senate Bill S54

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Relates to uniform maximum contributions for all candidates regardless of position or office

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 04, 2012 referred to elections
Jan 05, 2011 referred to elections

S54 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A5894
Current Committee:
Senate Elections
Law Section:
Election Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง14-114, El L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S7061, A656A

S54 - Bill Texts

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Relates to uniform maximum contributions for all candidates regardless of position or office.

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BILL NUMBER:S54

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the election law, in relation to contribution limitations

PURPOSE:
To reduce campaign contribution limits for candidates for election to
a party position or public office or for nomination to public office
to $2,400 per election.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
The bill would set campaign contribution limits for candidates for
election to any party position or public office or for nomination to
any public office at $2,400 per election (or a total of $4,800 for a
primary and general election cycle). It would eliminate distinctions
between statewide candidates, candidates for Assembly or Senate, or
other candidates contributions to whom currently are subject to
different limits depending on the office sought. It would also
eliminate separate limits that currently apply to family members of
candidates.

JUSTIFICATION:
It is widely believed that our campaign finance laws need substantial
changes to ensure the integrity of elections in our state. This bill
does not address the broad range of issues that might be addressed in
a comprehensive reform package, but it does address one of weakest
aspects of our campaign finance laws: the excessive contributions
that individuals can currently make to candidates, especially the
extraordinarily high contributions that may be given to statewide
candidates, presently a single contributor may give up to $55,900 to
a candidate during a single election cycle ($18,100 for the primary
and $37,800 for the general election). This figure is the highest
among any of the 45 states that place limits on campaign
contributions. Current limits for Senate candidates are $15,500 per
cycle ($6,000 for the primary and $9,500 for the general); Assembly
candidates may accept $7,600 per cycle ($3,800 for the primary and
$3,800 for the general). In addition, family members of candidates
may currently contribute sums that substantially exceed the
individual limits (for example, the current limit for family members
of statewide candidates is over $250,000 of total contributions from
one or more family members).

This bill adopts the federal approach of setting a single limit of
$2,400 per election ($4,800 per cycle) for all elections to state or
party offices in the state, irrespective of the size of the area a
candidate is running in. In this way, candidates attempting to
communicate and persuade larger numbers of people and broader
constituencies would be required to raise the funds necessary for
their campaigns from a greater number of people rather then simply
relying on increasingly large contributors.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2009: A.00656 (Kavanagh) - Election Law
2008: A.09095 (Kavanagh) - Election Law


2007: A.09095 (Kavanagh) - Election Law
2010: S.7061 (Squadron) - Elections, A.656-A - (Kavanagh) - Elections.

FISCAL IMPACT ON THE STATE:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeeding the
date on which it shall have become law.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   54

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 5, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sen. SQUADRON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections

AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation  to  contribution  limita-
  tions

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 14-114 of  the  election  law,  as
amended by chapter 79 of the laws of 1992, paragraphs a and b as amended
by chapter 659 of the laws of 1994, is amended to read as follows:
  1. [The following limitations apply to all contributions to candidates
for election to any public office or for nomination for any such office,
or  for  election  to  any  party positions, and to all contributions to
political committees working directly or indirectly with  any  candidate
to  aid or participate in such candidate's nomination or election, other
than any contributions to any party committee or constituted committee:
  a. In any election for a public office to be voted on by the voters of
the entire state, or for nomination to any such office,  no  contributor
may  make a contribution to any candidate or political committee, and no
candidate or political committee may accept any  contribution  from  any
contributor,  which is in the aggregate amount greater than:  (i) in the
case of any nomination to public office, the product of the total number
of enrolled voters in the candidate's  party  in  the  state,  excluding
voters in inactive status, multiplied by $.005, but such amount shall be
not  less  than  four  thousand  dollars  nor  more than twelve thousand
dollars as increased or decreased  by  the  cost  of  living  adjustment
described  in  paragraph  c of this subdivision, and (ii) in the case of
any election  to  a  public  office,  twenty-five  thousand  dollars  as
increased  or  decreased  by  the cost of living adjustment described in
paragraph c of this subdivision;  provided  however,  that  the  maximum
amount  which  may be so contributed or accepted, in the aggregate, from

