In the waning hours of the legislative session, the House and Senate passed and sent to the governor a bill (SB1666) that provides for issuance of a free photo ID on request to persons who sign an affidavit saying they need it to vote – which some will under the bill passed earlier mandating a photo ID for voting.
The bill was sponsored by House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart and Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron, who also sponsored the voter ID bill. Democrats had argued that, without such a bill, the voter photo law was unconstitutional, amounting basically to a poll tax for those who now lack a driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID acceptable under the bill.
(Previous post on the arguments HERE.)
The fiscal note on the bill estimates costs at about $450,000 and has an explanation of how many voters are impacted.
I was reminded of this – and that I haven’t seen it reported anywhere — when reading through Dick Williams’ end-of-session memo on open government and election legislation which the gentleman who runs the Common Caucus show in Tennessee was kind enough to pass along.
It’s reproduced below.
Brief Summary and Status of Significant Bills related to Open Government and Elections 2011
[Unless otherwise noted, virtually all of the “No” or Pass, Not Voting (PNV) votes are Democrats, not necessarily all of them] Dick Williams, Common Cause/TN
CE = Coordinator of Elections
EC= Election Commission
PC = Public Chapter [assigned by Secretary of State, after Governor signs.
S&L = State & Local Government Committee.
SoS = Secretary of State
SB0115-Campfield/HB0284-Dennis. Would have created pilot project for all local government notices to be only on the Internet. SB put in summer study by S&L and HB deferred in Judiciary.
SB0902-Watson/HB1044-Matheny. Requires Revenue tax rulings to taxpayers (mostly businesses) be made open to the public. NFIB & TFT supporting. Sponsors in discussion with Revenue, but deferred in Finance of both Houses to 2012.
SB1168-Norris/HB1774-Miller. Would have created additional category of confidential information, for “sensitive” local economic development information similar to state ECD law. Not put on notice in S. S&L. Held on House desk.
SB1263-Watson/HB1309-Dean. Would have put all public notices in Hamilton County only on the Internet. Not on notice in S. S&L Sub. H. Judiciary deferred to 2012.
SB1665-Tracy/HB1539-Sparks. Would have closed all 911 records unless approved by the caller. Senate amendment would have kept records open, but 911 calls could not be broadcast without permission of the caller adopted 23-8. House S&L Chair, Todd, has not accepted S. amendment. Held on House desk.
SB1951-Yager/HB1875-Todd. Would have allowed governments to charge just to view records, now prohibited by law. Adopted after Todd agreed to amend to his stated intent to define records to not include the right to take control of electronic equipment such as cell phones, laptops, etc. S. 31-0 on 5/12. H. 89-6-1 5/18. Sent to Governor. Voting No: Butt, Campbell, Evans, Haynes, Holt, Ragan. Present, non-voting: McDonald.
SB0016-Ketron/HB0007-Maggart. Requires Government issued Photo ID each time to vote. S. 21-11 on 2/14. H. 57-35-2 on 4/14. S. concurred in H. Am. 5/20. Sent to Governor. See also, SB1666/HB1443 Republican Rep.voting No: Campbell, Ford, Ramsey, Roach, K. Williams (I). Present, not voting (PNV): McDaniel.
SB0289-Bell/HB0036-Dunn. Duties of County Election Administrators. “Clarifies” existing law and practice, but could have the effect of allowing purely political appointment by county EC, contrary to AG opinion on current law. S. 32-0 on 3/3 H. 70-22-3 on 4/7. Republican PNV: R. Williams. PC 109
SB0352-Norris/HB0324-Todd. Requires proof of U.S. citizenship for voter registration. Amended to require CE to compare statewide voter registration list to Dep’t. of Safety database for non-citizens. If a match, voter can appeal to State EC. PC 235 S. 32-0 & H. 94-0 on 5/11.
SB0492-J. Haynes/HB0321-Fitzhugh. Voter-Owned Elections Act. Partial public financing of elections for Governor and General Assembly. Referred to S&L in both houses. No activity.
SB0756-Beavers/HB1119-Todd. Clarifies county must fund EC expenses, including for lawsuits. H. 77-10-7 on 4/7. On S. calendar, but not acted upon – deferred to 2012.
SB0772-Ketron/HB1115-Todd. Sponsored by TACEO – TN Association of County Election Officials. Various changes to election law, including deleting publication of sample ballot 5 days before election – leaving one 5 days before early voting; deletes 2 days at the end of early voting; adds birthday to information required (does not require copy of certificate); allows municipalities, if they allow non-resident property owners to vote in municipal elections, to require they vote by mail in those municipal elections. Stated purposes include saving local funds and giving workers more time to prepare for election day. Senate amended to restore the 2 days to early voting and the 2nd sample ballot publication. House had different amendments, accomplishing the same. On 5/20, S. amended and adopted 23-3 and the H. substituted and amended by a vote of 80-11-3. On 5/21, the House reconsidered and withdrew their amendments 75-11. All voting No or passing are Democrats except Rep. Ragan (voted No on 5/20 only). Signed by both Speakers.
