State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
Madison- State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) released the following statements after the Senate approved Senate Bill 655, modernizing Wisconsin’s Campaign Finance laws to reflect advancements in technology, codify state law and federal law, update outdated statutory provisions, and solidify best practices into state law.
“SB 655 is a modernization and housekeeping bill,” said Lazich. “The bill makes overdue changes to Wisconsin Election and Campaign Finance law by updating sections of statues that are dated or have been struck down by the courts.”
The Senate Committee on Elections and Urban Affairs, chaired by Senator Lazich heard extensive commentary about SB 655 and amended the bill after the testimony, gaining unanimous committee vote for the amendment.
“I worked closely with the Senator Miller on Senate Amendment 1. After having time to review the provisions in the bill about internet activity regulation, I expected the bill would receive bi-partisan support from the State Senate.”
The bill adopts Federal Election Commission regulations governing internet activity. The bill makes clear that individuals acting on their own behalf or not compensated for their internet activity do not have to register for making campaign contributions or disbursements. Specifically the bill is about blogs, Facebook, or other non-compensated free speech on the internet.
“The bill clearly protects First Amendment online speech from government regulation. It is crucial to our free society that we protect the ability of people to express points of view about elections and issues of the day.”
Existing law prohibits lobbyists from making contributions prior to the legislature concluding its final floor period or while in special or extraordinary session. SB 655 does not make changes to that prohibition.
“The bill reflects adoption of the federal MOVE Act during the last session. Accusation that this will open the flood gates to lobbyist contributions during the legislative session are false and fear mongering by Senate Democrats.”
SB 655 changes the registration requirement thresholds to comply with court cases and recommendations by the GAB. The bill increases the registration requirement for referenda activity from $750 to $2,500 and increases the registration threshold for committees and individuals engaging in express advocacy to $300.
Senate Amendment 1 to SB 655 allows expenditures up to $20,000 or 20% of prior year’s funds for solicitation efforts. Initially SB 655 eliminated the cap. Senate Amendment 1 removed that provision and embraced bi-partisan language from the Assembly.
“This is a fair-minded, housekeeping bill that modernizes Wisconsin campaign finance law and we negotiated changes with democrats in good faith.”