Bill description: This bill prohibits public funds from being used to interfere with or influence an election.

Rating: +2

Analyst’s note: This bill is a near replica of House Bill 134 from earlier this legislative session. There are a handful of minor changes that do not change the substantive purpose of this bill. The bill eliminates the six months jail stipulation, reducing the severity of punishment for those who violate provisions of this chapter. This amended version no longer prohibits the use of mass communication just before an election. The bill also specifies the prohibition only applies to government entities, employees, officers or agents.

Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt? 

Government officials are finding new and sophisticated ways to commit tax dollars in attempts to sway the outcome of elections. IdahoReporter.com covered one such example of this practice in Dec. 2016. With hundreds of schools, municipalities, agencies and departments, each promoting their own ballot measures, there is no telling the savings to taxpayers and the impact on budgets by prohibiting this questionable practice. (+1)

Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability? 

Allowing government agencies to use taxpayer funds to campaign for their own causes is an affront to accountability. The practice is as unacceptable as elected officials using public funds to pay for propaganda to promote their own causes. This bill will prevent this unaccountable use of public funds. (+1)

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