It is’nt a wide ranging bill as has been passed in Maine or as the Republicans are trying to get rid of in Arizona, but HB 6221 passed the Senate yesterday, which would allow local governments to fund election campaigns. This bill is essentially recreates the rules regarding public financing that were in place prior to the election system reforms in 1993.

As in Arizona, Republicans in Washington aren’t exactly supporting this bill either:

Conservative Republicans like Sen. Don Benton of Vancouver blasted the
bill as an unconstitutional, illegal and even unethical misuse of
public money.

…“The argument against
is, you can’t take taxpayer money and give it to candidates,” Benton
said. “Legally and ethically, you can’t do it. … It sets up a means for
local governments to dole out taxpayer dollars to their favorite
candidates. It’s just plain wrong.”

I’m not sure how “favorite” would translate into “anyone that would want to follow the rules,” but also as in Arizona, it has been Republicans that have had a hard time following the new money rules. Go figure.

A wider version of this system, where the state offers financing for legislative candidats that can display wide support (through a certain number of small donations) opens up the politcal process to folks that could never have afforded or had the rich friends to get into elective politics. In the same way that Dan Swecker’s full time legislature would have allowed a wider range of people to serve, public financing allows a wide range of people to run in the first place.