Lawmakers Eye Public Funding of Campaigns
Almost four-million dollars in PAC money was spent on last month's election, some state lawmakers are making election reform a top priority in the upcoming legislative session.
Last year Senator Peter Wirth, a democrat, pushed for changes to the Voter Action Act that allows for a public financing match for Public Regulation Commission and Appellate Court candidates. Wirth's bill - which never got a hearing - would have based matching funds on a publicly financed candidate's total contributions. This year he is trying again to fix the law by coming up with a new matching provision:
"That would allow a candidate to go out and obtain contributions up to a hundred dollars and then have those matched by the state. So that there is a way to get that second influx of public money in a situation where you're being heavily outspent by an opponent not using public financing."
This summer the US Supreme Court found the Voter Action Act unconstitutional because of the provision that allows for a public match of an opponent's total private contributions. Wirth is introducing the fixit bill again in January.