March 11, 2010

Clean Elections Update  

Dear Clean Elections Coalition,

The Supreme Court Public Financing PIlot Project (HB 4130) had a wild ride today! Thank you for all your help with calls and personal contacts with Senator Walt Helmick, the Finance Committee Chair. He noticed. At one point during the Finance Committee meeting, he said, "Well, from what I've been hearing people like this." It was a joke, but with reality behind it.

We learned around 2:00 PM today that the bill was likely going to be on the Finance Committee agenda at 3:00, but that an amendment would be offered to remove both the court fees and the fees on attorneys, leaving the chief funding source as only the three increments of $1 million from the Purchasing Card Administration Fund (Auditor's office). Julie Archer and I touched base with as many coalition partners as possible to see what their sense of our strategy would be, and the majority agreed that we should see if the bill could pass out of Finance, and then try to work either with the House, or with others in the future to get more funding. The amendments were offered, and the bill officially passed the Finance Committee - although on a voice vote with some pretty loud "No's". A division was requested, but Senator Helmick stated he had already called the vote. Then Senator Bowman made a motion to reconsider, which was also defeated. Nothing simple about the entire scenario! We spoke with Senator Kessler, Judiciary Committee Chair, after the Finance Committee meeting, and he promised to do his best to be sure the project was adequately funded by whatever means he could find, if the measure passes the Senate and completes the legislative process.

The bill was read a first time prior to being referred to Finance, and was read a second time during the evening session today, so it will be on Third Reading and up for passage by the Senate tomorrow (Friday). If the committee votes are any indication, the floor vote is very iffy. If you are able, please call your Senator Friday morning (floor session begins at 11:00 AM) and ask for his/her support for HB 4130.

We will keep you posted! Thank you so much for your help!

Carol Warren
WV Citizens for Clean Elections
(304) 847-5121

Voter-Owned Elections

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