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Campaign Finance Bill Defeated in Senate State Affairs Committee

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, February 22, 2016

Today the Senate State Affairs Committee defeated legislation that would have required campaign finance reporting in all city elections. 

Senate Bill 1299, sponsored by Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene and Sen. Todd Lakey, R-Nampa, was opposed by local government associations including AIC, the Idaho School Boards Association, the Idaho Association of Highway Districts and the Idaho Library Association.  A motion to send the bill to the amending order for changes failed on a 2-6 vote.

“I am here this morning to offer you a bit of sunshine, and I think we need it,” Souza said in her remarks to the committee.  “And by sunshine I mean reporting of campaign expenditures and donations equally on all sides of elections at both our state and local levels.”

Souza argued that local governments have significant spending authority and power to decide public policy, and that demands transparency in terms of how campaign money is being raised and spent.

Representatives of the local government associations noted that it is already difficult to find people to serve in local elected office and piling more requirements on candidates will make that task even harder. 

“The elected officials who serve in our small cities already balance the demands of working one or two jobs, having a family, and their role as a volunteer public servant,” said Justin Ruen, Policy Analyst for AIC.  “We greatly appreciate the sacrifices that our local public servants make to serve their communities.”

“The burdens of Senate Bill 1299 will fall squarely on the shoulders of the smallest cities with the smallest budgets, many of which have part-time city clerks who will have to learn and administer a very complicated campaign finance law,” Ruen said. 

We greatly appreciate the many calls and emails that city officials made to legislators in opposition to the bill. 

We ask city officials to call or email the following legislators to thank them personally for their vote to defeat SB 1299. 

Sen. Curt McKenzie, Chair:

Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, Vice Chair:

Sen. Bart Davis:

Sen. Brent Hill:

Sen. Michelle Stennett:

Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb:


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