Clean Election Update by Julie Archer

February 24, 2006

Fate of Clean Elections Uncertain

By Julie Archer, WVEC Lobbyist / WV-CAG

Although by most accounts the WV Public Campaign Financing Act (SB124) appears dead for this session, we are still holding out hope that the bill will be taken up and voted on by the Senate Finance Committee. The bill was on the committee’s agenda Thursday morning so members could hear testimony from Todd Lang, the executive director of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission in Arizona, one of the nation’s pioneering Clean Elections state’s.

Todd’s appearance before the committee was a boost to our efforts, as he spoke about the success and popularity of Clean Elections in Arizona, and we are extremely grateful to the Reform Institute for arranging and sponsoring Todd’s visit to West Virginia. We are also grateful to Senator Brooks McCabe, who encouraged Senate Finance Chairman Walt Helmick to allow time on the agenda and to Senator Helmick for granting the request.

We were disappointed, however, that there was no discussion of the West Virginia legislation, which in many ways mirrors Arizona, and that the bill was not put to a vote. We believe we have the votes to advance the bill, although as in Senate Judiciary, we expect it to be close. Even Senator Helmick acknowledged that Todd’s presentation “may have answered many critic’s questions,” adding to our frustration that further discussion was not allowed. Helmick also told the Associated Press, “I think next year is the year that campaign finance will be looked at very strongly.”

If the bill is dead we’ll most certainly return to the legislature with a proposal next year, but there is still time this session to advance SB 124 ahead of the deadline for bills to be out of committee in the house of origin.

Voter-Owned Elections

Citizens for Clean Elections P.O. Box 6753 Huntington, WV 25773-6753 304-522-0246