Friday, May 24, 2013

Ask Governor Perry to Veto SB 346

Call Governor Perry's office at (512) 463-2000 to ask for a veto of Senate Bill 346.

In case you are only now tuning in, Senate Bill 346 subjects private non-profit organizations engaging in issue advocacy etc., to new reporting requirements.  Although the IRS is in hot water for illegally releasing the names of donors to such groups, SB 346 would make such disclosures legal and requisite.  To make matters worse, SB 346 specifically exempts unions from the new rules and restrictions.  The bill is so problematic that national voices such as Red State's Erick Erickson and even the Wall Street Journal have piped in to urge a Perry veto. 

In reaction to the strong push to veto SB 346, Representative Charlie Geren has added a revised version of the SB 346 language to the Ethics Commission Sunset bill, SB219.  While Geren's new language removes the explicit union exemption, he indicates that the real goal all along was to hamper conservative input into any future speaker's race.  Furthermore, as political law attorney Jerad Najvar notes on Lex Politico, the SB 219 language seems to include some rather unreasonable compliance requirements.

SB 219 now also includes a requirement that any “electioneering communications” by a nonprofit “disclose in the communication the source of the funds used to pay for the communication.”  See amendment 19 (Johnson).  This is unconstitutionally vague, and is also cumbersome without some serious narrowing and explanation by the Ethics Commission.  Is a nonprofit supposed to list the names of all its contributors “in the communication”? That’s not feasible and it would destroy the ability to send an advertisement at all in certain media.
(Read the full Lex Politico analysis here.)  

Governor Perry must decide by tomorrow whether to veto or sign SB 346.  If he does so, the SB 219 language could be revised or removed.  Call (512) 463-2000.

Update:  Here's a list of those who registered against SB 346 in the House State Affairs Committee.  It includes names from Texas Right to Life, Women's Wellness Coalition of Texas, and Texas Values.  These are the folks who will be hampered by this bill.  

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