Campaign Finance Rules Change

1 decade 10 months 4 weeks ago Friday, July 20 2007 Jul 20, 2007 Friday, July 20, 2007 5:42:28 PM CDT July 20, 2007 in News
Legislators are now waiting to see how the decision will affect what is already in the campaign coffers.

The state Supreme Court handed down its unanimous decision yesterday on House Bill 1900, which overturns part of a Circuit Court ruling. Essentially, the decision returns campaign finance laws to where they were last year, meaning there is no limit on when legislators can raise money, only limits on how much they can raise.

"I'm very very glad to see the Supreme Court is unanimous in its decision," said Columbia Representative Judy Baker. "That shows that there's really no controversy here. That it is the right thing to do."

However, there has been plenty of controversy over the last seven months, as legislators changed campaign plans to keep up with changing campaign laws. In January of this year, House Bill 1900 took effect. Essentially, it takes away limits on the amount of money legislators could raise and banned fundraising during the legislative session.

In March, the Circuit Court struck down the ban on fundraising during legislative session, saying it was unconstitutional. This week, the Supreme Court reinstated campaign contribution limits, but agreed to allow fundraising year round. Legislators are still waiting to see how the decision will affect the fundraising they have already done this year.

"I haven't done much fundraising yet," said Representative Judy Baker of Columbia. "If they decide to say that we have to give some of the money back there's a couple of checks that I'll have to do some refunds and I will gladly do so."

The governor's office was silent on the ruling today, not returing our calls.The Supreme Court is waiting until August to decide whether the decision will apply to all money raised this year, or if it will only apply from here on out.

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