Senate Committee Approves 6 Reform Bills

Email date: 2/28/08

In this update:
1. Reform continues to move upfield with Senate committee OK
2. Assembly so far refusing to vote on campaign clean-ups
3. Presidential candidates squirm on reform questions
4. Supreme Court attack ads rebuked

Just moments ago a state Senate committee approved six campaign reform bills backed by the Democracy Campaign. The committee first approved Special Session Senate Bill 1, a comprehensive reform plan that marries the Ellis-Erpenbach bill rewriting campaign finance laws dealing with legislative campaigns as well as statewide races with the Impartial Justice bill that reforms state Supreme Court elections. Next, Senate Bill 12 was amended to mirror the special session bill and then approved. The Risser-Pocan Clean Elections Bill (SB 182) based on the systems in place in Arizona and Maine also got the committee’s OK.

In addition, the committee passed Senate Bill 463, which closes a gaping loophole in Wisconsin’s campaign laws by requiring full disclosure of special interest-sponsored electioneering, and Senate Bill 25, which bans campaign fundraising during the state budget process. Another WDC-backed reform bill - Senate Bill 160 - that requires out-of-state political committees to follow the same rules as in-state committees also was approved.

All six bills now are ready to be debated and voted on by the full Senate.

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Earlier this week, the state Assembly narrowly blocked efforts to withdraw the Impartial Justice bill from committee and bring it up for a vote. Impartial Justice already has been approved by the full Senate and only needs approval by the Assembly before it goes to the governor’s desk. Governor Jim Doyle supports the bill. To see the roll call vote in the Assembly, go here.

If your state representative is one of the legislators who voted to keep Impartial Justice from coming to a vote in the Assembly, please take a few minutes to let it be known how you feel about this stonewalling. Either call the Legislative Hotline (toll-free 800-362-9472 or 266-9960 in Madison) or send an e-mail. E-mail addresses for members of the Assembly can be found here. If you aren’t sure who represents you in the Assembly, go here.

By the same narrow 51-46 vote, the Assembly also prevented the lower house’s version of truth-in-campaigning legislation from being withdrawn from committee and debated and voted on.

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The Midwest Democracy Network caused quite a stir with the questionnaire it sent to all the presidential candidates. This alliance of reform groups in the Great Lakes region, of which the Democracy Campaign is a steering committee member, today made public how the remaining candidates reacted to its pointed questions on political reform issues. Go here to see the answers.

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A State Bar association committee yesterday condemned attacks against both candidates for state Supreme Court. The committee has come under attack itself, mostly from campaign operatives for conservative candidate Michael Gableman and his supporters. An odd thing about the Gableman camp’s case against the State Bar committee is the subject of our latest Big Money Blog.

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Spread the word by sending this message to people you know. To support the Democracy Campaign’s efforts to make people matter more than money, go here.

E-Lert

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