “Election cycle” means the 2-year period beginning the day after each state general election.
VII. “Fund” means the New Hampshire clean elections fund established in RSA 664-A:2.
VIII. “General election campaign period” means the period beginning the day after the state primary election and ending the day of the state general election.
IX. “Participating candidate” means a candidate who has been certified by the clean elections board to receive clean elections funding pursuant to this chapter, and a “nonparticipating candidate” means a candidate who does not choose to participate in the clean elections financing in this chapter and is not seeking certification as a “participating candidate.”
X. “Primary election” means a state primary election. For purposes of this chapter, primary election shall include only those elections held to nominate candidates of a party, as defined by RSA 652:11.
XI. “Primary election campaign period” means the period beginning the day of the filing deadline in RSA 655:14 and ending the day of the state primary election.
664-A:2 New Hampshire Clean Elections Fund Established.
I. There is established the New Hampshire clean elections fund to be used for the purposes of providing citizen financing for the primary and general election campaigns of participating candidates and paying for the administrative and enforcement costs of this chapter.
II. This nonlapsing, revolving special fund is hereby continually appropriated to the clean elections board for the purpose of implementing RSA 664-A, including grants and all costs necessary to administer and enforce the provisions of RSA 664-A. The state treasurer shall invest the moneys deposited in the fund as provided by law. Interest received on investments made by the state treasurer shall also be credited to the fund.
III. The following moneys shall be deposited in the fund:
(a) Voluntary donations made directly to the fund.
(b) Unspent contributions remaining after the general election campaign period.
(c) For candidates who do not participate in a general election for any reason, unspent contributions remaining after the primary election campaign period.
(d) Fines levied for violations of the elections laws, including fines assessed under RSA 664:21.
(e) Interest generated by the fund.
(f) Any appropriations to the fund.
664-A:3 Qualifications for and Requirements of Participating Candidates.
I. A candidate qualifies as a participating candidate for the primary election campaign period if he or she files an affidavit of registration, signed by the candidate and the candidate’s fiscal agent with the clean elections board according to procedures developed by the board, stating that the candidate has complied and shall comply with the requirements of this chapter, and the board thereafter certifies the candidate as a participating candidate.
II. A candidate qualifies as a participating candidate for the general election campaign period if the candidate was a participating candidate for the primary election campaign period and either has been declared nominated or did not have a primary contest. A candidate who did not qualify as a participating candidate for the primary election period may not seek qualification for the general election.
III. Only candidates for the following offices are eligible to be participating candidates:
(b) Executive councilor.
(c) State senator.
IV. Participating candidates shall not expend for campaign purposes any portion of any preexisting funds raised for any public office or party position in excess of $10,000 for governor, $5,000 for executive councilor, and $2,500 for state senator prior to the first day of the election cycle for which the candidate seeks certification.
V. Public funds received pursuant to this chapter may be used only by the participating candidates and his or her designated committee for the candidate’s election to the office designated during the year in which the funds were distributed. No candidate shall control any campaign committee other than the committee designated to receive and expend the candidate’s public funds.
664-A:4 Contributions and Expenditures.
I. During the primary and general election campaign periods, a participating candidate shall not accept private contributions from any single contributor exceeding $500 for governor, $250 for executive council, or $200 for senate.
II. A volunteer may donate up to $50 worth of goods and services to a participating candidate per month. A volunteer’s time or voluntary use of personal vehicles shall not be considered a donation for purposes of this paragraph.
664-A:5 Objection to Registration. Any objection to the certification of a candidate shall be made in writing to the board no later than 7 days following the last day of the qualifying period. Upon receipt of the objection, the board shall notify the candidate in writing of the time and place for its hearing. The board shall determine whether a candidate qualifies as a participating candidate within 7 days of receiving the objection. If the board determines that the candidate does not meet the requirements of this chapter, it may refuse to certify the candidate or revoke the candidate’s eligibility and order the candidate to return to the fund any payments received pursuant to this chapter.
664-A:6 Civic Dollars.
