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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

New campaign finance law limits OR donor influence

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Monday, March 18, 2024   

Oregon lawmakers took a step toward limiting the impact of money on elections during the legislative session.

Lawmakers passed House Bill 2024, a campaign finance reform package that limits the amount single donors can contribute to campaigns. Limits haven't existed in the state since the 1970s.

Contributions will be capped at $3,300 - per candidate, per election.

House Speaker state Rep. Julie Fahey - D-Eugene - championed the bill.

In her first campaign for office, she faced candidates funded by large donations from wealthy donors - and said the experience inspired her to change the law.

"It really was that first challenging election cycle that cemented in my mind how important it was that we reform our campaign finance system," said Fahey, "in part because we need to make running for office more accessible to brand new candidates like I was."

Oregon voters have shown they're ready for limits on campaign contributions. They wrote them into the the state constitution in 2020.

This year, Honest Elections and the League of Women Voters had collected nearly enough signatures for a measure to put campaign finance reform on the November ballot.

Fahey noted that the bill doesn't just limit contributions.

"We also created new kinds of small donor pacs and membership organization pacs," said Fahey, "that will make sure that we can incentivize the kind of pro-democracy campaigning that we really want to see more of."

Common Cause Oregon Director Kate Titus said these changes have taken effort from a lot of people over a long period time.

"It's such a complex issue, campaign finance reform," said Titus, "and it's one of the toughest ones to fight because it gets at the heart of power in politics. Anyone who gains power through money has the power to resist."

The new campaign finance laws go into effect in 2027.



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