Bill S2373-2009

Relates to political advertisements and literature and identification of the source of certain political communications

Relates to political advertisements and literature and identification of the source of certain political communications.

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  • Jan 6, 2010: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • Feb 19, 2009: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

Memo

 BILL NUMBER:  S2373

TITLE OF BILL :

An act to amend the election law, in relation to political advertisements and literature and identification of the source of certain political communications

PURPOSE :

Relates to political advertisements and literature and identification of the source of certain political communications.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :

Requires political advertisements and literature to identify who pays for the communications; makes it illegal to pay for communications which intentionally misrepresent facts or make misstatements regarding a candidate or public officer.

EXISTING LAW :

Adds a new section, 14-107, to the Election law.

JUSTIFICATION :

Individual and groups pay for material to be disseminated among the public without the public being aware of who is paying for their information contained in the literature. The public has a right and need to know who is behind the creation of these communications to enable them to assess the worth of the information. In addition, current law requires persons or entities spending money to affect the outcome of an election to publicly disclose the source of the funding. Unless it is disclosed who paid for the communication, there is no way for the public to know and no way for the board of elections to pursue those who fail to file disclosure of these expenditures. This bill will mandate that these communications carry an attribution of who is paying for the literature.

The bill also requires automated phone calls which are sent into the homes of voters disclose who is paying for them. Practices in this area show that these calls are abused by those behind them. The call may state it supports a particular candidate but are sent into the home with such frequency or at inconvenient hours to annoy the voter and are really being sent in by the opponent with the intent to antagonize the voter. This fraudulent use of the communication would be stopped by requiring those paying for the call identify themselves at the beginning of the call.

The bill also penalizes those who pay for a communication to the public which intentionally misrepresents any facts or makes misstatements about a position adopted by the candidate or public official. This will help lead to integrity in the elections process.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :

S.8175 of 2008

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :

None.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :

None. EFFECTIVE DATE : Immediately.

Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2373 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 19, 2009 ___________
Introduced by Sen. PADAVAN -- 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 political advertise- ments and literature and identification of the source of certain poli- tical communications THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The election law is amended by adding a new section 14-107 to read as follows: S 14-107. POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENTS AND LITERATURE AND IDENTIFICATION OF THE SOURCE OF CERTAIN POLITICAL COMMUNICATIONS. 1. WHENEVER ANY PERSON OR ENTITY MAKES AN EXPENDITURE FOR THE PURPOSE OF FINANCING, OR OTHERWISE PUBLISHES OR DISTRIBUTES, COMMUNICATIONS NAMING A CLEARLY IDENTIFIED CANDIDATE OR PUBLIC OFFICER, SUCH COMMUNICATION: (A) IF PAID FOR AND AUTHORIZED BY A CANDIDATE, AN AUTHORIZED POLITICAL COMMITTEE OF A CANDIDATE, OR ITS AGENT, SHALL CLEARLY STATE THAT THE COMMUNICATION HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY SUCH CANDIDATE, AUTHORIZED POLITICAL COMMITTEE, OR AGENT; OR (B) IF PAID FOR BY ANOTHER PERSON BUT AUTHORIZED BY A CANDIDATE, AN AUTHORIZED POLITICAL COMMITTEE OF A CANDIDATE, OR ITS AGENT, SHALL CLEARLY STATE THAT THE COMMUNICATION IS PAID FOR BY SUCH OTHER PERSON AND AUTHORIZED BY SUCH CANDIDATE, AUTHORIZED POLITICAL COMMITTEE, OR AGENT; OR (C) IF NOT AUTHORIZED BY A CANDIDATE, AN AUTHORIZED POLITICAL COMMIT- TEE OF A CANDIDATE, OR ITS AGENTS, SHALL CLEARLY STATE THE NAME OF THE PERSON WHO PAID FOR, OR OTHERWISE PUBLISHED OR DISTRIBUTED, THE COMMUNI- CATION AND STATE THAT THE COMMUNICATION IS NOT AUTHORIZED BY ANY CANDI- DATE OR CANDIDATE'S COMMITTEE. 2. IF A COMMUNICATION IS MADE BY AUTOMATED TELEPHONE THE PERSON OR ENTITY PAYING FOR SUCH AUTOMATED TELEPHONE CALL SHALL BE CLEARLY IDENTI- FIED AT THE BEGINNING OF SUCH COMMUNICATION.
3. ANY COMMUNICATION SHALL NOT INTENTIONALLY MISREPRESENT ANY FACTS OR MAKE MISSTATEMENTS OF POSITION ADOPTED BY A CANDIDATE OR PUBLIC OFFICER. 4. A KNOWING AND WILFULL VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL CONSTITUTE A MISDEMEANOR. 5. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS: (A) THE TERM "CLEARLY IDENTIFIED" MEANS THAT: (I) THE NAME OF THE CANDIDATE OR PUBLIC OFFICER INVOLVED APPEARS; (II) A PHOTOGRAPH OR DRAWING OR CARICATURE OF THE CANDIDATE OR PUBLIC OFFICER APPEARS; OR (III) THE IDENTITY OF THE CANDIDATE OR PUBLIC OFFICER IS APPARENT BY UNAMBIGUOUS REFERENCE. (B) THE TERM "COMMUNICATION" INCLUDES ANY ADVERTISEMENT, PAMPHLETS, CIRCULARS, FLYERS, BROCHURES, LETTERHEADS, OR OTHER PRINTED MATTER, AND RADIO OR TELEVISION BROADCASTS, AND AUTOMATED TELEPHONE. (C) THE TERM "PERSON" INCLUDES AN INDIVIDUAL, PARTNERSHIP, COMMITTEE, ASSOCIATION, CORPORATION, LABOR ORGANIZATION, OR ANY OTHER ORGANIZATION OR GROUP OF PERSONS. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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