Ky. House passes bill to publicly finance state SC races

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Legal Newsline) -- The Kentucky House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill that would allow candidates in state Supreme Court races to receive public financing for their campaigns.

The House passed House Bill 31, sponsored by Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, 48-46.

The legislation would establish a "clean judicial elections fund," which the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance would administer.

"The purpose of this bill is to make sure that we have really qualified judges who are not beholden to anyone because of campaign contributions," Wayne told the House before voting Monday.

Under the bill, candidates would be eligible for the public funds only after raising $10,000, and they would have to agree not to accept any additional contributions.

The bill also would require the registry to publish information about campaign expenditures in the judicial campaigns of the previous year; establish requirements to be designated a certified judicial candidate and gain access to the fund; and provide guidelines for distribution of funds to certified judicial candidates.

Also under the bill, any person entitled to a state tax refund would be able to designate on their return an amount to be credited to the fund, and it would permit the state Supreme Court to allow members of the Kentucky Bar Association to contribute to the fund with their bar dues.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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