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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

 11:47 AM 

Senate approves issue ad bill

The Senate today passed a bill to regulate issue ads on a bipartisan vote. The bill passed 26-7, with GOP Sens. Fitzgerald, Grothman, Hopper, Kanavas, Kedzie, Lazich and Leibham voting against it.

SB 43 would impose new reporting requirements on those who run issue ads mentioning a candidate or the campaign within 60 days of an election. It also would prohibit issue ads in judicial campaigns.

In brief remarks before the vote, bill author Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, called the legislation "a really big step" toward cleaning up elections and a move that has been a long time in coming.

Sen. Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, was more outspoken, saying that the spending of special interests in elections is "a cancer that wil destroy our democracy a lot quicker than any foreign invader could."

"We're losing control of our elections," Elis said, saying that third party spending in many cases dwarfs spending by candidate campaign committees.

But while Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, acknowledged that too much is spent by independent groups and not enough by campaign committees, he blamed legislative tinkering for over-regulation of state elections, forcing restrictions on what candidates can raise. Meanwhile, third party groups' spending has gone unfettered, he said.

"Most of the problems we have in campaigns is not because this body has done too little, it's because we've done too much," he said.

Grothman was off the floor when the vote was taken, but was added to the roll call after returning.

Here's the bill and a Leg Council memo on the legislation.

Comments: 1

At January 20, 2010 at 1:20 PM, Blogger Call Me Mom said...

Once again, it appears the government does not trust the people to exercise common sense on their own behalf when determining for whom they will vote. I tend to think that I can be discerning about my decision, when I have enough information available. So, restricting groups and individuals from spending money to provide me with information, especially in these times when the mainstream media has proven untrustworthy, is helping me, how?

Our government has taken the view, time and time again, that the voters are imbeciles, incapable of making an informed decision or even of dismissing clearly biased and unfair presentations against a candidate without legislation regulating those presentations. With all due respect to the Senate, it's not your job help me make decisions of this sort. It's my job to look at the information available, make a determination as to it's validity and make a decision to vote for the candidate that best represents me.

I'm capable of doing that, as are the vast majority of WI voters. For those few, benighted individuals who cannot, let them ask their friends and family for input, but don't restrict those who wish to provide information to the voters on their own dime.


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