The mission of the Idaho Nonprofit Center is to educate, advocate, and collaborate in support of stronger nonprofits. This year we were able to fulfill the advocate part of our mission in a big way at the Idaho State Legislature.
Since the legislative session began, we have been telling you about our concerns regarding the campaign finance bill numbered S1114. Generally, we were concerned about the proposed addition of “ballot measures” to the definition of electioneering communications which would mean any nonprofit that engages in advocacy would be part of the code.
We were also worried that because ballot measures would be considered electioneering communications the term “paid communication” was very loosely, if not at all, defined. That meant nonprofits who do engage in advocacy in support of advancing their mission, and who spend over $1,000 on electioneering communications would have to disclose all donors to their organizations over $250.
In short, nonprofits who advocated for their missions in support or opposition of ballot measures and/or those who inadvertently mentioned elected officials running for re-election would no longer be able to enforce their donor bill of rights, guaranteeing anonymity to donors who request it if those gifts were given during the reporting period.
This brings us to another issue, the reporting period was expanded to be March through election day. Between the addition of ballot measures, no definition of paid communications, the inability to protect our donors, and the expanded reporting period, we felt that it was important for the Idaho Nonprofit Center to speak to our concerns in front of the State Senate Affairs committee.
Speaking at the Capitol
On Friday, February 22 I was able to give my testimony, carefully laying out our anxieties by giving specific examples of how this legislation could be harmful to our nonprofit sector. I also made it clear that the Idaho Nonprofit Center had not yet taken up a formal position in opposition, but that we had very specific, and well-founded concerns.
The committee voted unanimously to hold the bill in committee. We do not know if it will be brought back this year or if there will be more work on it for the 2020 session. In any case, I am proud to have been able to represent our nonprofits and participate in an important conversation at our state capitol.
I hope to serve as a resource for the committee in the future as they work to make changes to the draft and as always, we will continue to keep you informed about this and any other legislation that may impact the broader Idaho nonprofit sector.
- Amy Little, President/CEO, Idaho Nonprofit Center
Follow the Idaho Legislature with 'Idaho in Session'
Stay informed about the discussions, issues and legislation that affect your nonprofit with Idaho Public Television’s ‘Idaho in Session.’ This free online service provides live feeds of the Idaho House and Senate; the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC); and the Lincoln Auditorium, East Wing 42, and eight additional committee legislative hearing rooms while the Idaho Legislature is in session.
Contacting Idaho's Senators and Congressmen
Past Legislative Watches
Legislative Watch is written by Albertine Amouzougan, a student at Boise State University.
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