Despite seemingly widespread agreement between and among Vermont state legislators and Governor Shumlin that contributions to Vermont Super PACs should be capped in principle, it now appears unlikely that Senate Bill 82 will make it to the Governor’s desk in 2013. The two chambers of the state legislature were unable to agree on the specifics of the legislation last week, and according to press reports, time has run out for the appointed conferees to work out a compromise with the legislative session drawing to a close. The sticking point still appears to be whether the Super PAC contribution limit should be conditioned on a ruling in a pending campaign finance appeal, Vermont Right to Life Committee, Inc. v. Sorrell, that validates such a law.
Some conference committee members have expressed a willingness to pick up where they left off in 2014, but the Chair of the Senate Government Operations Committee has indicated that changes to the contribution limits would not be implemented in time to affect the 2014 statewide election. So at least for the next election cycle, the Vermont Attorney General’s guidance remains in effect: contribution limits will not be enforced against Super PACs, but they are nonetheless subject to registration and reporting requirements.