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State Assembly Introduces Amended 2013 Fair Elections Act

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The state Assembly is introducing legislation to make public financing for elections available as an option for candidates.

Speaker Sheldon Silver says the 2013 Fair Elections Act establishes a matching contribution program for candidates and creates a five-member elections board.

“For the health of our democracy, we need to level the playing field and provide an avenue to access the electoral process for all who wish to compete for public office,” Silver said.

If the law is passed, candidates who would like to run for office and meet certain eligibility requirements could receive matching state contributions of $6 for every $1 raised in contributions up to $250. Donations higher than $250 will only matched to a certain amount.

The bill also addresses concerns regarding independent expenditures by businesses, wealthy activists and unions in politics. Currently, the law allows for wealthy donors to essentially skirt the law and participate directly in politics by defining themselves as issue advocates.

The amended law will require all campaign committees to register with the state Board of Elections and file associated financial disclosure reports.

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi has shown his support of the legislation, signing on as a sponsor.

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