Three bills increase government transparency in Delaware

It’s been more than 20 years since Delaware Campaign Finance Laws were last updated, but things have now changed.

Gov. Jack Markell, D-Del., signed House Bill 300, House Bill 310 and Senate Bill 185 into law this week, creating more government transparency in Delaware. The new bills are right on time, since many organizations and companies have been quite vocal about the need for open government lately.

“These three pieces of legislation, taken together, will make our state government more open, more transparent, and ultimately, more accountable to the people we serve,” said Markell.

Here’s a break down of the three bills and how they will help.

House Bill 300 which is also known as the Delaware Elections Disclosure Act, closes a loophole with campaign advertisements, and also requires prompt reporting of third-party spending on campaign ads. In addition HB 300 will require greater disclosure from those who spend money to influence elections. This is expected to take effect January 1, 2013.

House Bill 310 will increase penalties for late filing of elections disclosure reports from $50 a month to $50 a day. However, this will be effective immediately while also establishing a $50 a day payment for incomplete campaign finance reports.

Finally, Senate Bill 185 will force lobbyists to be more transparent and require enhanced disclosure for lobbyists that mostly involve the issues they are lobbying, as well as resolutions and regulations effective also in January of 2013.

Senate President Pro Tem Anthony DeLuca, D-Newark, says residents will have better access to government business and other important information.  “It will be easier for citizens to track what lobbyists are doing in Dover, letting the public know who’s invested in the outcome of a bill,” said Deluca.

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