Sam Forstag, a lobbyist for the ACLU, said it’s unclear how Noland’s bill would remedy the concerns raised by the judges in the two successful challenges to BIPA, which he called “remarkably similar.”
“Whatever the sponsor’s intentions are with this bill, I think the clear impact of it is it will suppress folks’ ability to vote and access the ballot box,” Forstag said, adding, “This is BIPA 2.0 with a single concession, and that concession was not key to the numerous constitutional issues that led the court to strike down BIPA.”
Noland didn’t return multiple voice mails left on his personal phone asking about the bill. HB 406 is one of 15 bills scheduled to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday.
As an elections bill, it would typically have been assigned to the State Administration Committee, but House Speaker Rep. Wylie Galt, R-Martinsdale, said during a Monday press conference that it was assigned based on its proximity to the recent court case involving the state Attorney General’s office.
“That was the one that is in court right now, so with a pending lawsuit we thought Judiciary might be a little better with that option,” Galt said.
Still, it isn’t the only elections-related bill to wind up in the overloaded Judiciary Committee, which also heard 20 bills on Monday. Aside from those dealing with judicial system elections, House leadership also sent that committee a bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Kelly Kortum, which sought to combine the terms “absentee ballot” and “mail-in ballot” under a single definition in state law.