SB 622 was debated in the House of Delegates on Friday and passed the Senate on Saturday. It raises campaign finance limits to match federal limits.
“We have not retooled our campaign finance laws in 30 years in West Virginia our numbers were distantly below most of the nation,” said Del. Moore Capito, (R) Kanawha.
Current law permits contributions of up to 1,000 dollars, this bill will raise the limit to 2,800 dollars per election in a primary or general election campaign. The bill permits contributions to a state party executive committee, or caucus campaign committee up to 10,000 dollars per year, previously it was just 1,000 dollars. Finally, the bill lifts the limit on contributions from a PAC up to 5,000 dollars another limit that was previously just one 1,000 dollars.
“After tonight it will be much easier to buy a politician than to be a politician in the state of West Virginia,” said Del Shawn Fluharty, (D) Ohio.
Opponents for the bill say this will increase campaign ads and lower the amount of time Delegates and Senators spend with their constituents during election time.
“I’ll tell you one thing I know our constituents are going to get annoyed because you’re going to see the TV comercials increase radio ads increase,” said Del. Andrew Byrd, (D) Kanawha.
Del. Byrd proposed one amendment to reduce the limits and keep the rest of the bill, and another amendment that would have applied the new limits to statewide elections, but not local ones. Both amendments failed.
The bill isn’t just about finanace limits, it covers a broad range of campaign finance control and regulation.
“The bill also improved disclosure requirements for certain entities which provides more clarity, it also forbids foreign nationals from contributing money in West Virginia,” said Del. Capito.