I know everyone is interested in the election tomorrow. I know I am. But step back for a minute and look at some more of the pre-filed legislation for the 2007 session of the General Assembly.
First the "Light Weight Category".
The two entries are:
1. BR 262 - Representative Reginald K Meeks (11/01/06)
A JOINT RESOLUTION directing the Education Cabinet to recognize and celebrate International Education Week. Direct the Education Cabinet, its agencies, and the schools associated with the agencies to recognize and celebrate International Education Week the second full week of November.
Come on Reginald, step up to the plate buddy, with all of the problems with education in this state surely you can do better than this piece of fluff.
2. BR 309 - Representative C B Embry Jr (11/02/06)
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION urging the Health and Family Services Cabinet to secure the safety of social workers. Urge the Health and Family Services Cabinet to secure the safety of social workers.
Urge? Well, I guess this is better than other Republican urges we’ve read about lately. But if you want to secure the safety of social workers put some substance in the bill.
Maybe, hiring and paying enough social workers so they don’t have to play the Lone Ranger when placed in a dangerous situation. How about a bill that provides some training to social workers on how to handle themselves in dangerous situations.
The second category is "The Obvious Category“.
1, BR 149 - Representative Joni L Jenkins, Representative Mary Lou Marzian, Representative Tom Burch, Representative Don R Pasley, Representative Frank Rasche, Representative Jim Wayne, Representative Ron Weston (11/02/06)
AN ACT relating to the minimum wage. Amend KRS 337.275 to increase the state minimum wage to $5.85 an hour on the effective date of this Act, to $6.55 an hour effective July 1, 2008, and to $7.25 an hour effective July 1, 2009; and increase to the federal minimum wage rate if that rate exceeds the state minimum wage rate.
I don’t know how someone supports a family on $7.25 and hour, but it’s better than what we have now. I will not do the two page rant on how the workers in this country have been screwed by the Bush administration while the rich get richer.
2. BR 31 - Representative Tom Burch (11/02/06)
AN ACT relating to booster seats. Amend KRS 189.125 to require that a child under age 8 years between 40 and 57 inches in height and weighing less than 80 pounds be secured in a child booster seat.
Ok, who’s in favor of putting little kids in danger? Let’s see a count of hands on this vote.
Finally, the "Smart Category".
Jim Wayne repeatedly shows why he is one of the best legislators in Frankfort, this is another example. Here is a substantial piece of legislation dealing with campaign finance reform from Wayne.
BR 189 - Representative Jim Wayne (11/03/06)
AN ACT relating to campaign finance, making an appropriation therefor, and declaring an emergency. Establish KRS Chapter 121B and create new sections to provide for the Kentucky Clean Election Act; define terms; establish the Kentucky clean election fund to distribute transfers to certified candidates; provide for reporting, records preservation, audit, and administrative regulations; provide procedures for declaration of intent for participating candidate to seek certification as a Kentucky Clean Election Act participant; prohibit a participating candidate from accepting contributions prior to the qualifying period, except for seed money contributions, which are limited to no more than $10 per individual and shall not exceed $1,500 for a candidate for the state Senate and $500 for a candidate for the state House; require a participating candidate to obtain qualifying contributions from a designated number of registered voters during the qualifying period, totaling 275 for a candidate for the state Senate and 100 for a candidate for the state House; require a participating candidate to submit qualifying contributions to the registry during the qualifying period; require the participating candidate to request certification no later than the last day of the qualifying period; require the registry to certify a candidate if the candidate signs and files a declaration of intent, submits the proper number of qualifying contributions, has accepted the proper amount of seed money contributions and no other contributions, files a notification and declaration of candidacy or has been nominated for office, and submits any other information required by the registry; require certification no later than three days after final submission of qualifying contributions; provide for appeal of denial of certification; require a certified candidate to limit campaign expenditures and obligations to transfers distributed by the fund and prohibit a certified candidate from accepting any contributions unless specifically authorized by the registry; require that unspent seed money and qualifying contributions be transferred to the fund; require the registry to distribute transfers within three days after certification for certified candidates in a contested primary election, and within three days after the primary election for certified candidates in a contested general election; require the registry to determine the amount of transfers not later than the first Wednesday after the first Monday in November preceding the election year, and require the first transfers to be made for the 2008 state Senate and House elections; specify that transfer amounts shall be $54,000 for Senate and $20,000 for House contested primary or contested general elections, that no transfers shall be made for uncontested primary or uncontested general elections, and that transfers shall be adjusted for inflation or deflation; specify that if the sum of the nonparticipating candidate's expenditures or obligations or funds raised or borrowed exceeds the transfer amount, then the registry will issue an additional amount to any opposing certified candidate equivalent to the excess, if funds are available; limit matching funds to two times the original distribution, if funds are available; allow a certified candidate in a general election not affiliated with a political party who has been certified by April 15 to be eligible for general election transfers; require participating and certified candidates to report any money collected, all campaign expenditures, obligations, and related activities to the registry, according to procedures and at times prescribed by the registry in administrative regulations; require that any balance in a campaign account of any defeated certified primary candidate and any certified general election candidate to be returned to the fund; prohibit transfers from being distributed in excess of the total amount of money deposited in the fund; require a certified candidate to comply with KRS Chapter 121; provide for Class D felony for knowing violation of the expenditure limitations, contributions limitations, misuse of fund transfers, or falsification of records and provide for disqualification from holding office or becoming a candidate for office and provide for forfeiture of nomination or election; provide for a refund of all fund transfers if there is a violation of the statutes; provide for Class D felony for any knowing violation of the chapter or administrative regulations; provide for transmission of information about violations to Commonwealth's Attorney and Attorney General; provide for civil penalty of $1,000 per violation; provide for contribution and expenditure limitations to be adjusted for inflation or deflation; amend KRS 118.255 to provide for a $1,300 filing fee for State Senate candidate and a $500 filing fee for State House candidate, with funds going to the clean election fund; amend KRS 6.611, 6.784, 121.120, 121.170 to conform, appropriate $18,156,000 for FY 2008-2009 to Registry of Election Finance; EMERGENCY
The argument against this bill will be that it is taking tax dollars and giving it to politicians to run for office. This is true. But what is also true is that it will expose those politicians that depend on big contributors and special interests to buy an election. The bill would also encourage good candidates, that don’t want to spend 75% of their time raising money, to run for office.
The cost of running for office has become obscene. Look at the 12th district senate race between Alice Forgy Kerr and former Supreme Court Justice James Keller. Keller has reported $192,084.00 and Kerr has reported $238,305.00 in donations.
That’s getting close to a half a million dollars for one senate seat, and it doesn’t even count the thousands of dollars spent by the political parties or the special interest PAC’s.
My prediction on this bill is that it will get out of the House, but if David Williams and the Republicans still control the Senate after Tuesday, the bill will die in the Senate.