SENATE BILL NO. 278

April 19, 2023, Introduced by Senators CHANG, POLEHANKI, MCDONALD RIVET and GEISS and referred to the Committee on Elections and Ethics.

A bill to amend 1976 PA 388, entitled

"Michigan campaign finance act,"

by amending sections 3, 6, and 9 (MCL 169.203, 169.206, and 169.209), section 3 as amended by 2017 PA 119 and sections 6 and 9 as amended by 2019 PA 93.

the people of the state of michigan enact:

Sec. 3. (1) "Candidate" means an individual who meets 1 or more of the following criteria:

(a) Files a fee, an affidavit of incumbency, or a nominating petition for an elective office.

(b) Is nominated as a candidate for elective office by a political party caucus or convention and whose nomination is certified to the appropriate filing official.

(c) Receives a contribution, makes an expenditure, or gives consent for another person to receive a contribution or make an expenditure with a view to bringing about the individual's nomination or election to an elective office, whether or not the specific elective office for which the individual will seek nomination or election is known at the time the contribution is received or the expenditure is made.

(d) Is an officeholder who is the subject of a recall vote.

(e) Holds an elective office, unless the officeholder is constitutionally or legally barred from seeking reelection or fails to file for reelection to that office by the applicable filing deadline. An individual described in this subdivision is considered to be a candidate for reelection to that same office for the purposes of this act only.

For purposes of sections 61 to 71, "candidate" only means, in a primary election, a candidate for the office of governor and, in a general election, a candidate for the office of governor or lieutenant governor. However, the candidates for the office of governor and lieutenant governor of the same political party in a general election are considered as 1 candidate.

(2) "Candidate committee" means the committee designated in a candidate's filed statement of organization as that individual's candidate committee. A candidate committee must be under the control and direction of the candidate named in the same statement of organization. Notwithstanding subsection (4), (5), an individual shall form a candidate committee under section 21 if the individual becomes a candidate under subsection (1).

(3) "Caregiving expenses" means the costs of direct care, protection, and supervision of a child or other person with a disability or medical condition for whom an individual has direct caregiving responsibility. Caregiving expenses does not include private school tuition, medical expenses, tutoring services, or payments to a relative, unless the relative owns or operates a professional day-care or babysitting service and the cost of the service is no greater than the relative would otherwise charge.

(4) (3) "Closing date" means the date through which a campaign statement is required to be complete.

(5) (4) "Committee" means a person that receives contributions or makes expenditures for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence the action of the voters for or against the nomination or election of a candidate, the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question, or the qualification of a new political party, if contributions received total $500.00 or more in a calendar year or expenditures made total $500.00 or more in a calendar year. Except as restricted or prohibited by this act or other state or federal law, a committee may also make other lawful disbursements. An individual, other than a candidate, does not constitute a committee. A person, other than a committee registered under this act, making an expenditure to a ballot question committee or an independent expenditure committee, shall is not, for that reason, be considered a committee or be required to file a report for the purposes of this act unless the person solicits or receives contributions for the purpose of making an expenditure to that ballot question committee or independent expenditure committee.

Sec. 6. (1) "Expenditure" means a payment, donation, loan, or promise of payment of money or anything of ascertainable monetary value for goods, materials, services, or facilities in assistance of, or in opposition to, the nomination or election of a candidate, the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question, or the qualification of a new political party. Expenditure includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

(a) A contribution or a transfer of anything of ascertainable monetary value for purposes of influencing the nomination or election of a candidate, the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question, or the qualification of a new political party.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (2)(f) or (g), an expenditure for voter registration or get-out-the-vote activities made by a person who sponsors or finances the activity or who is identified by name with the activity.

(c) Except as provided in subsection (2)(f) or (g), an expenditure made for poll watchers, challengers, distribution of election day literature, canvassing of voters to get out the vote, or transporting voters to the polls.

(d) Except as provided in subsection (2)(c), the cost of establishing and administering a payroll deduction plan to collect and deliver a contribution to a committee.

(e) Caregiving expenses that result directly from a candidate engaging in campaign activities.

(2) Expenditure does not include any of the following:

(a) An expenditure for communication by a person with the person's paid members or shareholders and those individuals who can be solicited for contributions to a separate segregated fund under section 55.

(b) An expenditure for communication on a subject or issue if the communication does not support or oppose a ballot question or candidate by name or clear inference.

(c) An expenditure for the establishment or administration of, or solicitation, collection, or transfer of contributions to, a separate segregated fund, or for mailing or shipping of an item or prize purchased under section 55(8), if that expenditure was made by a connected organization of that separate segregated fund as authorized under section 55.

