GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2007

 

 

SESSION LAW 2007-510

HOUSE BILL 1828

 

 

AN ACT to strengthen the matching funds provision of the judicial public campaign act; and to appropriate funds for implementation.

 

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

 

SECTION 1.(a)  G.S. 163-278.66 reads as rewritten:

" 163-278.66.  Reporting requirements.

(a)       Reporting by Noncertified Candidates and Independent Expenditure Entities. - Any noncertified candidate with a certified opponent shall report total income, expenses, and obligations to the Board by facsimile machine or electronically within 24 hours after the total amount of campaign expenditures or obligations made, or funds raised or borrowed, exceeds eighty percent (80%) of the trigger for rescue matching funds as defined in G.S. 163-278.62(18). Any entity making independent expenditures in support of or opposition to a certified candidate or in support of a candidate opposing a certified candidate candidate, or paying for electioneering communications, referring to one of those candidates, shall report the total funds received, spent, or obligated for those expenditures or payments to the Board by facsimile machine or electronically within 24 hours after the total amount of expenditures or obligations made, or funds raised or borrowed, for the purpose of making the independent expenditures, expenditures or electioneering communications exceeds five thousand dollars ($5,000). After this 24-hour filing, the noncertified candidate or independent expenditure other reporting entity shall comply with an expedited reporting schedule by filing additional reports after receiving each additional amount in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or after making or obligating to make each additional expenditure(s) or payment(s) in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000). The schedule and forms for reports required by this subsection shall be made according to procedures developed by the Board.

(b)       Reporting by Participating and Certified Candidates. - Notwithstanding other provisions of law, participating and certified candidates shall report any money received, including all previously unreported qualifying contributions, all campaign expenditures, obligations, and related activities to the Board according to procedures developed by the Board. A certified candidate who ceases to be certified or ceases to be a candidate or who loses an election shall file a final report with the Board and return any unspent revenues received from the Fund. In developing these procedures, the Board shall utilize existing campaign reporting procedures whenever practical.

(c)       Timely Access to Reports. - The Board shall ensure prompt public access to the reports received in accordance with this Article. The Board may utilize electronic means of reporting and storing information."

SECTION 1.(b)  G.S. 163-278.67 reads as rewritten:

" 163-278.67.  Rescue Matching funds.

(a)       When Rescue Matching Funds Become Available. - When any report or group of reports shows that "funds in opposition to a certified candidate or in support of an opponent to that candidate" as described in this section, exceed the trigger for rescue matching funds as defined in G.S. 163-278.62(18), the Board shall issue immediately to that certified candidate an additional amount equal to the reported excess within the limits set forth in this section. "Funds in opposition to a certified candidate or in support of an opponent to that candidate" shall be equal to the sum of the following: subdivisions (1) and (2) as follows:

(1)       Campaign expenditures or obligations made, or funds raised or borrowed, whichever is greater, reported by any one uncertified opponent of a certified candidate. Where a certified candidate has more than one uncertified opponent, the measure shall be taken from the uncertified candidate showing the highest relevant dollar amount.

(2)       The sum of all expenditures reported in accordance with G.S. 163-278.66 of entities making independent expenditures in opposition to the certified candidate or in support of any opponent of that certified candidate.

(1)       The greater of the following:

a.         Campaign expenditures or obligations made, or funds raised or borrowed, whichever is greater, reported by any one nonparticipating candidate who is an opponent of a certified candidate. Where a certified candidate has more than one nonparticipating candidate as an opponent, the measure shall be taken from the nonparticipating candidate showing the highest relevant dollar amount.

b.         The funds distributed in accordance with G.S. 163-278.65(b) to a certified opponent of the certified candidate.

(2)       The aggregate total of all expenditures and payments reported in accordance with G.S. 163-278.66(a) of entities making independent expenditures or electioneering communications in opposition to the certified candidate or in support of any opponent of that certified candidate.

(b)       Limit on Rescue Matching Funds in Contested Primary. - Total rescue matching funds to a certified candidate in a contested primary shall be limited to an amount equal to two times the maximum qualifying contributions for the office sought.

(c)       Limit on Rescue Matching Funds in Contested General Election. - Total rescue matching funds to a certified candidate in a contested general election shall be limited to an amount equal to two times the amount described in G.S. 163-278.65(b)(4).

(d)       Determinations by Board. - In the case of electioneering communications, the Board shall determine which candidate, if any, is entitled to receive matching funds as a result of the communication. The Board shall issue matching funds based on the communication only if it ascertains that the communication is susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate. In making its determination, the Board shall not consider evidence external to the communication itself of the intent of the sponsor or the effect of the communication. The Board shall notify each candidate it determines is entitled to receive matching funds based on those communications, the sponsor of those communications, and any candidate who is an opponent of the candidate it determines is entitled to the matching funds. The Board shall give the sponsor of the communication and any opposing candidate an adequate opportunity to rebut the determination of the Board. In considering the rebuttal, all candidates in the race and the sponsor shall be given adequate and equal opportunity to be heard. The Board shall adopt procedures for implementing this subsection, balancing in those procedures adequacy of opportunity to rebut and adequacy and equality of opportunity to be heard on the rebuttal with the need to expedite the decision on awarding matching funds. The Board shall distribute the matching funds, if any, at the conclusion of its process.

(e)       Proportional Measuring of Multicandidate Communications. - In calculating the amount of matching funds a certified candidate is eligible to receive under this section, the Board shall include the proportion of expenditures, obligations, or payments for multicandidate communications that pertain to the candidate."

SECTION 1.(c)  Chapter 163 of the General Statutes is amended by deleting the term "rescue" wherever it appears and substituting the term "matching."

SECTION 1.(d)  G.S. 163-278.62 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(5a)    Electioneering communication. - As defined in G.S. 163-278.80 and G.S. 163-278.90, except that it is made during the period beginning 30 days before absentee ballots become available for a primary and ending on primary election day and during the period 60 days before absentee ballots become available for a general election and ending on general election day."

SECTION 2.  G.S. 163-278.110 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(8)      Except as otherwise provided in this Article, the definitions in Article 22A of this Chapter apply in this Article."

SECTION 3.(a)  There is appropriated from the General Fund to the State Board of Elections for the 2007-2008 fiscal year the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for the implementation of this act.

SECTION 3.(b)  This section becomes effective July 1, 2007.

SECTION 4.  Except as otherwise provided in this act, this act is effective when it becomes law.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 2nd day of August, 2007.

 

 

                                                                    s/ Beverly E. Perdue

                                                                         President of the Senate

 

 

                                                                    s/ Joe Hackney

                                                                         Speaker of the House of Representatives

 

 

                                                                    s/ Michael F. Easley

                                                                         Governor

 

 

Approved 1:10 p.m. this 30th day of August, 2007