WV Clean Elections Legislative Update by Julie Archer

March 31, 2005

Clean Elections Bill Dies Undeserved Death

By Julie Archer, WV-CAG

Late last Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee took up SB 247, the WV Public Campaign Financing Act, which would have established a pilot project to provide full public financing for legislative candidates in two Senate and three single member Delegate district.

The good news is the bill was passed out by the Judiciary Committee, but was not taken up Finance Committee in advance of the deadline for bills to be out of committee in the house of origin.

While we are certainly disappointed that we won't have a pilot project in place for next year's elections, the Clean Elections concept continued to make progress in the legislature as the bill was approved by both Judiciary Committees. We will continue to work with our supporters in the Legislature, as well as Secretary of State Betty Ireland to move forward with this much needed reform.

In the meantime, we remain optimistic about the passage of SB 245, which would reign in 527 groups and require disclosure by the sponsors of "sham" issue ads and other electioneering communications that currently escape regulation because they stop short of advocating a candidate's election or defeat.

The bill would also prohibit groups that sponsor such ads from accepting contributions totaling more than $1,000 per election. The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate. SB 245 now goes before the House Judiciary Committee.

Voter-Owned Elections

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