Explainer: election bill HB 595 Skip to content

Explainer: election bill HB 595

HB 595 is a long and multi-faceted bill dealing with elections. Here is a ForwardKY Explainer with a list of its major provisions.

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HB 595 is a long and multi-faceted bill dealing with elections. Here is a ForwardKY Explainer with a list of its major provisions. Note especially numbers 12, 14, 16, and 17.

  1. Says that hearings of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance (KREF) must follow all the rules for administrative hearings, as outlined in KRS 13B.
  2. Adds a new type of campaign finance committee: An “Independent expenditure-only committee,” which means one (1) or more persons who receive unlimited contributions for the purpose of making only independent expenditures to support or oppose one (1) or more specific candidates or slates of candidates for nomination or election to any state, county, city, or district office.
  3. Defines “reasonable cause” for use later in the bill.
  4. Raises the daily fine for accepting a conciliation agreement from “up to $100 a day” to “up to $200 a day,” with the cap still being $5,000.
  5. Takes out the current process for a hearing before a judge, and replaces it with an administrative hearing by the Registry. (Thus the earlier point about KREF administrative hearings having to follow all the specifications in KRS 13B.)
  6. Allows fund-raising after an election to pay debts from a previous election, as long as it was for the same office.
  7. Requires a person acting as a campaign fund-raiser to follow all the requirements for a campaign treasurer.
  8. Requires federally-registered political committees to file their federal registration with KREF, and says that they must report both contributions and expenditures in support or opposition of Kentucky candidates.
  9. Says that a member of the General Assembly may utilize funds in his or her campaign account to pay for fees incurred from legal services while defending a matter arising from his or her campaign or election or the performance of his or her official duties.
  10. Changes the required-reporting threshold from $3,000 per election to $5,000 per election.
  11. And says that failure to file the “I intent to raise this much” form can result in a fine of up to $200 a day, not to exceed $5,000.
  12. Emphasizes the requirement for the “paid for by” disclaimer on all campaign materials and ads to be “presented in a clear and conspicuous manner to give the reader or observer adequate notice of the identity of the purchaser of the communication. A disclaimer does not comply with this section if the disclaimer is difficult to read or if the placement of the disclaimer is easily overlooked.”
  13. Limits expenditures on party headquarters to this list:
    • Leases, mortgages, insurance, property taxes, and legal expenses
    • Appliances and fixtures
    • Utilities, pest control, lawn care, security, cleaning, trash removal, and necessary equipment and supplies related thereto
    • Equipment for internet, telephone, cable or satellite television, or other communications services
    • Major and minor repairs to the political party headquarters, including but not limited to the facility's roof, foundation, and structure, and to the facility's plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems
    • Office supplies, including but not limited to desks, chairs, computers,1
      printers, copiers, paper, and ink
  1. Says that “any appointed or elected state office holder or any other person who knowingly violates the provisions of KRS 121.120(5) shall be guilty of a Class D felony. In the event a candidate has assumed office, upon a final judicial determination of guilt, his office shall be declared vacant and he shall forfeit all benefits which he would have been entitled to receive had he continued to serve.
  2. Says that any person who knowingly charges higher rates for political advertising than for regular advertising shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
  3. Says that “any candidate, slate of candidates, or committee that fails to comply with requests from the registry for records necessary to conduct audits pursuant to KRS 121.120 and Section 12 of this Act within ninety (90) days after the registry's request shall, unless the failure is due to reasonable cause as defined in subsection (19) of Section 2 of this Act, be fined not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and no more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each full month of noncompliance. The fine shall begin on the first day of the month beginning after the expiration of the ninety (90) days.”
  4. And finally, says that “any person acting as a candidate or slate of candidates by receiving contributions or making expenditures with a view to bringing about his or her nomination or election to public office, or filing papers to run for public office, or group of persons acting as a political issues committee, who knowingly fails to file the form described in subsection (1)(a) of Section 9 of this Act, or who knowingly files a form containing false information or to omit required information, shall be guilty of a Class D felony.”


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Bruce Maples

Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

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