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PRINTER'S NO. 135
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
178
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY BROWNE, GORDNER, MENSCH, YAW, FOLMER, BAKER,
SCAVELLO, AUMENT, DiSANTO, COSTA, HUGHES, BOSCOLA, FONTANA,
SANTARSIERO, BREWSTER, HAYWOOD, FARNESE, SCHWANK, KEARNEY AND
TARTAGLIONE, FEBRUARY 1, 2019
REFERRED TO STATE GOVERNMENT, FEBRUARY 1, 2019
AN ACT
Amending the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), entitled
"An act concerning elections, including general, municipal,
special and primary elections, the nomination of candidates,
primary and election expenses and election contests; creating
and defining membership of county boards of elections;
imposing duties upon the Secretary of the Commonwealth,
courts, county boards of elections, county commissioners;
imposing penalties for violation of the act, and codifying,
revising and consolidating the laws relating thereto; and
repealing certain acts and parts of acts relating to
elections," in primary and election expenses, further
providing for reporting by candidate and political committees
and other persons, for late contributions and independent
expenditures and for place of filing, providing for manner of
filing and for inability to file reports or statements
electronically by deadline and further providing for late
filing fee and certificate of filing and for additional
powers and duties of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 1626 of the act of June 3, 1937
(P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania Election Code, is
amended by adding a subsection to read:
Section 1626. Reporting by Candidate and Political
Committees and other Persons.--
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* * *
(k) (1) All campaign finance reports required to be filed
with the Secretary of the Commonwealth shall be filed
electronically using the electronic filing system developed by
the Secretary of the Commonwealth that is consistent with the
purposes of this subsection. A campaign finance report submitted
electronically must:
(i) be made under oath or equivalent affirmation;
(ii) require an electronic signature from the treasurer or
assistant treasurer at the time of the filing of the campaign
finance report. In addition, a report filed by a political
committee, authorized by a candidate and created solely for the
purpose of influencing an election on behalf of that candidate
must be signed, using an electronic signature, under oath or
equivalent affirmation by the candidate that, to the best of the
candidate's knowledge, the political committee has not violated
a provision of this act; and
(iii) be made subject to the penalties for perjury.
(2) (i) A candidate or political committee not able to file
electronically the report or statement required by this
subsection shall request an exemption from the Secretary of the
Commonwealth. The candidate or political committee upon approval
of the Secretary of the Commonwealth shall file reports and
statements on forms developed by the Secretary of the
Commonwealth.
(ii) In order to request an exemption for electronic
submissions or reports or statements, the candidate or political
committee must demonstrate technological hardship.
Section 2. Sections 1628 and 1631(1) of the act are amended
to read:
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Section 1628. Late Contributions and Independent
Expenditures.--Any candidate or political committee, authorized
by a candidate and created solely for the purpose of influencing
an election on behalf of that candidate, which receives any
contribution or pledge of five hundred dollars ($500) or more,
and any person making an independent expenditure, as defined by
this act, of five hundred dollars ($500) or more after the final
pre-election report has been deemed completed shall report such
contribution, pledge or expenditure to the appropriate
supervisor. Such report shall be sent by the candidate, chairman
or treasurer of the political committee within twenty-four (24)
hours of receipt of the contribution. It shall be the duty of
the supervisor to confirm the substance of such report. [The
report shall be made by telegram, mailgram, overnight mail or
facsimile transmission.] The reports filed with the Secretary of
the Commonwealth shall be filed electronically in accordance
with section 1631.1. Any candidate in his own behalf, or
chairman, treasurer or candidate in behalf of the political
committee may also comply with this section by appearing
personally before such supervisor and reporting such late
contributions or pledges.
Section 1631. Place of Filing.--
Any statement or report required by this article to be filed,
shall be done in the following manner:
(1) (i) Any candidate, individual, or committee required to
file a report concerning any candidate shall file that statement
or report in the office of the supervisor with whom the
candidate filed a nomination paper, nomination certificate,
nomination petitions or with the supervisor with whom the
candidate would have filed such if he had sought nomination in
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that manner.
