Parnell signs bill changing disclosure rules into law

Governor Sean Parnell has signed a bill easing the state’s requirement for certain political candidates to file electronic disclosure information electronically.

The governor signed House Bill 311 on Monday, five days after it passed both chambers of the Alaska Legislature.

The bill provides an exemption to the electronic reporting rule for candidates who have no broadband Internet access or personal computer at their primary residence. It also delays the requirement from taking effect for one year – until February 2013 – and prevents the Alaska Public Offices Commission from changing requirements in the middle of an election cycle.

The electronic reporting requirement only applies to candidates for state office and municipal candidates in communities of 15-thousand or more people.

The bill breezed through the legislature last week ahead of Wednesday deadline for candidates to file their first disclosure reports of 2012 and their final reports of 2011. Many lawmakers expressed frustration at the online filing system developed by the Public Offices Commission, calling it slow, clunky and hard to use.

HB 311 modifies regulations the legislature adopted in 2007, in response to a federal corruption probe that ensnared several sitting lawmakers.