I.(a) On the first business day in every general election year, the clean elections board shall mail to each person who was by the previous November 15 registered to vote in the state of New Hampshire, at his or her address in the voter registration records, 4 certificates worth $25 each.
(b) Thereafter, the clean elections board shall issue 4 $25 certificates to any person who becomes a New Hampshire registered voter on or before October 1 of the general election year.
(c) To be consistent with federal law, any adult natural person who resides more than 30 days in the state of New Hampshire, and who is a registered voter, or is eligible to vote under local, state, or federal law, or who is eligible under federal law to donate to a political campaign, but who has not received any certificate in the election cycle, may opt in to the program and obtain an equivalent number of certificates by application to the clean elections board.
II. Each certificate shall state the holder’s name, a unique certificate identification number, the election year, and words of assignment with blank spaces for the holder to designate a participating candidate and sign the holder’s name.
III. Certificates are only transferable or assignable as stated herein. Any person properly obtaining and holding a certificate may assign it by writing the name of the assignee candidate, and signing the holder’s name on and dating the certificate where indicated thereon, and delivering the signed and dated certificate to the candidate, or to the clean elections board, or to any candidate’s representative who shall be registered for this purpose with the board. Delivery may be by mail, in person by any person the holder requests to deliver the certificate, or electronically via a secure clean elections board online system. The board shall establish a secure online system for delivery of certificates, without prejudice to any eligible person’s right to receive certificates in the mail at his or her option, no later than prior to the 2020 election cycle, unless the board determines this target date is not practicable; and in any event no later than the 2022 election cycle.
IV.(a) No certificate may be assigned after the last business day in November following the election.
(b) A candidate or registered candidate representative may seek assignment in person or through representatives or by assisting a voter to access the board’s secure online system.
(c) A valid assignment of a certificate shall be irrevocable.
(d) A person may assign any number of his or her certificates to the same candidate in a given year.
(e) Assignment or transfer for cash or any consideration is prohibited. Offering to purchase, buy, or sell a certificate shall be prohibited. No person may give a certificate to another person, except by assigning it to a candidate as provided herein. Certificates have no cash value and are not assets, income, or property of the holder. A certificate shall not be assigned by proxy or power of attorney or by an agent.
V. The clean elections board shall pay each participating candidate $25 for each certificate that has been validly assigned to that candidate. Before issuing payments, the board shall ensure that each certificate was validly assigned and issued to an eligible voter. The board shall redeem certificates on published regular redemption dates that shall be no less frequent than twice a month and may redeem certificate on other dates notified in advance if practicable. The board shall not redeem any certificate received by the board after the first business day in the month of December after the general election.
VI.(a) The clean elections board shall administer the certificate program and shall adopt rules consistent with this section to ensure the certificate program is operated efficiently, fairly, and transparently. The rules shall provide for a complaint and adjudication process in which citizens and candidates may petition the board for correction of errors or remedies for unlawful action affecting the certificate program.
(b) Prior to each election cycle, the board shall inform the public about the certificate program through the media and other sources, and shall publish guidebooks and forms for candidates and certificate recipients, and any other documents necessary for efficient and widespread operation of the program
(c) The board shall record and publish on its website the name, but not the address, of each certificate holder that has made an assignment and the name of the candidate that is the assignee.
664-A:7 Enforcement and Clean Elections Board.
I. The members of the clean elections board shall be as follows:
(a) One member appointed by the president of the senate.
(b) One member appointed by the minority leader of the senate.
(c) One member appointed by speaker of the house of representatives.
(d) One member appointed by minority leader of the house of representative.
(e) One member appointed by consensus of the appointees listed in subparagraphs (a)-(d).
II. All appointments to the board shall be made within 30 days of the effective date of this section.
III. The board shall have jurisdiction of and be responsible for the execution and enforcement of the provisions of this chapter and RSA 664. The board shall adopt rules relative to the board's procedures.
IV. The board shall:
(a) Render advisory opinions with respect to questions arising under this chapter and RSA 664 upon the written request of a candidate, an officer of a political committee, or a member of the public, or upon its own initiative.
