Bill May Close Loopholes in Sunshine Law
Kuna is the only levy on the ballot in the Treasure Valley to have failed. All others in the region passed by landslide margins of 20 to 40 points (60-71 percent). So what happened? Voter turnout was extremely low with just 2,193 Kuna voters turning out. But questions have been raised about other, possibly influential, actions, especially with a race with a margin of only 93 votes.
Voters not only saw signs on Tuesday, March 11 as they went to the polls telling them to “Kuna Vote NO to Higher Taxes March 11th,” but residents also reported receiving letters in the mail with the same information. Some have called these signs and letters misleading due to the fact that the failed levy would not have raised the current level of taxes, only maintained the current level of property taxes. This led many to think they were voting against having their taxes raised.
Efforts by Kuna Melba News to find who paid for these signs and letters have met with resistance. Michael Law, a Kuna school board trustee who was publically against the levy said he had nothing to do with the signs but he knows who is. Another resident who spoke with us said he knows as well but was unwilling to pass that information on to us.
A bill that has passed the Idaho House (H 622) that amends the existing sunshine law may put an end to anonymous funding of political candidates or measures. It revises the definition of “nonbusiness entity” to include any nonbusiness entity that is not a political committee spending more than $1,000 in a calendar year must file a statement with the state. The statement must include names and addresses of principal officer or directors, names of persons who contribute more than $500 in either of the previous two years.
The bill now will need to be passed by the senate before it goes to the Governor’s desk to be signed in to law.
It is unknown whether or not the signs produced would have surpassed the expenditure levels in a small community like Kuna. In that case, anonymous activity misleading voters can and probably will continue.