Maryland Senate Committee Passes Clean Elections Legislation
Sean Dobson, Progressive Maryland
Adam Smith, Public Campaign
Mary Boyle, Common Cause
Annapolis, MD-The Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee this afternoon passed SB 546, the Public Campaign Financing Act by a vote of 6 to 5. The bill now goes to the Senate floor. SB 546 would bring Clean Elections, or full voluntary public financing of elections, to candidates running for the Senate and House of Delegates.
"The vote today by the Senate committee is an important step forward," said Sean Dobson, Acting Director of Progressive Maryland. "I encourage the full Senate to follow the committee's lead and vote next week to put voters ahead of big campaign donors."
"It's time to put an end to the campaign money chase and provide access to all-regardless of how much campaign cash they can give," said Elbridge James of the Maryland NAACP. "The Clean Elections bill that has just moved forward will open the door to voters who have been shut out for far too long and ensure lawmakers respond to all voters and not just campaign donors. The time for publicly financed elections has arrived."
"Clean Elections is a practical common sense reform that puts all voters on equal footing," said Jeannette Galanis, national field director for Public Campaign. "The Senate should pass this legislation and show voters that their interests come first."
"It's time to fix Maryland's broken campaign finance system that puts wealthy special interests ahead of citizens," said Jon Goldin-Dubois, executive vice president of Common Cause. "We urge the full Senate to approve this bill and create a system that allows candidates to run successful campaigns based on ideas, not based on who can raise the most money."
Clean Elections allows candidates to receive public funds to run their campaigns after they qualify by raising a set number of small contributions-usually $5 -from their district. Once qualified, candidates must adhere to strict spending limits and can no longer accept private contributions.
The Public Campaign Financing Act is modeled on public financing systems in place in seven states and two cities. Last November, more than 200 officials were elected in Arizona, Maine, and North Carolina who ran under Clean Elections systems. Similar laws are also in place for all or some offices in Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Portland, Oregon.
- 30 -