(b) Make public the questions of interpretation for which advisory opinions will be considered by the board and its advisory opinions, including by publication on its website in a format such that advisory opinions are searchable by keyword and party name.
(c) Develop a program for informing and training candidates and the public as to the purpose and effect of the provisions of this chapter, including by means of a website.
(d) Develop an interactive, searchable computer database that shall contain all information necessary for the proper administration of this chapter, including information on contributions to and expenditures by candidates and their authorized committees and distributions of moneys from the fund and shall be accessible to the public on the state website.
(e)(1) Develop an electronic reporting system to process the statements of campaign receipts, contributions, transfers, and expenditures required to be filed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and RSA 664;
(2) Prescribe the information required and the form for each statement to be filed;
(3) Make the electronic reporting process available to any such candidate or committee which is required to file or which agrees to file such statements by such electronic reporting process;
(4) Cause all information contained in such a statement filed with the board which is not on such electronic reporting system to be entered into such system as soon as practicable but in no event later than 10 business days after its receipt; and
(5) Make all data from the electronic reporting process available at all times on the Internet in a format that is searchable by keyword and by the name any candidate, contributor, or spender mentioned in the filing.
V.(a) The board may conduct a thorough examination and pre-election audit of the contributions and qualified campaign expenses of the participating committee of every participating candidate. Such audits shall be conducted as frequently as the board deems necessary to ensure compliance with this chapter.
(b) The board shall conduct post-election audits as deemed necessary, but in any event shall audit no less than 25 percent of candidates running for office in each election year selected at random. The cost of complying with a post-election audit shall be borne by the candidate’s authorized committee. A candidate who has received public funds under this chapter shall maintain a reserve of at least one percent of the total amount of funds received in his or her campaign account to comply with the post-election audit.
(c) The board shall issue to each campaign audited the final post-election audit report that details its findings and shall provide such audit to the governor and legislative leaders and make such audit report available on the board’s website. Final post-election audit reports shall be completed no later than 12 months after the date of the election that is subject of the audit. This audit deadline shall not apply in cases involving potential campaign-related fraud, knowing violations of this chapter or RSA 664, or other criminal activity.
VI. There shall be a unit within the board known as the clean elections enforcement unit. The head of such unit shall be the enforcement counsel. The enforcement counsel shall have sole authority within the board to investigate on his or her own initiative or upon complaint alleged violations of RSA 664 and RSA 664-A and to investigate complaints filed by candidates or members of the public. The enforcement counsel shall promptly determine whether to perform investigations based on complaints filed; the enforcement counsel may determine whether to undertake an investigation unless his or her decision is overruled by a vote of the board. The board shall vote to approve or reject the enforcement counsel’s final disposition of any complaint or investigation within 10 days of such disposition.
I. Any person who violates this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty, unless the clean elections board determines the violation was de minimis. The person shall be subject to a penalty not to exceed $10,000, or 3 times the amount of an illegal contribution or expenditure, whichever is greater.
II. Any person who knowingly violates the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $20,000 or 3 times the amount of an illegal contribution or expenditure, whichever is greater. Violations by elected candidates may result in the forfeiture of their elected offices. The limitations in RSA 651:2, IV shall not apply to fines under this paragraph.
III. Any person who knowingly makes a false statement or knowingly omits a material fact to the board or any another official during any investigation conducted pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a class B felony.
IV. All fines imposed pursuant to this section shall be made payable to the clean elections fund.
664-A:9 Reports. In addition to the reports required by RSA 664:7, a nonparticipating candidate whose total expenditures for either the primary election campaign period or the general election campaign period exceeds $625,000 for governor, $50,000 for councilor, or $20,000 for state senator shall file with the board the following additional reports in the form required by RSA 664:6, I:
I. Weekly reports to be filed every Friday of the election campaign period by 4 o’clock in the afternoon until 20 days before the election date.
