Michael Buccino: More campaign transparency
April 11, 2016
Transparency in contributions to candidates in local school board elections is nearing reality. A bill making its way through the Colorado House of Representatives will, if passed, finally bring the contribution reporting laws for Colorado's school board elections in line with other elected offices.
HB16-1282 has bipartisan support. This bill passed the Colorado House, State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on March 21 with unanimous support.
Yes, finally there is a proposed law in the Colorado Assembly that looks as though it has a chance of passing with support from both Republicans and Democrats. The bill aligns regular biennial school elections with discloser requirements governing election races under the Fair Campaign Practices Act.
As the rules now exist, the so called electioneering contributions to candidates for school board in excess of $1,000 are not reported before the election. With passage of HB16-1282, those contributions will be made public. Contributions to biennial school elections would be disclosed 30 days before a general or primary election.
Why is this important? A majority of Coloradans agree with local control of schools.
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Local school board members elected by the people of their community set the direction of our schools. When large amounts of money from people or organizations outside the community are contributed to these elections, outside forces can influence our local race. With the new law, people in our community will be able to know about this outside financial influence before the vote.
What can you do to help ensure this rare bipartisan effort is successful? First, call, email or write your state senator and state representative to tell them you support HB16-1282. And probably more importantly, contact your Steamboat Springs School Board member and let them know about your support for the bill.
Our children's education is one of the most important responsibilities of our community. We must be sure their education is guided by local people who are not controlled or unduly influenced by outside powers. This is critical to ensure the direction of our school district reflects local community values.
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