Tag Archives: reporting

Common Cause: Bill Ends Corporate Reporting of Campaign Contributions

Statement from Dick Williams, Common Cause of Tennessee:
House Bill 643 by Casada / SB 787 by Watson & Ramsey contain several revisions to the current campaign finance laws in Tennessee.
This bill has received little discussion in the public and in committee, but is scheduled for floor votes in this, presumably, last week of the session. Many of the provisions, when explained in the context of current state & federal campaign law are relatively non controversial.
The exception, so far, is the increase in the limits on contributions from PACs controlled by political parties or caucuses. While Common Cause/TN has some concern about the amounts of the proposed increases in those limits, we are more concerned about the effect of a provision that has received little attention to date. Section 5 of the bill would delete the word “corporation” from the definition of a PAC.
While section 3 of the bill clarifies that corporate or insurance company contributions are held to the same limits as are PACs, the deletion from the definition of a PAC means that corporations, like individuals, would not have to report their contributions to the Registry of Election Finance.
PACs, unlike individuals, are required to report their political contributions to the Registry of Election Finance. Since the definition of a PAC includes a committee, club, association or other group of persons who receive or make political contributions, the effect of Section 5 of this bill would mean that a small group or club that made contributions would continue to report to the Registry, but corporations would not. Certainly, the public would see this as unfair and inappropriate.
One of the important tools for the Registry to assure the accuracy of the campaign disclosure information is the cross-checking of PAC reports with those of candidates. Frequently, discrepancies are found and corrected. In most cases, the figures are reconciled as a bookkeeping error on the part of either the PAC or the candidate or both.
Although we are concerned about possible amendments to this broad captioned bill contrary to the public interest, we believe that Section 5 should be deleted, if the bill is adopted.

Bill Lets Mental Health Professionals Report Violence Prone People

The state Senate approved a bill Thursday that would require mental health professionals to report potential threats to law enforcement, reports The Tennessean. Supporters say the move could head off mass shootings.
Senate Bill 789 passed unanimously as lawmakers found little reason to debate a measure that tightens reporting requirements for mental health workers and the courts. The bill is part of a push — backed by gun-rights proponents and gun-control advocates alike — to change mental health laws in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December.
“Mass violence of any sort is a tragic occurrence. But the worst tragedy results when the state overreacts to a mass shooting by restricting the Second Amendment rights of the law-abiding,” Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said in a prepared statement praising the measure. “This bill focuses not on inanimate objects but on the very real issue of mental health. …
“By focusing on the mentally ill, we will focus on those who should not have weapons while leaving the law-abiding gun owner free to exercise his God-given constitutional right.”
The Tennessee Psychological Association supports the bill. Mark Greene, a lobbyist for the group, said it clarifies that when clients make threats to harm or kill, the police must be told, in addition to potential victims.

State Gets Award for Financial Reporting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The state has been honored for its budget and financial reporting.
The Government Finance Officers Association recognized the state for both its annual budget document and the financial report that closes each fiscal year. Both are produced in the Department of Finance and Administration, which manages the state’s budget and also is responsible for accounting practices in all state agencies.
The association awarded the state its Distinguished Budget Presentation Award and its Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. The state has received these awards multiple times previously.