For the third year in a row, Kentucky is considering public financing for at least some of their judicial elections. This year may be the most critical as almost the entire judiciary is on the 2014 ballot (Supreme Court Districts 1, 2, 4, and 6; all or most of the Court of Appeals, Circuit Court, and District Court).
HB 31 would provide for optional public financing for the state’s Supreme Court only. This is in contrast to the 2011 version (HB 21) which covered all judicial races but is in keeping with the 2012 version (HB 230) which was Supreme Court focused.
Under the plan, a candidate would have to get $25 contributions from 200 people to qualify. Funding would come from an income tax refund check-off, unspent funds from other campaigns, voluntary contributions from the state’s bar association.
While the 2011 bill covering all judicial elections went nowhere, the 2012 bill did get approved by the House Judiciary Committee 9-6 with 8 Democrats on the committee joined by a single Republican