[(ii) All candidates and political committees, authorized by
candidates and created solely for the purpose of influencing the
election of such candidates, who must file reports with the
Secretary of the Commonwealth, shall also file copies of their
reports in the county in which the candidate resides.]
(ii) All candidates and political committees, authorized by
candidates and created solely for the purpose of influencing the
election of such candidates, must only file campaign finance
reports electronically with the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
* * *
Section 3. The act is amended by adding sections to read:
Section 1631.1. Manner of Filing.--
(a) All campaign finance reports and statements required to
be filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth pursuant to
sections 1626, 1627, 1628 and 1641 shall be filed with the
Secretary of the Commonwealth using the electronic filing system
developed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth .
(b) A campaign finance report or statement filed
electronically shall:
(1) be made subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. ยง 4904
(relating to unsworn falsification to authorities);
(2) include the electronic signature of the treasurer or
assistant treasurer of the political committee serving at the
time of the filing of the campaign finance report or statement;
and
(3) for a report or statement filed by a candidate or a
candidate's political committee, include the electronic
signature of the candidate, stating that, to the best of the
candidate's knowledge, the political committee has not violated
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a provision of this act.
(c) (1) A principal may authorize another person to prepare
the contents of the report or statement, including entry of data
into the electronic filing system as required under subsection
(a).
(2) Each principal authorizing another to act under
paragraph (1) must:
(i) review the contents of the report or statement prepared
under paragraph (1); and
(ii) file with the electronic filing system the approval of
the contents of the report or statement and verification of its
accuracy, in accordance with subsection (b). The approval shall
be transmitted personally by the principal and not on the
principal's behalf by any other person.
(3) No report or statement shall be considered complete or
filed until all necessary approvals and verifications shall have
been submitted by each principal required to file.
(4) As used in this subsection, "principal" shall mean any
person required to file any report or statement electronically
with the Secretary of the Commonwealth in accordance with this
section.
Section 1631.2. Inability to File Reports or Statements
Electronically by Deadline.--
(a) All reports or statements filed with the Secretary of
the Commonwealth under section 1631.1 are subject to the
following:
(1) If a candidate or political committee cannot file a
report or statement on the day the report or statement is due
because of the unavailability of the Department of State's
electronic filing system at the time the candidate or political
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committee attempts to file the report or statement, the
principal shall immediately notify the Department of State in a
manner designated by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. If the
website is unavailable and the candidate or political committee
has notified the department, the candidate or political
committee shall have until 11:59 o'clock P.M. on the next
business day following the deadline to file the report or
statement electronically and the principal shall file a
statement affirming that the principal was unable to file the
report or statement on time because of the unavailability of the
Department of State's electronic filing system at the time the
principal attempted to file the report or statement on the day
the report or statement was due. The affirmation statement shall
be due at the same time as the statement or report filed under
this subsection. The report or statement shall not be considered
filed until the affirmation statement is filed.
(2) If a candidate or political committee is unable to file
as required under paragraph (1) because the Department of
State's electronic filing system remains unavailable, the
principal shall notify the Department of State each business day
a report or statement cannot be filed due to the unavailability
of the Department of State's electronic filing system. The
candidate or political committee shall have until the following
business day to electronically file the report or statement or
notify the Department of State a second time of the
inaccessibility of the department's electronic filing system.
The principal shall file a statement affirming that the
principal was unable to file the report or statement on time
because of the unavailability of the Department of State's
electronic filing system. The affirmation statement shall be
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due at the same time as the statement or report filed under this
subsection. The report or statement shall not be considered
filed until the affirmation statement is filed.
(b) The Department of State may provide for an alternative
method of electronic filing if the department's electronic
filing system remains unavailable.
(c) For cause shown, the Secretary of the Commonwealth may
waive late filing fees for reports or statements filed after the
deadline but which are the subject of notifications as
prescribed by this section.
(d) As used in this section, "unavailability of the
Department of State's electronic filing system" shall mean a
failure of the system within the Department of State's technical
environment that does not allow access to the system by an
individual. The term does not include:
(1) a network issue between the user's computer and the
Department of State's environment; or
(2) a failure of any part of the user's computer or internal
network.
