IV. Legislative Updates
Federal Legislation: A spending bill from the House Appropriations Committee would give the U.S. Election Assistance Commission 60 days to terminate itself. Rep. Mike Quiqley (D-Illinois) has introduced an amendment to the appropriations bill that would fund the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The amendment seeks $9.2 million to fund the EAC. “Eliminating the EAC, the federal government’s only independent direct line of communication to state and local election officials, would be dramatically out of step with the federal government’s work to improve election systems and provide states with the support they need to hold accurate and secure elections," Quigley said in his introduction according to The Hill.
In other federal legislation news, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pennsylvania) has introduced legislation that would require voter registration forms to be given to all new U.S. citizens at their naturalization ceremonies. The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to allow chief election officers to distribute voter registration forms “to each person who becomes a citizen of the United States at a naturalization ceremony.”
Minnesota: Activists in St. Paul are circulating petitions for a proposed city charter amendment that would move the city’s council and mayoral elections from odd years to even years. If enough signatures are gathered, the measure will appear on this November’s ballot.
Oregon: The House rules committee has approved a bill that would create a January 2018 special election if any 2017 legislation approved gets referred to voters. The special election would cost at least $3 million. Typically any legislation referred to voters is placed on the next general election ballot.
Rhode Island: The Rhode Island Legislature has approved a bill that would automatically register residents to vote when obtaining a new or renewing their license unless that person chooses to opt-out. The governor is expected to sign the bill.
Texas: During the upcoming 30-day special session, lawmakers will consider legislation to toughen penalties on mail-ballot fraud.