Laws on election reform take effect  



AUGUSTA — A suite of laws sponsored by Sen. Louie Luchini, D-Ellsworth, designed to clean up our elections and promote financial transparency in politics took effect on June 16. The laws increase transparency around political spending and lobbying efforts and create greater efficiency and consistency in Maine elections. 

“It’s important for our democracy that we have a clear picture of the money in our politics,” said Luchini. “It’s also important to know who’s acting on behalf of an organization when they’re asking legislators to take a particular stance on an issue. This new set of laws will give the public more information about who is participating in the political process and greater clarity about which organizations support a candidate or cause.” 

One law increases transparency about state employees who participate in lobbying activities on behalf of their state agency or department by lowering the threshold for registration. Another law will improve reporting requirements for grassroots lobbying, ensuring that organizations that urge voters to support or oppose legislation are transparent about what they’re spending. A third law clarifies existing rules that govern reporting and registration requirements for political action committees (PACs) and ballot question committees. Governors-elect and their inauguration committees also will face increased financial reporting requirements so that the public can see who contributed and what debts the committee may owe when the governor takes office. 

Sen. Luchini also sponsored a law that requires election clerks to report the results from their municipality to the Secretary of State within two business days, rather than three, and to be transparent about whether absentee ballots will be processed ahead of Election Day. The law also gives elections clerks more tools to remove  

All non-emergency laws take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die, unless otherwise specified.  

Other laws championed by Sen. Luchini that took effect this year include measures to tackle abusive medical billing practicesimprove access to health caresupport Maine seniors and make long-term investments in high-speed reliable internet and career and technical education.  

Following Maine’s first reported case of COVID-19, Maine lawmakers passed a smart, responsible and targeted spending package and comprehensive COVID-19 response legislation, and expedited measures to support the health and well-being of Mainers during this public health crisis before adjourning early on March 17. All outstanding measures have been carried over for consideration during a possible special session later this year. 

 

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