II. Daily reports during the 20 days preceding the election date to be filed by 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
664-A:10 Shortfall in Fund. If the fund does not have sufficient money to fund all participating candidates in accordance with RSA 664-A:6, payments to participating candidates shall be prorated so that each qualifying candidate receives a proportional share based on the amount to which the candidate would have been entitled under RSA 664-A:6. If the shortfall is greater than 10 percent of the amounts owed to participating candidates, the contribution limits in RSA 664-A:4, I shall be suspended and the board shall notify the candidates of the suspension.
664-A:11 Reports to General Court.
I. The clean elections board shall report to the general court after each election cycle regarding the clean elections fund, no later than the first day of July of the year following a general election. The report shall include a detailed summary of all contributions, qualifying contributions, payments from the fund, and expenditures made by all participating candidates. The report shall also include a summary and evaluation of the board’s activities, and recommendations relative to the implementation and administration of this chapter.
II. In the first report the board prepares pursuant to paragraph I, the board shall recommend whether the public financing system should be expanded to include elections for state house of representatives. The recommendation shall state the potential benefits and obstacles of expanding the program, and, if the board recommends expanding the program, shall estimate the cost of the expanded program and explain the need for additional board staff or legal changes necessary to efficiently implement the expanded program.
III. In the third report the board prepares pursuant to paragraph I, the board shall recommend whether the public financing system should be expanded to include elections for United States Senate and House of Representatives. The recommendation shall state the potential benefits and obstacles of expanding the program, and shall fully explore all legal obstacles to such expansion. If the board recommends expanding the program, it shall estimate the cost of the expanded program and explain the need for additional board staff or legal changes necessary to efficiently implement the expanded program.
664-A:12 Requirements. All participating candidates in contested elections shall participate in at least one primary election debate and one general election debate in accordance with procedures developed by the board, unless the board deems such participation impossible due to unwillingness of opponents.
664-A:13 Adjustments for Inflation. At the beginning of each fourth calendar year, commencing in 2020, the clean elections board shall determine the percentage of the difference between the most recent available monthly consumer price index for all urban consumers published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics and such consumer price index published for the same month 4 years previously. The amount of each dollar limit or threshold fixed in this chapter, with the exception of the qualifying contribution threshold, shall be adjusted by the amount of such percentage difference to the closest $5 by the board which, not later than the first day of February in each such year, shall adopt a rule establishing each such adjusted amount.
664-A:14 Severability. If any clause, article, sentence, subdivision, paragraph, section, or part of this chapter be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, subdivision, paragraph, section, or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.
HB 1773-FN-A- FISCAL NOTE
FISCAL IMPACT: [ X ] State [ X ] County [ ] Local [ ] None
Estimated Increase / (Decrease)
[ X ] General [ ] Education [ ] Highway [ X ] Other - New Hampshire Clean Elections Fund
This bill establishes the Clean Elections Board to administer a Clean Elections Fund to provide campaign financing for eligible candidates for Governor, Executive Councilor and State Senator. The Board will have primary authority, with assistance from the Attorney General, to enforce the laws governing political expenditures and contributions (RSA 664) and the Fund (RSA 664-A) through the Clean Elections Unit. The Board would also be responsible for the distribution of campaign funds to qualifying candidates. The bill provides for civil and criminal penalties for violations of the provisions.
The Department of Justice states complaints involving RSA 664 and RSA 664-A would be jointly reviewed, investigated and prosecuted by the Department and the Clean Elections Enforcement Unit of the Board. Since the provisions of RSA 664-A only applies to candidates and campaigns for Governor, Executive Council and State Senate, the Department assumes it would continue to enforce RSA 664 as it applies to other federal, state, county and local campaigns. The Department also assumes while working jointly with the Board on complaints, it would be in an advisory role. The Department also assumes it would investigate and prosecute criminal violations of RSA 664-A. The Department does not anticipate a significant reduction in elections enforcement workload but any reduction would allow for additional enforcement in other areas, such as financial disclosures. The Department concludes the fiscal impact would be minimal, but indeterminable.
