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January 21, 2014 at 11:04 AM

Fire Public Disclosure commissioners, says GOP-led caucus in Senate

The GOP-led majority in the Senate introduced a bill on Tuesday that would fire all existing members of the state Public Disclosure Commission and replace them with people appointed by political leaders in the House and Senate.

The PDC was created by Initiative 276, approved by voters in 1972. The measure put in place the current public-disclosure laws and created a five-member, bipartisan citizen commission to oversee them. Commission members are appointed by the Governor for one five-year term and are confirmed by the state Senate.

The act states that no members of the panel can hold or campaign for elected office, be an officer in a political party, support or oppose candidates and ballot measures, or participate in any election campaign.

Under state law, it takes a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to amend an initiative in the first two years after voters approve it. After two years, lawmakers can change voter-approved initiatives with a simple-majority vote.

That said, the House and governor’s office are controlled by Democrats and they rarely agree with anything proposed by Senate Republicans.

Here’s the language in Senate Bill 6323, signed by 11 members of the Senate majority caucus including Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom and Senate Ways and Means Chairman Andy Hill:

Effective July 31, 2014, the terms of all existing commission members shall be terminated. Beginning August 1, 2014, the commission shall be composed of five members appointed as provided in this subsection.
(a) Each legislative leader of the two largest political parties in each house of the legislature shall appoint one voting member to the commission by September 1, 2014.
(b) No later than January 1, 2015, the four appointed members, by an affirmative vote of at least three, shall appoint the fifth member, who shall act as the commission’s chair. If by January 1, 2015, three of the four voting members fail to elect a chair, the chair position must rotate among the appointed members annually, in the order of their appointment and concluding when a fifth member is agreed upon as provided in this subsection.

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