SB 466 Creates a method to publicly finance election campaigns for legislative and gubernatorial candidates
Sponsor: Smith
LR Number: 2112S.01I Fiscal Note:
Committee: General Laws
Last Action: 2/26/2009 - Second Read and Referred S General Laws Committee Journal Page: S425
Title: Calendar Position:
Effective Date: August 28, 2009

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Current Bill Summary

SB 466 - Committees shall disclose contributions every forty-eight hours within thirty days of the election when making any contribution in support of or in opposition to any candidate for state representative, state senator, or statewide elected office.

This act creates a method for publicly financing election campaigns for legislative and statewide candidates.

Candidates certified as clean election candidates are eligible to receive public funding for their respective campaigns by raising qualifying contributions, in the sum of $5 per voter, from a specified number of individuals, during a specified qualifying period. The candidates may, before certification, raise and spend seed money contributions of no more than $100 per contribution, up to $50,000 for candidates for Governor, $10,000 for nongubernatorial statewide candidates, $1,500 for candidates for the Senate, and $500 for candidates for the House of Representatives. Any individual may contribute to the fund at any time without limitation.

The Ethics Commission shall disburse funds from the Clean Election Fund to certified candidates to match the funds raised and spent by any non-certified opponent. The fund is comprised of $2,000,0000 appropriated from the general revenue fund that shall be deposited into the fund yearly, all qualifying contributions, unspent funds, reallocations, certain fines, and other donations.

The amounts of funds to be distributed to certified candidates are based on average expenditures of previous campaigns and whether or not the race is contested. Once certified, participating candidates may only receive and spend moneys allocated to the candidate from the fund. All unspent revenues originating from the fund must be returned by participating candidates defeated in primaries and all participating candidates after applicable general elections.

A process for challenging the certification of a candidate is included in the act. Fines may be imposed upon candidates in violation of the act and certain acts constitute a class A misdemeanor.

A Joint Committee on Clean Elections is also established to study and recommend legislation relating to the administration, implementation, and enforcement of the act.

This act is similar to SB 1071 (2008).