PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: TITLE 390 WAC, to consider providing amendatory language addressing political advertising, including but not limited to telephone and internet communications and public opinion polls; and to consider amendatory language addressing disclosure of "top five contributors." Rules that may be under consideration for possible rule making include but are not limited to WAC 390-05-290 Definition -- Political advertising, 390-18-010 Advertising, political advertising, electioneering communications, and independent expenditures, and 390-18-025 Advertising -- Identification of "top five contributors."
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 42.17.370.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: A petition for rule making dated October 12, 2009, was submitted under RCW 34.05.330 to the public disclosure commission. The commission considered the petition at its December 3, 2009, meeting. The petition concerned the subjects of possible rule making listed above and the three above-referenced rules in TITLE 390 WAC. The petition requested the commission to initiate rule making to adopt rule language under TITLE 390 WAC for the purpose of requiring additional disclosure under chapter 42.17 RCW of information concerning political advertising and concerning "top five contributors."
At the December meeting the petitioner's representative explained that while the petition included suggestions for possible amendatory language for WAC 390-05-290, 390-18-010 and 390-18-025, the suggestions were primarily designed to initiate a rule-making process. The CR-101 process was noted as the first step in a typical rule-making process. The commission also noted that a bill pending in the state legislature (SHB 2016) also concerns a subject in the petition ("top five contributors.")
Following consideration of the materials and presentations from the petitioner's representative and agency staff, and considering one written comment from the public, the commission determined to address the concerns raised in the petition by initiating the rule-making process and filing a CR-101.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: None. The commission is aware that there is currently a discussion at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) concerning states' abilities to regulate automated campaign telephone calls ("robocalls") and the commission will be watching the outcome of that process, to the extent it may affect any of the subjects raised in the petition.
Process for Developing New Rule: The commission is currently taking additional public comment on the petition. A copy of the petition is located at www.pdc.wa.gov under "Laws and Rules" (Rulemaking Activity 2009) and with the October 22, 2009, and December 3, 2009, meeting agendas under "Commission Meetings" (Commission Meetings Agendas and Materials). The rules referenced in the petition are also listed in a news release available on the PDC web site under "PDC News."
The agency will also schedule a stakeholder meeting on January 13, 2010, to seek public comment on the subjects raised in the petition. Because the commission will consider the possible impact of bills considered or enacted in the 2010 legislative session on the rule-making subjects in the petition, the commission will likely not decide if it will propose any amendatory language to TITLE 390 WAC through filing a CR-102 or proceed with other rule-making steps until after the 2010 session adjourns.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Assistant Director Doug Ellis, Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, P.O. Box 40908, Olympia, WA 98504-0908, (360) 664-2735, toll-free 1-877-601-2828, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 18, 2009