The Department of State indicates the Board would be charged with creating an interactive website including a searchable database of on-line campaign finance reports which is currently being done by the Secretary of State. Since the Secretary of State would no longer be the repository for campaign finance reports and would no longer maintain the existing on-line campaign finance reporting system, the expenditures of the Department would be reduced by approximately $25,000 per year. The Department indicates it is unclear how the staffing or members of the Clean Elections Board would be paid, but the funding for the new agency comes from various sources that do not impact the Department. The expected revenues or expenditures of the Board are indeterminable.
This bill contains civil and criminal penalties that may have an impact on the New Hampshire judicial and correctional systems. Proposed RSA 664:18, II would allow the Clean Elections Board and the Attorney General to jointly petition the Superior Court for enforcement of its orders and to prosecute if sufficient cause is found. These provisions currently exist and would allow the Board and the Attorney General to act jointly with no additional fiscal impact. Proposed RSA 664:18, IV allows for complaints in Superior Court if the Board refuses to review or investigate a complaint and for appeals of Board decisions to the Superior Court (complex equity case). Proposed RSA 664-A:8, I provides for civil penalties of up to $10,000 for violations of RSA 664-A (complex civil case) and RSA 664-A:8, II provides for unspecified misdemeanors for anyone who knowingly violates the chapter. Proposed RSA 664-A:8, III provides for a class B felony (routine criminal case) for anyone who knowingly makes a false statement or omits a material fact during any investigation by the Board or any other official.
There is no method to determine how many charges would be brought as a result of the changes contained in this bill to determine the fiscal impact on expenditures. However, the entities impacted have provided the potential costs associated with these penalties below.
Violation Level Offense
Class B Misdemeanor
Class A Misdemeanor
Simple Criminal Case
Complex Civil Case
Routine Criminal Felony Case
Complex Equity Case
It should be noted that average case cost estimates for FY 2019 and FY 2020 are based on data that is more than ten years old and does not reflect changes to the courts over that same period of time or the impact these changes may have on processing the various case types. An unspecified misdemeanor can be either class A or class B, with the presumption being a class B misdemeanor.
Public Defender Program
Has contract with State to provide services.
Has contract with State to provide services.
Contract Attorney – Felony
Contract Attorney – Misdemeanor
Assigned Counsel – Felony
$60/Hour up to $4,100
$60/Hour up to $4,100
Assigned Counsel – Misdemeanor
$60/Hour up to $1,400
$60/Hour up to $1,400
It should be noted that a person needs to be found indigent and have the potential of being incarcerated to be eligible for indigent defense services. The majority of indigent cases (approximately 85%) are handled by the public defender program, with the remaining cases going to contract attorneys (14%) or assigned counsel (1%).
Department of Corrections
FY 2017 Average Cost of Incarcerating an Individual
FY 2017 Annual Marginal Cost of a General Population Inmate
FY 2017 Average Cost of Supervising an Individual on Parole/Probation
NH Association of Counties
County Prosecution Costs
Estimated Average Daily Cost of Incarcerating an Individual
$85 to $110
$85 to $110
Department of Justice, Department of State, Judicial Branch, Department of Corrections, Judicial Council and New Hampshire Association of Counties
|Jan. 16, 2018||House||Hearing|
|Jan. 30, 2018||House||Exec Session|
|Feb. 7, 2018||House||Floor Vote|
Feb. 8, 2018: Inexpedient to Legislate: MA RC 214-135 02/08/2018 HJ 3 P. 28
: Minority Committee Report: Refer for Interim Study
: Majority Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate (Vote 16-3; RC)
Feb. 7, 2018: Majority Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate for 02/07/2018 (Vote 16-3; RC) HC 5 P. 21
Jan. 30, 2018: Executive Session: 01/30/2018 01:00 PM LOB 308
Jan. 16, 2018: Public Hearing: 01/16/2018 10:50 AM LOB 308
Jan. 3, 2018: Introduced 01/03/2018 and referred to Election Law HJ 1 P. 23