21′ SB1534/HB0966 – Carringer /Roberts
ON APRIL 14, 2021, THE SENATE ADOPTED AMENDMENTS #1 AND #2 AND PASSED SENATE BILL 1534, AS AMENDED: Amendment #1 rewrites the bill. This amendment provides that:
(1) The state election commission, secretary of state, and coordinator of elections:
(A) May only accept funding from appropriations of public funds from the United States government, this state, or a county or municipality in this state;
(B) Are prohibited from accepting or expending any grant, gift, or funding from private persons, corporations, organizations, or political parties unless such acceptance or expenditure is approved by the speaker of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives; and
(C) May collect and expend fees authorized by law in this state; and
(2) The county election commission and the administrator of elections:
(A) May only accept funding as described above item (1)(A) above;
(B) Are prohibited from accepting or expending any grant, gift, or funding from private persons, corporations, organizations, partnerships, or political parties, unless such acceptance or expenditure is approved by the secretary of state or designee of the secretary of state; and
(C) May collect and expend fees authorized by law in this state.
This amendment specifies that it does not apply to election information advertising, donation of use of a location for voting purposes, volunteer labor by citizens of Tennessee, pens, sanitizer, or nominal items.
AMENDMENT #2 specifies that this bill's prohibitions against election commissions and officials accepting unapproved grants, gifts, and funding from private persons, corporations, organizations, or political parties only applies to grants, gifts, and funding for conducting an election.
TLRC supports this legislation. In view of what came out of the Dec 18, 2020 report on how the CTCL (Center for Technology and Civic Life) used the $350 million donated to the 501 (c) (3) by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife between September 1, 2020 and October 21, 2020, particularly in urban areas in four key battleground states: Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania for the hiring of election workers. Considering his decades-old overt demonstration of bias against conservative candidates and policies, this legislation is at least a year overdue.
TLRC Observed Process
This bill passed on a strictly partisan basis with the exception of Rep. Windle (D. Livingston) who voted with the Republicans.
There were good statements made by Chairman Robin Smith (R, Hixon) and Bruce Griffey, (R, Paris) in favor of the bill.