Can foreign owned corporations spend money in elections? How should the state regulate AI in campaigning? And can we speed up the post election day certification?

With November’s presidential election 4 months away— to the day— lawmakers know that significant changes to election law are risky.

"Every time we change the law here, back home, the county election directors and the people at work at the elections, they have different things they have to do,” said Rep. Brad Roae (R-6), the minority chair of State Government Committee. "So there's some point where we have to say we're not changing anything else until after the election.

Still, bills that tweak campaign protocol and clarify process without adding new steps have seen votes.

Hb 2433 got bipartisan support this week on the house floor— with 126 votes in favor, 76 opposed. If passed, corporations where a single foreign entity owns 1% or more of the business cannot spend money in elections.

Rep. Joe Webster (D-150), the bill’s sponsor, noted some voted against the bill out of concern the limits are too broad. For Webster, he sees large corporations like Amazon or Walmart being targeted with the legislation.

"If you're a U.S. citizen, you can donate. If you're a foreign citizen, you're not allowed. But when we get to the corporate level there's a loophole,” said Webster. "Who makes the rules in the United States of America? Americans. And that's what the bill's about."

The bill would go in effect 60 days after passage.

Hb 2473 was introduced and then voted on the next day in the House State Government committee. The bill sets post election deadlines in the courts for certifying elections. It passed on party lines—thought it did have bipartisan sponsorship.

"The problem is there's no teeth in the legislation. If the dates are not met, there's no consequence,” said Roae.

The bill would go into effect immediately if passed.

Last, HB 2353 bans the use of AI in campaigns to impersonate a candidate without their consent. Both republicans and democrats spoke on the need to regulate new technology, though some said the bill needed more clarity in some details.

"When you're dealing with political speech, I think the statute raises great concerns when you give the possibility of a court entering an order before the full outcome is heard before the court,” said Rep. Tim Bonner (R-17), a member of the State Government Committee. "Prior restraint on political speech is very dangerous territory."

The bill passed committee with a 22-3 vote in favor. If enacted, it would take effect in 60 days.

These bills have only been dealt with in the house. It will take votes from the state Senate for any of them to be put to action.

Other more controversial election items remain in the air with budget negotiations, such as pre-canvassing mail in ballots and requiring photo ID each time someone votes.