SB 0449 Establishes public campaign financing
LR Number:L1958.01I Fiscal Note:1958-01
Last Action:03/10/99 - Hearing Conducted S Ethics Committee Journal page:
Effective Date:Contingent
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Current Bill Summary

SB 449 - This act would allow for the public financing of election campaigns beginning after the November 8, 2000, election for all statewide and General Assembly offices, if approved by the voters at the November, 2000, election.

Qualifying provisions are established for candidates who wish to participate in public campaign financing.

Candidates may participate in public funding in the primary and general election, however, those who participate in the primary must participate in the general election.

Qualifications for the primary elections include obtaining five-dollar qualifying contributions, as follows:

-For State Representative, 200 qualifying contributions; -For State Senator, 500 qualifying contributions; -For statewide office, except Governor, 250 qualifying contributions in 6 or more of the nine Congressional Districts; -For Governor, 500 qualifying contributions in 6 or more of the nine Congressional Districts.

Excess money may be retained as seed money.

Requirements differ for independent candidates and candidates of smaller political parties who wish to participate in public funding at the general election.

Campaign finance disclosure requirements are detailed for both participating and non-participating candidates. Limits are placed on the spending of seed money contributions by participating candidates.

Public campaign financing is funded by State appropriation and administered by the State Treasurer. All unexpended balances in the fund at the end of the biennium shall remain in the fund and not be transferred to General Revenue. There are two sub-funds, one of which is used for general campaign financing, and the other is used to provide participating candidates with matching funds if a non- participating candidate is out-spending a participating candidate.

The Ethics Commission shall report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives no later than the first day of April in each election year on its needs for the democracy trust fund in the upcoming election.

If the Fund does not contain sufficient funding, candidates may raise funds from private contributions to make up the difference.

Participating candidates are granted a line of credit, known as a "fair election credit card" which is used for all campaign spending.

Incumbent state office holders must declare an intent of mass mailing before using state funds for such purposes after June first of an election year.

Nonparticipating candidates are not limited as to monetary amounts in which they may raise, except as provided by law.

This act places a contribution limit of $5,000 per year which a person may contribute to a political party.

The Ethics Commission is vested with general enforcement and administrative authority over the provisions of this act. There are civil penalty provisions for violations of this act.

This act allows for judicial review. This act is similar to SB 779 (1998).