Archive for the ‘2008 elections’ Category

Dangerous Clause in House Bill 2196, Coalition Says

March 20, 2008

…from the Oklahoma Coalition of Independents (OKIES):

PhotobucketHouse Bill 2196, the “Oklahoma Clean Campaign Act of 2008” passed the Oklahoma House on a 92 to 8 vote on March 12, 2008, and was sent to the state senate for approval, despite containing a clause which the Oklahoma Coalition of Independents (OKIES) contends would seriously damage a citizen’s ability to challenge an incumbent legislator for his or her seat.

The clause in question would ban contributions to anyone running for an Oklahoma state legislative seat – either incumbent or challenger – from 15 days before the beginning of Oklahoma’s regular legislative session until 15 days after it ends, a period from roughly mid-January until mid-June.

Clark Duffe, Chairman of OKIES:

It’s an ‘Incumbent Protection Act’. If you decide to run for the legislature after about the second week in January you can’t raise any money until June. And since you can’t spend campaign funds if you don’t have any, you’re put at a terrible disadvantage. Incumbents will have spent the previous summer and fall fattening up their war chests.

Incumbent candidates for State House raised more than four times what challengers raised in 2006, with an average of $72,274 compared to challengers’ $17,049, according to The National Institute on Money in State Politics.

Chairman of Common Cause Oklahoma, Lynn Howell:

Although Common Cause Oklahoma supports the bill’s prohibition of fundraising during the session by legislators, which will prevent special interests from immediately repaying compliant legislators, we oppose criminalizing citizens from raising the basic funds needed to challenge incumbent politicians.

A technical legal problem also arises from HB 2196, according to OKIES. If a citizen candidate cannot raise funds – even from himself – before the middle of June, he will not have the campaign money legally available to pay the required candidate filing fee which is historically due at the beginning of June. This year, for example, the regular legislative session ends on May 30, and the filing period for the 2008 election is June 2, 3 and 4. The “no contribution” period would not end until June 14, precluding challengers from filing at all.

This has extra importance this year because HB 2196 has an “emergency clause” stating that the bill will take effect immediately after the governor signs it. If HB 2196 is passed in its present form, unsuspecting candidates could be subject to criminal penalties simply for filing for state legislative office. Duffe:

Sure, challengers can put together their campaigns before January and raise money legally for a little while, but what about people who don’t realize until April or even May that their legislator is doing a lousy job? Why should they have to wait for the following election to try and replace them? This part of HB 2196 is anti-democratic, unfair and just plain wrong. It should be removed from the bill.

The exact text of the clause in question (Section 1.G.) is:

Contributions shall not be made to, nor solicited or accepted by, a member of the Oklahoma legislature or a candidate for a state legislative office fifteen (15) days prior to, fifteen (15) days after, or during any regular legislative session.

You can read the current bill language here.

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Get Ready for Super Tuesday, Oklahoma – Online Voter Guides

February 1, 2008
This coming Tuesday, February 5th, Oklahomans will head to the polls to vote for their favorite Presidential Candidate in their party. There are several other candidates and issues to vote on at that time, as well. This weekend is a good time to do our homework so that we’ll be able to make informed choices on Tuesday. For a little help on that, here are some online resources:
  • The Family Research Council: 2008 Presidential Voter Guide: “We drilled down on the issues important to the family so as to discover not only a candidate’s position, but the depth of that position. We have provided footnotes as reference guides to substantiate our findings. The footnotes also serve as further reading as you continue to contemplate your decision.”
  • Congress.org By Capitol Advantage: Gives an easy-to-read breakdown of important election-year dates and races, as well as an interactive “See All My Candidates” feature.
  • Vote411 – Supported by the League of Women Voters Educational Fund: This site has information about what issues are on the ballot, voter registration (a little late for Tuesday, but good info for the election in November), early and absentee voting and much more.
  • In Norman, the Chamber of Commerce has provided information online about the city council candidates, here.
  • And then, of course, there is is the official OK State Election Board guide online, which is the go-to place for downloading forms and information. Also, it will be updated after 7pm on Tuesday with the results of the Presidential Primaries as they are tabulated.
  • If you have an online voter guide you would like us to add to this list, please leave the link in the comments below, or e-mail them confidentially to okpns_editor@hotmail.com