February 9, 2007
Clean Elections Update
The Public Campaign Financing Act (S118) passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday afternoon! A contingent of about a dozen supporters was on hand to hear the proceedings. The discussion, which lasted for an hour and a half, saw a number of the Republican Senators attempting to derail the bill. Questions and comments featured some of the most ingenious schemes yet proposed as to ways potential participating and non-participating candidates could cheat the system.
A representative from the Tax Department also appeared to announce that their computers are unable to add another possibility for tax check-offs to the present income tax form, and it would probably be a year and a half before such a change could be made. (???) Also, there is apparently as much printing per page on the tax form as possible already – and if a check-off were to be added for Clean Elections, it would require another entire page of paper, thus raising the costs of the WV tax forms considerably. (They evidently have not considered the possibility of using smaller print for a few items.)
Questions were also raised about the amount of money the funding sources suggested in the bill could actually raise here in West Virginia. The committee’s legal counsel will look into the amounts of the state’s civil penalties and see if some projections can be made.
On Friday, Rev. Dennis Sparks of the WV Council of Churches and Carol Warren of the Catholic Conference met with Senator Tomblin’s staff person Raamie Barker. They spoke with Mr. Barker for half an hour about the clean elections bill, and the importance of Senator Tomblin in getting the bill taken up by the Finance Committee. He was unfamiliar with the bill, which gave them a chance to outline the bill and how it would work. He offered some strategy suggestions and promised to inform the Senator about the conversation.
The bill now moves to Senate Finance Committee, where our focus will be on prompting Senator Helmick to put the bill on the agenda quickly. Members of the Finance Committee and their contact information appear below. An asterisk (*) denotes a sponsor of the bill. Please thank sponsors for their support and ask them to encourage Senator Helmick to put the bill on the committee agenda. Ask others to support the bill when it is brought up in committee.
Your calls and e-mails definitely made a difference in Judiciary Committee. Keep up the great work!!
|Walt Helmick, Chair
|Billy Wayne Bailey
|John Pat Fanning