Earlier this month, SB 0222, the bill to regulate judicial campaigns by institutionalizing public funding for appellate and supreme court seats and limiting contributions to all candidates passed in the Illinois Senate. The vote was 46 to 12. Click here to see the vote.
The bill is pending in the House Executive Committee and has an action deadline of May 31, 2007. The House bill has a 22 sponsors .
The bill would provide funding for candidates of major parties who are running for the Illinois Appellate Court ($250,000) and the Illinois Supreme Court ($750,000). The bill also allots money to primary candidates who meet certain baseline support criteria. It also caps contributions by individuals to a judicial candidate (circuit court included) to $2,000 per election period.
The public funding component of the bill provides money in general elections only to winners of primaries. There is no allowance of funds for independent or third-party candidates, making this bill a clear attempt to assure that judicial power remains in the hands of the two existing major parties. Click here to see the bill.