Nevada Legislature: Bill would loosen rules on political advertising

A Nevada lawmaker proposed a bill on Monday that would loosen rules on disclosing political advertising contributions involving clothing and inexpensive items.

Bill sponsor Sen. James Settelmeyer introduced Senate Bill 104 before the Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections.

The bill would exempt political candidates from reporting contributions of clothing and any items worth less than $5 apiece, such as campaign balloons and pencils.

Settelmeyer, R-Minden, said the bill is necessary because current state law is too stringent on minuscule items, and requiring disclosure about who paid for them is too difficult to enforce.

“I’m allowed two lines of script on this pen,” he said, holding a “Vote for Settelmeyer” pen. “So do I need to change one of those lines to say ‘paid for by’? That’s kind of the issue at hand.”

Current Nevada law requires candidates to disclose the name of a person or group that paid for a political advertisement and whether the candidate supports the message. Settelmeyer said the provision requires candidates to add the disclosure to mundane items such as candy or pens, which is not practical.

Nevada Press Association President Barry Smith said he didn’t see a problem with the bill.

“It’s just a practical thing that makes sense,” he said.

The bill is supported by Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who in an emailed statement said the proposal “provides clarity to the campaign reporting and disclosure process.”

Settelmeyer’s bill would not create exemptions for more traditional forms of political advertisements, including bumper stickers, radio and television advertisements, or yard signs.

Settelmeyer is also sponsoring Senate Bill 4, which would change local nonpartisan elections by giving candidates who win a majority of votes in a primary election the office without having to run in a general election.


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