(d) An expenditure by a broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical or publication for a news story, commentary, or editorial in support of or opposition to a candidate for elective office or a ballot question in the regular course of publication or broadcasting.

(e) An offer or tender of an expenditure if expressly and unconditionally rejected or returned.

(f) An expenditure for nonpartisan voter registration or nonpartisan get-out-the-vote activities made by an organization that is exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code, 26 USC 501, or any successor statute.

(g) An expenditure for nonpartisan voter registration or nonpartisan get-out-the-vote activities performed under chapter XXIII of the Michigan election law, 1954 PA 116, MCL 168.491 to 168.523a, by the secretary of state and other registration officials who are identified by name with the activity.

(h) An expenditure by a state central committee of a political party or a person controlled by a state central committee of a political party for the construction, purchase, or renovation of 1 or more office facilities in Ingham County if the facility is not constructed, purchased, or renovated for the purpose of influencing the election of a candidate in a particular election. Items excluded from the definition of expenditure under this subdivision include expenditures approved in Federal Election Commission advisory opinions 1993-9, 2001-1, and 2001-12 as allowable expenditures under the federal election campaign act of 1971, 52 USC 30101 to 30146, and regulations promulgated under that act, regardless of whether those advisory opinions have been superseded.

(i) Except only for the purposes of section 57, an expenditure to or for a federal candidate or a federal committee.

(j) Except only for the purposes of section 47, an expenditure for a communication if the communication does not in express terms advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate so as to restrict the application of this act to communications containing express words of advocacy of election or defeat, such as "vote for", "elect", "support", "cast your ballot for", "Smith for governor", "vote against", "defeat", or "reject".

Sec. 9. (1) "Incidental expense" means an expenditure that is an ordinary and necessary expense, paid or incurred in carrying out the business of an elective office. Incidental expense includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

(a) A disbursement necessary to assist, serve, or communicate with a constituent.

(b) A disbursement for equipment, furnishings, or supplies for the office of the public official.

(c) A disbursement for a district office if the district office is not used for campaign-related activity.

(d) A disbursement for the public official or his or her the public official's staff, or both, to attend a conference, meeting, reception, or other similar event.

(e) A disbursement to maintain a publicly owned residence or a temporary residence at the seat of government.

(f) An unreimbursed disbursement for travel, lodging, meals, or other expenses incurred by the public official, a member of the public official's immediate family, or a member of the public official's staff in carrying out the business of the elective office.

(g) A donation to a tax-exempt charitable organization, including, but not limited to, the purchase of tickets to charitable or civic events, as long as the candidate is not an officer or director of or does not receive compensation, either directly or indirectly, from that organization.

(h) A disbursement to a ballot question committee.

(i) A purchase of tickets for use by that public official and members of his or her the public official's immediate family and staff to a fund-raising event sponsored by a candidate committee, independent committee, political party committee, or a political committee that does not exceed $100.00 per committee in any calendar year.

(j) A disbursement for an educational course or seminar that maintains or improves skills employed by the public official in carrying out the business of the elective office.

(k) A purchase of advertisements in testimonials, program books, souvenir books, or other publications if the advertisement does not support or oppose the nomination or election of a candidate.

(l) A disbursement for consultation, research, polling, and photographic services not related to a campaign.

(m) A fee paid to a fraternal, veteran, or other service organization.

(n) A payment of a tax liability incurred as a result of authorized transactions by the candidate committee of the public official.

(o) A fee for accounting, professional, or administrative services for the candidate committee of the public official.

(p) A debt or obligation incurred by the candidate committee of a public official for a disbursement authorized by subdivisions (a) to (o), if the debt or obligation was reported in the candidate committee report filed for the year in which the debt or obligation arose.

(q) Caregiving expenses that result directly from a public official carrying out the business of an elective office.

(2) "Independent expenditure" means an expenditure by a person if the expenditure is not made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a ballot question committee or a candidate, a candidate committee or its agents, or a political party committee or its agents, and if the expenditure is not a contribution to a committee.

(3) "Independent expenditure committee" means a committee formed under section 24b for the purpose of making independent expenditures under this act.

(4) "In-kind contribution or expenditure" means a contribution or expenditure other than money.

(5) "Loan" means a transfer of money, property, or anything of ascertainable monetary value in exchange for an obligation, conditional or not, to repay in whole or in part.

(6) "Local ballot question" means a ballot question of a local unit of government to be voted upon in that local unit of government.

(7) "Local elective office" means an elective office at the local unit of government level. Local elective office also includes judge of the court of appeals, judge of the circuit court, judge of the district court, judge of the probate court, and judge of a municipal court.

(8) "Local unit of government" means a district, authority, county, city, village, township, board, school district, intermediate school district, or community college district.