Legislature(1999 - 2000)
2000-07-14 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2000-07-14 House Journal Page 3869 HB 225 The following letter, dated May 25, 2000, was received: "Dear Speaker Porter: Under the authority of art. II, sec. 15 of the Alaska Constitution, I have vetoed the following bill: CONFERENCE CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 225 "An Act relating to election campaigns and legislative ethics; and providing for an effective date." In December 1995, sponsors of a campaign finance reform initiative submitted petitions with valid signatures of 22,764 Alaska voters, more than enough to place their proposed law on the 1996 general election ballot. The Legislature, under the threat of this citizen initiative, responded by passing a campaign finance bill in 1996 that significantly curbed the effect of big money donors on Alaska campaigns. Only two legislators voted against the bill. Lt. Governor Ulmer ruled that the Legislature's bill was "substantially similar" to the citizen initiative, which eliminated the necessity of placing it on the ballot. This campaign finance reform measure is widely supported by Alaskans and our state proudly leads the nation in curtailing the role of large campaign contributions. Now, only four years later, the Legislature has passed this bill which significantly reverses some provisions, and certainly violates the spirit, of the 1996 law and initiative. 2000-07-14 House Journal Page 3870 HB 225 This legislation extends the period a candidate can raise money for a gubernatorial race or a lieutenant governor's campaign from two to four years. This change increases the total amount an individual donor can give to these candidates from $1,000 to $2,000. It opens the door once again for "soft money" contributions to political parties from businesses, labor unions, and other interests. It encourages candidates to raise more campaign funds than they really need by boosting the amount of leftover funds that winners can transfer into expense accounts (from $20,000 to $40,000 for senators and from $10,000 to $16,000 for House members) for their offices. After reviewing these and other provisions of House Bill 225, it is easy to see why legislative opponents termed this bill the "Incumbents Protection Act." There's virtually no benefit to the citizens. There are significant benefits for incumbent legislators. There's no evidence that Alaskans feel differently today about the effect of money on politics than they did in 1996. Like voters across the nation, Alaskans want shorter, cheaper campaigns. National polling shows the electorate is convinced most politicians are corrupted by large contributions, and skeptical of arguments that campaign finance reform threatens free speech. I agree with all of those Alaskans and their fellow Americans who are speaking out for campaign reform with clear voices and determination. I cannot and will not sign this bill simply because the Legislature chooses to ignore them. Sincerely, /s/ Tony Knowles Governor"