An Act To Increase Transparency in the Direct Initiative Process
Sec. 1. 4 MRSA §954-A, as amended by PL 1999, c. 425, §1, is further amended to read:
§ 954-A. Conflict of interest
A notary public may not perform any notarial act for any person if that person is the notary public's spouse, parent, sibling, child, spouse's parent, spouse's sibling, spouse's child or child's spouse, except that a notary public may solemnize the marriage of the notary public's parent, sibling, child, spouse's parent, spouse's sibling or spouse's child. It is a conflict of interest for a notary public to administer an oath or affirmation to a circulator of a petition for a direct initiative or people's veto referendum under Title 21-A, section 902 if the notary public also provides services that are not notarial acts to initiate or promote that direct initiative or people's veto referendum. This section does not affect or apply to notarial acts performed before August 4, 1988.
Sec. 2. 21-A MRSA §901-A, sub-§2, as amended by PL 2009, c. 611, §1, is further amended to read:
Sec. 3. 21-A MRSA §901-A, sub-§3 is enacted to read:
A circulator who is compensated or paid to circulate petitions may not collect signatures on a petition that does not include the statement described in this subsection.
Sec. 4. 21-A MRSA §903-A, first ¶, as amended by PL 2015, c. 99, §1, is further amended to read:
Petitions issued under this chapter may be circulated by any Maine resident who is a registered voter acting as a circulator of a petition. A circulator of a petition solicits signatures for the petition by presenting the petition to the voter, asking the voter to sign the petition and personally witnessing the voter affixing the voter's signature to the petition. The circulator of the petition must comply with the provisions of section 901-A, subsection 3 and section 902.
Sec. 5. 21-A MRSA §903-D, as enacted by PL 2017, c. 277, §5, is repealed.
Sec. 6. 21-A MRSA §903-E is enacted to read:
§ 903-E. Persons not authorized to administer an oath or affirmation to a petition circulator
Sec. 7. 21-A MRSA §1060-A is enacted to read:
§ 1060-A. Campaign for direct initiative or people's veto; reporting by major contributors
This section governs the reporting of contributions aggregating in excess of $100,000 for the purpose of initiating or influencing a campaign for a people's veto referendum under the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part Third, Section 17 or a direct initiative of legislation under the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part Third, Section 18.
(1) Funds or anything of value that the contributor specified were given in connection with a campaign for a people's veto referendum or direct initiative campaign;
(2) Funds or anything of value provided in response to a solicitation that would lead the contributor to believe that the contribution would be used specifically for the purpose of initiating or influencing a people's veto referendum or direct initiative campaign; and
(3) Funds or anything of value that can be reasonably determined to have been provided by the contributor for the purpose of initiating or influencing a people's veto referendum or direct initiative campaign when viewed in the context of the contribution and the recipient committee's activities during the campaign.
The commission may require by rule additional information to be reported consistent with this subsection to facilitate disclosure to citizens of this State of financial activity conducted for the purpose of influencing elections in this State. The commission may by rule permit major contributors to exclude the sources of funds that are restricted to purposes unrelated to a people's veto referendum or a direct initiative campaign.
This bill changes the requirements regarding the statements the Secretary of State must include on petitions used for the collection of signatures for a direct initiative. If the circulator of a petition is being paid to circulate the petition, that petition must include, on each page intended for voter signatures, a statement under the circulator's name that the circulator is being paid. The bill also states that a notary public or other person generally authorized to administer oaths or affirmations is not considered authorized to administer oaths or affirmations to a petition circulator if the notary public or person is also providing services to initiate that petition or promote the measure for which the petition is being circulated. It also provides that a notary public has a conflict of interest if the notary public provides services, other than notarial acts, to a campaign for a direct initiative or people's veto referendum and also administers an oath to a circulator who is collecting signatures for that same direct initiative or people's veto referendum. The bill requires financial reports from major contributors to a direct initiative or people's veto referendum campaign. A major contributor is an entity, other than an individual, that makes contributions aggregating more than $100,000 in a calendar year to a ballot committee or political action committee for the purpose of initiating or influencing a direct initiative or people's veto referendum. The report must disclose the name and purpose of the organization making the contribution, the amount and date of each contribution, the 5 largest sources of income in the year prior to filing the report, whether the organization has received contributions for the purposes of influencing a direct initiative or people's veto referendum, if the organization is a tax-exempt organization and if the organization has filed campaign finance reports in other jurisdictions in the past 12 months.