Photo by Saiyna Bashir, The Capital Times

The Senate Committee on Elections, Election Process Reform voted by paper ballot today to pass a group of election-related bills in response to election integrity concerns following the 2020 presidential election.

The package of bills includes legislation to prohibit election officials from accepting private money to fund elections, fine voters who falsely claim indefinitely confined status on absentee ballot applications and require the Wisconsin Elections Commission to submit documents and communications for municipal clerks to the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules.

Senate Bills 934, 936, 938, 939, 941, 942 and 943 passed 3-2 along party lines. Senate Bills 718, 719 and 720 passed unanimously with minor amendments by committee Chair Kathy Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls. The amended bills relate to changes recommended by the Ethics Commission.

Bernier offered an amendment to put SB 718 into effect on Jan. 23, 2023. The bill would make changes to campaign finance regulations recommended by the Ethics Commission.

SB 719, a bill that would “reorganize statutes prohibiting and permitting certain activities by lobbyists and principals,” and the candidates and elected officials that interact with them, was amended to include the precise definition of a “school district administrator” under the bill.

SB 720 would make changes to the administration code of ethics recommended by the Ethics Commission, including eliminating a requirement that the Ethics Commission provide regular reports to the legislature about lobbying activities and post information received by the commission about pending contracts and orders.

The bill would change the definition of “security” in current statutes, a term used to categorize types of financial information required for filing with the Ethics Commission. The bill was amended to add “exchange-traded notes” under the list of types of financial information not included under the bill’s definition of “security.”

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