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00113-01-1

S. 54                               2

any candidate's child, parent, grandparent, brother and sister, and  the
spouse  of  any  such persons, shall not exceed in the case of any nomi-
nation to public office an amount  equivalent  to  the  product  of  the
number of enrolled voters in the candidate's party in the state, exclud-
ing  voters  in inactive status, multiplied by $.025, and in the case of
any election for a public office, an amount equivalent to the product of
the number of registered voters in the state excluding voters  in  inac-
tive status, multiplied by $.025.
  b.  In  any  other  election  for  party position or for election to a
public office or for nomination for any such office, no contributor  may
make  a  contribution  to  any  candidate  or political committee and no
candidate or political committee may accept any  contribution  from  any
contributor,  which  is in the aggregate amount greater than: (i) in the
case of any election for party position, or  for  nomination  to  public
office, the product of the total number of enrolled voters in the candi-
date's  party  in  the  district  in  which he is a candidate, excluding
voters in inactive status, multiplied by $.05, and (ii) in the  case  of
any  election  for  a  public office, the product of the total number of
registered voters in the district, excluding voters in inactive  status,
multiplied  by $.05, however in the case of a nomination within the city
of New York for the office of mayor,  public  advocate  or  comptroller,
such  amount  shall be not less than four thousand dollars nor more than
twelve thousand dollars as increased or decreased by the cost of  living
adjustment  described in paragraph c of this subdivision; in the case of
an election within the city of New York for the office of mayor,  public
advocate  or  comptroller,  twenty-five thousand dollars as increased or
decreased by the cost of living adjustment described in paragraph  c  of
this  subdivision;  in  the case of a nomination for state senator, four
thousand dollars as increased or decreased by the cost of living adjust-
ment described in paragraph c of this subdivision; in  the  case  of  an
election  for  state  senator, six thousand two hundred fifty dollars as
increased or decreased by the cost of  living  adjustment  described  in
paragraph  c  of  this  subdivision; in the case of an election or nomi-
nation for a member of the  assembly,  twenty-five  hundred  dollars  as
increased  or  decreased  by  the cost of living adjustment described in
paragraph c of this subdivision; but in no event shall any such  maximum
exceed  fifty  thousand  dollars  or  be less than one thousand dollars;
provided however, that the maximum amount which may be so contributed or
accepted, in the aggregate, from any candidate's child,  parent,  grand-
parent,  brother  and  sister, and the spouse of any such persons, shall
not exceed in the case of any election for party position or  nomination
for  public office an amount equivalent to the number of enrolled voters
in the candidate's party in the district in which  he  is  a  candidate,
excluding  voters in inactive status, multiplied by $.25 and in the case
of any election to public office, an amount equivalent to the number  of
registered  voters in the district, excluding voters in inactive status,
multiplied by $.25; or twelve hundred fifty dollars, whichever is great-
er, or in the case of a nomination or election of a state senator, twen-
ty thousand dollars, whichever is greater, or in the  case  of  a  nomi-
nation  or  election  of  a  member of the assembly twelve thousand five
hundred dollars, whichever is greater, but in no event  shall  any  such
maximum exceed one hundred thousand dollars.] A. NO CONTRIBUTOR MAY MAKE
A CONTRIBUTION TO ANY CANDIDATE FOR ELECTION TO ANY PUBLIC OFFICE OR FOR
NOMINATION  FOR ANY SUCH OFFICE, OR FOR ELECTION TO ANY PARTY POSITIONS,
OR MAKE ANY CONTRIBUTION TO POLITICAL  COMMITTEES  WORKING  DIRECTLY  OR
INDIRECTLY  WITH ANY CANDIDATE TO AID OR PARTICIPATE IN SUCH CANDIDATE'S

S. 54                               3

NOMINATION OR ELECTION, AND NO  CANDIDATE  OR  POLITICAL  COMMITTEE  MAY
ACCEPT  ANY  CONTRIBUTION  FROM ANY CONTRIBUTOR, WHICH, IN THE AGGREGATE
AMOUNT, IS GREATER THAN TWO THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS, AS  INCREASED
OR  DECREASED  BY THE COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH B
OF THIS SUBDIVISION.
  [c.] B. At the beginning of each fourth calendar year,  commencing  in
nineteen  hundred  ninety-five,  the  state  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 four years previously. The amount of each
contribution limit fixed in this subdivision shall be  adjusted  by  the
amount  of such percentage difference to the closest one hundred dollars
by the state board which, not later than the first day  of  February  in
each  such  year, shall issue a regulation publishing the amount of each
such contribution limit. Each contribution limit as so adjusted shall be
the contribution limit in effect for any election held before  the  next
such adjustment.
  S  2. This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeed-
ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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