Section 4. Section 1632(a) of the act is amended to read:
Section 1632. Late Filing Fee; Certificate of Filing.--
(a) [A late filing fee for each report or statement of
expenditures and contributions which is not filed within the
prescribed period shall be imposed as follows. Such fee shall be
ten dollars ($10) for each day or part of a day excluding
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays that a report is overdue. An
additional fee of ten dollars ($10) is due for each of the first
six (6) days that a report is overdue. The maximum fee payable
with respect to a single report is two hundred fifty dollars
($250). A supervisor shall receive an overdue report or
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statement even if any late filing fee due has not been paid but
the report or statement shall not be considered filed until all
fees have been paid upon the receipt by the supervisor of an
overdue report. No further late filing fees shall be incurred
notwithstanding the fact that the report or statement is not
considered filed. The late filing fee is the personal liability
of the candidate or treasurer of a political committee and
cannot be paid from contributions to the candidate or committee,
nor may such fee be considered an expenditure. A report or
statement of expenditures and contributions shall be deemed to
have been filed within the prescribed time if the letter
transmitting the report or statement which is received by the
supervisor is transmitted by first class mail and is postmarked
by the United States Postal Service on the day prior to the
final day on which the report or statement is to be received:
Provided, That this sentence shall not be applicable to the
reporting requirements contained in section 1628.] For reports
or statements required to be electronically filed with the
Secretary of the Commonwealth, the penalty for each report or
statement that is not filed within the prescribed period shall
be fifty dollars ($50) a day for the first six (6) days the
report or statement is late and one hundred dollars ($100) a day
for day seven (7) and each day thereafter. The maximum penalty
for late reports or statements is two thousand dollars ($2,000)
for each required filing. The late filing fee shall be the
personal responsibility of the candidate or treasurer of a
political committee and cannot be paid from contributions to the
candidate or committee nor may the fee be considered an
expenditure. The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall receive an
overdue report or statement notwithstanding whether a late
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filing fee due has not been paid. A report or statement shall
not be considered filed until all fees have been paid upon the
receipt by the Secretary of the Commonwealth of an overdue
report or statement.
* * *
Section 5. Section 1640 of the act is amended to read:
Section 1640. Additional Powers and Duties of the Secretary
of the Commonwealth.--The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall
have the following additional powers and duties:
(1) To serve as the State clearing house for information
concerning the administration of this act.
(2) To prescribe suitable rules and regulations to carry out
the provisions of this act.
(3) To develop the prescribed forms required by the
provisions of this article for the making of the reports and
statements required to be filed with the supervisor.
(4) To prepare a manual setting forth recommended uniform
methods of bookkeeping and reporting which shall be furnished by
the supervisor to the person required to file such reports and
statements as required by this article.
(5) To examine the contributions to State legislative and
Statewide candidates and publish a list of all those political
committees who have contributed to candidates and who have
failed to file reports as required by this act within six (6)
days of their failure to comply.
(6) To maintain a searchable computer database and
electronic reporting system that contains the information
necessary for the proper administration of this article,
including information on contributions and expenditures by all
candidates and all political committees and distribution of
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money, and including public access through the Internet. The
database must be designed with an emergency recovery system to
ensure that campaign expense records are not lost in the case of
an emergency, natural disaster or other event that could cause
the system to malfunction.
(7) To establish a training program on the electronic
reporting system and make it available to a candidate or
political committee.
(8) To ensure all information contained in a statement
filed, that is not on the electronic reporting system, be
entered into the electronic reporting system as soon as
practicable but no later than four (4) business days after its
receipt by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
(9) The Department of State shall issue to the registrant an
electronic receipt that includes a confirmation number and the
date and time of filing.
Section 6. The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall transmit
notice to the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in
the Pennsylvania Bulletin when the electronic filing system
developed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth is available for
use.
Section 7. This act shall take effect 90 days after
publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin of the notice under
section 6.
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