DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL
Persuasion polls; false political communications. Defines a "persuasion poll" as a telephone survey that: (1) includes more than 100 calls; (2) references a candidate in any election or caucus; and (3) is designed to provide negative information about a candidate or to influence the person called to vote for or against a candidate. Prohibits a person from sponsoring, authorizing, conducting, or administering a persuasion poll unless the caller provides certain information at the beginning and the end of the call. Requires that if a candidate's committee neither sponsors nor authorizes a call, the caller must state that the call is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. Provides that a persuasion poll telephone call may not be made on the day of an election or within five days immediately preceding an election. Makes a violation of these provisions a Class B misdemeanor. Provides that a candidate, candidate's committee, regular party committee, political action committee, or legislative caucus committee that sponsors a persuasion poll that violates these provisions is subject to a civil penalty of up to three times the amount expended in sponsoring the poll. Provides that a person who authorizes, conducts, or administers a persuasion poll and who violates these provisions must pay a civil penalty of $50 for each offending call, up to a maximum civil penalty of $10,000 for each poll conducted, plus any investigative costs incurred. Makes it a Class A misdemeanor for a person to intentionally participate in the preparation, dissemination, or broadcast of paid political advertising or campaign material, or in the drafting of a letter to the editor, that: (1) concerns the personal or political character or act of a candidate; and (2) is designed to or tends to elect, injure, promote, or defeat the candidate; if the advertising or campaign material or the letter contains information or a statement that was false and the person knew of the falsity or acted with reckless disregard as to truth or falsity. Exempts a person who merely disseminates or broadcasts the material or letter in the normal course of business. Provides that a candidate for nomination or election to public office (if successful) forfeits the nomination or public office if the candidate commits a violation, unless the candidate's violation was trivial or occurred despite the candidate's good faith.