Wyoming Legislature update
by Albert Sommers, House District #20
January 17, 2015
Friday, January 16, 2015
Hello Sublette County, this is Albert Sommers reporting to you from Cheyenne on Friday, the last day of the first week of the session. Today was an easy day, but there was great discussion around an amendment to HB 38, which among otherthings would repeal Wyoming's political action committee (PAC) campaign contribution limits. Yesterday, I supported this bill and concept, because capping contribution limits would simply lead to creation of multiple PACs by the same individuals to go around the law. However, today an amendment was brought forward to reinstate the PAC contribution limits, and testimony by the bringer of the amendment was compelling. He stated that we had just increased those PAC limits two years ago, and that there was no reason to believe that the limits would inhibit candidatesí campaign financing. Opponents of the amendment feared any cap on PAC contributions to candidates would allow rich candidates an unfair advantage in an election. The author of the amendment countered with the concern that a special interest PAC could unduly influence elections with excessive donations, which many candidates could not counter. In the end I supported the amendment, but we will surely have more testimony in third reading, which will likely determine my final vote on this bill.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Hello Sublette County, this is Albert Sommers, on the House floor today there was substantial debate around HB 14, which allows a portion of court automation fees to be held by cities and towns to defray the cost of maintaining an electronic citation system. The court automation fees are collected as a portion of municipal citations such as speeding tickets for example. Electronic citation systems benefit everyone, and this legislation gives municipalities the ability to pay for them. Although some legislators questioned whether or not officers would potentially administer more citations to pay for the new system, the bill passed in the end. I supported this bill as it seems to be a fair way to pay for the system, and I donít foresee it increasing the number of citations.
In addition to HB 14, two bills regarding campaign funding passed the Committee of the Whole, but not without some discussion. HB 38 removes the limit on individual Political Action Committee or PAC contributions and I voted in support of it. I did so as there was already a loop hole in the law that allows individual PACís to form multiple PACís and avoid the restriction of the cap. The second campaign funding bill, HB 39, provided for the repealing of Wyoming's aggregate campaign contribution limit which would align our state with recent rulings of the Supreme Court.
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