Archive for the ‘campaign law’ Category

Justice, Skirted

March 24, 2008

…from Paul Jacob, of the Sam Adams Alliance:

Two years ago in Oklahoma, Riccardo Gino Ferrante was arrested for aiming a camera up a 16-year-old girl’s skirt while in a Target store. He was arrested and convicted of a felony.

Unfortunately, in mid-March four-fifths of Oklahoma’s Court of Criminal Appeals voted that no felony occurred.


Because “the person photographed was not in a place where she had a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Now, being in a public place does remove or decrease one’s expectation of privacy. But ought that extend even to the private space within one’s clothing?

The court answered in the affirmative. As Judge Gary Lumpkin wrote in his dissent, “It is open season for peeping Toms in public places who want to look under a woman’s dress.”

This is judicial common sense in the age of Britney Spears? At least there’s still the knuckle-sandwich penalty someone might get.

If our court system can’t get this one right, everyone should agree that something’s wrong.

The judiciary must be independent. But it must be independent of the other branches of government, not detached from common sense, or all semblance of sanity.

Oklahoma legislators now seek to outlaw currently court-protected invasive and gutter photography. Should they also consider random intelligence testing for the judiciary? They have more than probable cause.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob. (Click here to listen to an MP3 File of this episode of Common Sense)

(Also see FoxNews: Court Drops Case of ‘Peeping Tom’ in Target; Says Victim Was Not in Private Place)

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.