HB83: Committee holds bill that would increase local campaign disclosure


SALT LAKE CITY — A lawmaker wants to make financial disclosures in municipal elections a requirement statewide.

HB83, sponsored by Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City was discussed in the House Political Subdivision Standing Committee Tuesday afternoon. The bill demands a candidate running for a municipal office to have a campaign finance disclosure seven days before the primary election.

Rep. Hall proposing bill HB83 at the House Political Subdivision Standing Committee meeting on Tuesday.
Rep. Hall proposing bill HB83 at the House Political Subdivision Standing Committee meeting on Tuesday.

Hall explained that his attention for this bill came from a personal experience in which he was interested in an election that involved multiple individuals running for a municipal office.

When Hall went looking for the candidates’ financial disclosure reports two days away from the election, he could not find them. The city did not require a report, and voters had no information regarding where the candidate’s donations and money were being used.

While some cities have already chosen this as a requirement, other cities have not, and Hall resolved that the floor should have at least one report before the primary election.  “I just believe that it is good government to error on the side of disclosure, even if the fiscal note comes back as zero,” he said.

Rep. Dixon Pitcher, R-Ogden, was concerned with how the bill would affect the election process for rural areas where it might be a struggle to find individuals who are willing to run for and fill municipal positions.

“Let’s let the city councils decide what they want to do in this behalf rather than micromanaging their offices,” he said.

Rep. Kraig Powell agreed, and said that small towns might suffer under these stricter regulations. “These deadlines get missed all the time, and it would be a grave matter for a small town that finally gets someone on the ballot to be kicked off because of this requirement,” Powell said.

However, Powell also said that he has also asked the same questions that Hall was raising, and that even if the candidates do not have an opponent, citizens should still know where the money is coming from.

Justin Lee, deputy director of Elections in the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, supports the bill and said that it fills a need for voters to have information that could affect their decision. “It is one of the questions that we get a lot from voters – ‘Where are these reports?'”Lee said.

The bill was motioned to hold with a possibility of further discussion in the future.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email