April 2, 2009
Clean Elections Update
Dear Clean Elections Supporters,
This past week has been a roller coaster for those of us working on the Public Campaign Financing bills! We had really hoped that the friendly Judiciary Subcommittee A would take up the legislative bill (H2764). However, a considerable number of legislative pieces concerning elections matters were referred to that subcommittee, as well as some other bills that proved time-consuming, such as the bottle bill. The House judicial bill for the Supreme Court candidates (H3309), in which there was considerable interest, was not introduced until the last minute on March 23.
However, you will remember that the Supreme Court Public Financing Pilot Project (S311) was taken up and passed out of Judiciary Committee last week. We received some excellent support from friendly Senators and sponsors of our legislative bill, as well as House allies, in our effort to convince Senator Walt Helmick (D-Pocahontas) to place the bill on the Finance Committee agenda in time. Thanks to all of you who called last Friday and Monday!
We were elated Tuesday morning to find the bill on the Finance Committee agenda, and spent some time letting our Senate supporters know S311 was going to be taken up that afternoon. (I have copies of the agenda, suitable for framing!) Julie Archer and I went into the Finance Committee meeting feeling upbeat and relatively confident. The meeting was well underway when Del. Tim Manchin (D-Marion) came into the room to let us know the bill had been pulled. Apparently, the Governor is thinking of forming a commission to deal with judicial elections, thought this legislation might “interfere” with the commission’s work, and asked Senator Helmick not to take it up.
Of all the outcomes we never expected! A number of our allies were quite upset, and even some opponents told us they were sorry about the way things had happened. We intend to explore ways to obtain representation for the WV Citizens for Clean Elections coalition on that commission.
As you can see, we have much to discuss at our upcoming coalition meeting! We will gather at the ACT Foundation (600 Leon Sullivan Way, Charleston) on Thursday, April 16 at 10:30 AM. Please plan to join us for what promises to be some very engaging dialogue.
WV Citizens for Clean Elections