Enlarges the definition of the term "election" for certain purposes.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to enlarging the definition of the term "election" for certain purposes
PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to require reporting of spending in support of or opposition to certain school district budget proposals.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill would add school district budget proposal votes conducted pursuant to Education Law sections 2022 (common school districts, union free school district, central school districts and central high school districts) and 2601-a (cites with fewer than 125,000 inhabitants) to those ballot proposals that require campaign receipt and expenditure disclosures under Article 14 of the Election Law.
JUSTIFICATION: For those areas outside of the state's five most populous cities, perhaps no local political unit has a greater impact on the community than the school districts. School districts, led by tireless citizen board members, trustees and volunteers, shape community education policy in the state and have a direct and substantial impact on the property taxes paid by local residents. School board decisions, including budgets submitted to voters for approval, determine the level of local taxpayer resources that will be devoted to public education and concomitantly, how much the community will contribute in resources to underwrite this fundamental public purpose.
Under existing law, taxpayers and voters have no way to obtain information about spending by outside interests to influence the outcome of school district budget proposal votes. As state resources available for school districts diminish, school budget decisions take on greater fiscal significance at the local level, with school elections the subject of greater public interest. This legislation will assure that the public's right to know who is attempting to influence the outcome of these elections will be disclosed.
While current Education Law section 1528 requires candidates for school boards to report locally and to the Commissioner of the Department of Education on their fundraising and spending for local school board races, there is no similar reporting requirement for outside interests attempting to influence the outcome of a school budget vote.
This legislation would remedy a significant transparency gap in current law by requiring reporting to the New York State Board of Elections from those outside interests who raise and spend significant monies to influence the outcome of a school budget vote.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New legislation.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5071 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 3, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. LAVALLE -- 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 enlarging the defi- nition of the term "election" for certain purposes THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 11 of section 14-100 of the election law, as added by chapter 8 of the laws of 1978 and redesignated by chapter 9 of the laws of 1978, is amended to read as follows: 11. "election" means all general, special and primary elections, but shall not include elections provided for pursuant to the education law, special district elections, fire district elections or library district elections EXCEPT THAT IT SHALL INCLUDE SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET VOTES PURSUANT TO SECTIONS TWO THOUSAND TWENTY-TWO AND TWENTY-SIX HUNDRED ONE-A OF THE EDUCATION LAW. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD10847-01-1