WV Clean Elections Legislative Update by Julie Archer

February 25, 2005

Improving a Good Bill

Clean Elections Bill Being Cleaned Up

By Julie Archer

On Wednesday, those of you who are part of our "online" community received an action alert urging you to contact your Delegates asking them to support HB 2486, the West Virginia Public Campaign Financing Pilot Project. That afternoon, representatives of the Citizens for Clean Elections lobby team met with House Speaker Bob Kiss and Delegate Jon Amores, on behalf of the Citizens for Clean Elections coalition. The Speaker indicated that he was reluctant to put the bill up for a vote because of concerns raised by House members, but because he believes the Clean Elections concept has merit he was willing to try and work out the kinks to overcome Delegates’ objections.

Delegate Amores agreed to rework the bill in House Judiciary, and both he and the Speaker deserve credit for their commitment to develop and advance public policy to change the way we finance elections in West Virginia.

We consider this a positive step, as the debate over this much needed reform will continue, and we remain optimistic that we will get a Clean Elections pilot project.

Although the vote has been delayed, your calls are more important than ever! Many legislators are on the fence and a few calls or personal letters from constituents can make all the difference. The importance of legislators hearing from you can not be stressed enough. Our friends in the House say they are hearing from their colleagues that their constituents wouldn’t support publicly financed elections. Ironically, many legislators object to sing taxpayers’ money to fund elections which would benefit everyone, but last year nearly all the incumbent members of the House voted to give nearly $800,000 to a golf course to benefit West Virginia’s elite.

In a time of budget deficits, lawmakers have legitimate concerns about how much publicly-financed elections might cost the state but doing a pilot project is a very conservative approach and the cost will be capped at $500,000 – that’s 28 cents per state resident – less than the price of a first class stamp! Please keep those calls and letters coming. Tell legislators to keep the money it would cost to send you a letter response to your call or letter and put the money toward cleaning up elections in West Virginia.

Be sure to check the Citizens for Clean Elections website for the latest – www.wvoter-owned.org.

Voter-Owned Elections

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