SB0922-Beavers/HB0709-Weaver. Would have abolished early voting in municipalities under 5,000 for local elections without any opposition and not in conjunction with any other election. Purpose: to save local funds. Senate amended to apply to any municipality (except Nashville) where all races are unopposed, including write-ins, and not in conjunction with any other election. S. Adopted 31-0 on 3/28 and H. adopted 94-2. PC115.
SB0923-Beavers/HB0708-Weaver. Would have deleted 2 days at the end of early voting and would have reduced early voting in counties of 20,500 or less to 3 days, except in years with a presidential preference primary. Purpose: to save funds. On 5/19 the Senate adopted Am. 9, withdrew or tabled ams. 1-8 and passed as amended 21-12. On 5/21, the House adopted the Senate bill 72-9. Amendment 9 reduces early voting by 2 days at the end, only for elections including a presidential preference primary. Sent to the Governor.
SB0935-Norris/HB0794-McCormick. Makes it easier to get a minor political party on the ballot, in response to state Supreme Court decision. Requires petition with signatures of registered voters at least 2.5% of the number of votes cast for gubernatorial candidates in the most recent election. Passed House 94-0-1 on 4/25. Senate tabled Am. 1 (Kyle-10,000 residents, at least 2,000 each grand division), withdrew 2-6 and adopted the House bill 24-9 on 5/9. PC 257.
SB0950-Yager/HB1114-Todd. Requires the CE to audit county election commissions on administration of the law, including the power to issue subpoenas. H. Am 1 changes “audit” to “Review” passed 67-20-4 on 4/14. On 5/9, S. adopted Am 2, clarifying subpoena is for testimony before open meeting of the state EC passed 26-7. H. concurred on 74-16-3. Republican Rep. PNV: R. Williams. Sent to Governor.
SB1203-Yager/HB0386-Dunn. Would repeal the TVCA (TN Voter Confidence Act), 2008 law requiring switch to require all counties use paper ballot/optical scan system, unless the local costs to implement were funded in the 2011-12 state budget. Amended to keep the law, but subject to local EC request and CE support. H. 71-25 on 5/5. S. 25-5-1 on 5/12. Sent to Governor.
SB1255-Yager/HB1472-Cobb. Makes permanent the temporary expansion of the state EC from 5 to 7 members. Amendment clarified that compensation and travel total for the 7 remains as was previously for 5. S. 22-9-1 on 4/14. H. 97-0 on 4/25. Governor signed 4/25. 4/27 same commissioners sworn in (required by 1st Monday in May). PC 125.
SB1369-Finney/HB1694-Fitzhugh. TN Congressional Redistricting Commission Act. No action.
SB1370-Finney/HB0810-M. Turner. TN Fair and Independent Congressional Redistricting Act. No action.
SB1431-Bell/HB1593-Powers. Requires county desiring to use ballot-on-demand technology to get approval from EC at least 60 days before election. Amended to require public comment and demonstration in the county. S. 25-5-3 on 5/19. H. 95-0 on 5/20. Sent to Governor.
SB1552-Ketron/HB1505-R. Haynes. Would delay the implementation of the Voter Confidence Act to 2014. No action. See SB 1203.
SB1805-Bell/HB0414-Casada. Would repeal the Voter Confidence Act. No action. See SB 1203.
SB1915-Woodson/HB1003-Casada. As introduced, allows direct contributions of corporation funds to candidates and to be treated as PACs. Eliminates current $101, 400 aggregate 2 year limit an individual could give to all state & local candidates, PACs and party organizations. Increases all campaign limits by the CPI, retroactively to 1996 and every 2 yrs. forward. Would allow fundraising during the session for Governor and legislators running for another office (except General Assembly) as long as not fundraising on state property and not solicited from lobbyists, employers of lobbyists or lobbyist PACs. Allows remaining campaign funds of deceased candidate to be donated to public or private state educational institutions. Amended in both houses to delete the proposals for fundraising during the session and adds PACs controlled by a member of the legislature to the existing prohibitions on fundraising during the session. H. tabled M. Turner amendments to limit corporate contributions to those headquartered in TN; to prohibit corporations contributing to other PACs; and to delete the CPI indexing of the various limits. S. 19-11-1 on 5/20. H. 65-20 on 5/21. Sent to Governor.
SB1666-Ketron/HB1443-Maggart. Originally a caption bill on titling motor vehicles. Amended to provide for a free photo ID in order to try to make SB0016/HB0007 constitutional. S. 27-0 & H. 78-1-1 on 5/21. Sent to Governor.