- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - House Democrats on Tuesday used one of only six “silver bullet” motions to get a bill that would require more disclosure surrounding campaign donations onto the floor for debate.

The House voted 52-48 to bring Senate Bill 289 out of the House Business and Labor Committee, where it’s been sitting since a hearing last week. Silver bullet motions allow bills to come to the floor with only a simple majority vote. Eleven Republicans joined all 41 Democrats to pass the motion.

Republicans then made unsuccessful motions to send the bill to the House Administration Committee or back to the House Business and Labor Committee.

“The purpose would be to put amendments on it to withstand a legal challenge,” said Republican Rep. Jeff Essmann of Billings.

Opponents have said the bill is vague and would give too much rulemaking authority to the commissioner of political practices.

An attempt to table the bill by Rep. Jerry Bennett, R-Libby, was usurped by Democratic Rep. Tom Woods of Bozeman who made a successful substitute motion for the House to adjourn. The bill remains in the House and is scheduled for a floor debate Thursday, according to House Democratic spokeswoman Carissa Kemp.

Under Senate Bill 289, newly defined groups would be required to publicize reports on political donations and expenditures if they spend money supporting or opposing candidates or ballot issues.

Sponsored by Republican Sen. Duane Ankney of Colstrip and backed by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, the measure aims to shed light on anonymous money that began pouring into elections after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The court held that it is unconstitutional to ban corporations from making political expenditures if the money is not given directly to a candidate.

The Senate passed the bill in February on a 28-22 vote.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide