Substitute House Bill No. 5449 (sHB5449 File No. 488) seeks to amend the current laws regarding lobbyist contributions during legislative sessions. The bill expands the definition of "state office" to include the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Comptroller, State Treasurer, or Secretary of the State, and defines "state officer" as the individuals holding these positions. It also introduces the term "municipal office," which refers to elective offices at the local level, specifically excluding state senators and representatives. The bill prohibits lobbyists and lobbyist political committees from making or soliciting contributions to candidates or committees for the General Assembly, state offices, or municipal offices during legislative sessions. It also updates the language to be more inclusive, such as changing "chairman" to "chairperson" and removing gender-specific pronouns.

The bill outlines the procedures for the dissolution of exploratory committees, including the requirement for the treasurer to file a notice of intent to dissolve within fifteen days after a candidate declares their intent to seek a specific public office. It details how surplus funds should be handled, including returning contributions to lobbyists or donating them to charities if they were collected during a period when contributions from lobbyists were prohibited. Additionally, the bill addresses how to manage deficits and stipulates that if a candidate changes their mind and decides to run for state representative, the treasurer of the candidate committee must pay an amount equal to excess contributions to the General Fund. The bill, which includes both insertions of new legal language and deletions of old language, is set to become effective on October 1, 2024, and has no fiscal impact on the state or municipalities. It was passed by the Government Administration and Elections Committee with a unanimous vote.

Statutes affected:
Raised Bill: 9-608
GAE Joint Favorable: 9-608
File No. 488: 9-608