February 29, 2008
Clean Elections Update
H4050 was on the Judiciary Committee agenda for a brief time on Friday, along with 40+ other bills. However, after the Treasurerís Office could not promise us any funding from the Unclaimed Property Fund, the monies projected as necessary to roll out the program beginning in 2010 were not guaranteed. So the bill was later removed from the agenda. Admittedly, with an additional reference to Finance Committee, it would have been unlikely to reach the floor by the crossover date.
Our next step will be to research the amount of civil and criminal penalties levied and collected by the courts. We need to get a better picture of the number of these penalties that are over $1000, so we can tweak our 10% surcharge funding mechanism. We do believe that sufficient funds for Public Campaign Financing can be generated, particularly if we back up implementation to 2012. We would likely have to take that step anyway, at this point, in order for rules and the necessary work by the Secretary of Stateís office to be put in place. And we now have a serious and positive fiscal note from that office.
So we have learned a great deal and gained new supporters this session. And fortunately, we have a number of dedicated sponsors and supporters who will keep putting the bill out there for us until we win.
Our event to honor Senator Jon Hunter last night was just lovely. Speakers from our coalition partners spoke briefly about their experience with Sen. Hunter over the years. They included emcee Julie Archer (CAG), Perry Bryant (WVians for Affordable Health Care), Roy Smith (Construction Trades), Sam Hickman (NASW), Kenny Perdue (AFL-CIO), Norm Steenstra (CAG), Fr. Brian O'Donnell (WV Council of Churches). It was my honor to present the Senator with OVEC's "Defender of Democracy" award. Please consider making a contribution to our challenge grant if you were not able to attend. We will be working very hard to meet our $15,000 goal by April 1. Contributions may be sent to CAG (1500 Dixie Street, Charleston, WV 25311) or OVEC (P.O. Box 6753, Huntington, WV 25773). Thanks so much for your help!
A coalition meeting is planned for Thursday, March 13 at 10:30 AM at the office of the Catholic Diocese, 1116 Kanawha Blvd. E. You are invited to join us at that meeting and be part of our strategy decisions as we set our sights on passage in the 2009 session!