By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — A bill that would allow public financing for judicial campaigns cleared a key hurdle Wednesday. The House Judiciary Committee narrowly passed House Bill 230 9-6.
House Bill 230 would make it voluntary for judicial candidates to seek public financing. People could donate to the judicial campaign finance fund through income tax check-offs or through other donations. The Kentucky Bar Association could also collect fees from attorneys for the fund.
The public financing would be voluntary. Those that wish to seek public financing would have to raise about $10,000 in seed money. Of that $10,000 approximately $5,000 would have to come from 200 people with donations of $25 or less. The candidate then would have access to public financing dollars, if money is available in the fund. The candidate that chooses to seek public financing could campaign as the “clean campaign” candidate.
The measure now heads to the full House. The House Judiciary Committee vote was mostly along party lines. Rep. Mike Nemes of Louisville was the sole Republican to vote with the House Democrats to allow the measure to proceed.