Bill S53-2011

Relates to maximum contributions for candidates

Relates to maximum contributions for candidates.

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  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • Jan 5, 2011: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S53

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 where current contribution limits exceed $9,500 for candidates for election or $6,000 for candidates for nomination.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The bill would set contribution limits for campaigns for statewide office or citywide office in New York City at $9,500 for candidates for election or $6,000 for candidates for nomination (or between $2,000 and $6,000 for minor party candidates, based on an existing formula that is unchanged by this bill). This bill would not affect local laws currently in place in New York City, which currently set limits for citywide candidates that are lower than the limits in state law.

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 the most dramatic ways that our state's laws depart from the laws of other states that regulate campaign contributions: 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.

While there has been a welcome movement toward voluntary limits on contributions that statewide officials will accept, it is important that the legislature take steps to reduce the excessive contributions currently permitted by law, even if there is no agreement on other measures that might be adopted to reform the campaign finance system.

Similarly, while the City of New York has adopted lower limits in local law, the state law still permit $55,900 in contributions to a candidate in a single election cycle. This bill would not affect the city's campaign finance system, but would reduce the exorbitant limits currently in state law for citywide elections.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010: S.4542 (Squadron) - Third Reading, A.624 (Kavanagh) - Election Law 2009: S.4542 (Squadron) - Elections, A.624 (Kavanagh) - Election Law 2008: A.9097 (Kavanagh) - Election Law 2007: A.9097 (Kavanagh) - Election Law

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.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 53 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (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. Paragraphs a and b of subdivision 1 of section 14-114 of the election law, as amended by chapter 659 of the laws of 1994, are amended to read as follows: 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] TWO thousand dollars nor more than [twelve] SIX thousand dollars as increased or decreased by the cost of living adjust- ment described in paragraph c of this subdivision, and (ii) in the case of any election to a public office, [twenty-five] NINE thousand FIVE HUNDRED dollars as increased or decreased by the cost of living adjust- ment described in paragraph c of this subdivision; provided however, that the maximum amount which may be so contributed or accepted, in the aggregate, from any candidate's child, parent, grandparent, brother and sister, and the spouse of any such persons, shall not exceed in the case of any nomination to public office an amount equivalent to the product of the number of enrolled voters in the candidate's party in the state, excluding 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 inactive 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] TWO thousand dollars nor more than [twelve] SIX 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] NINE thousand FIVE HUNDRED dollars as increased or decreased by the cost of living adjust- ment described in paragraph c of this subdivision; in the case of a nomination for state senator, [four] SIX 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 for state senator, [six] NINE thousand [two] FIVE 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 nomination for a member of the assembly, [twenty-five] THREE THOUSAND EIGHT 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] NINE thousand FIVE HUNDRED 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, grandparent, 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 greater, or in the case of a nomination or election of a state senator, twenty thousand dollars, whichever is greater, or in the case of a nomination 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. 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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