Synopsis As Introduced Creates the Supreme Court Campaign Reform Act. Provides that candidates for the Supreme Court may apply for a public financing benefit in connection with their campaign. Sets the amount of the public financing benefit at $750,000 for the general primary and general election cycle. Sets requirements for qualifying for the public financing benefits. Limits the amount of private contributions qualified candidates may accept. Limits the amounts that non-participating candidates may accept from private sources during campaign periods to $1,000 in the aggregate. Provides that qualified candidates must be distributed a line of credit from the Illinois Supreme Court Democracy Trust Fund to be used for lawful political expenditures. Provides for the increase of the line of credit if non-complying candidates make certain expenditures. Sets penalties for violations of the Act. Provides that the Illinois Supreme Court may require attorneys to contribute money to the Fund not to exceed $25 annually. Contains other provisions. Amends the Election Code. Provides that a payment for electioneering communications is an "expenditure". Provides that a group that "accepts contributions or makes expenditures during any 12-month period in an aggregate amount exceeding $3,000 for the purpose of electioneering communications" is a political committee. Allows the Board of Elections to impose a fine against a committee that fails to report expenditures that could trigger matching funds under the Supreme Court Campaign Reform Act. Amends the State Finance Act. Creates the Illinois Supreme Court Democracy Trust Fund. Amends the Illinois Income Tax Act. Requires the Department of Revenue to print on its standard individual income tax form a provision by which the taxpayer may make a contribution (not less than $1) to the Illinois Supreme Court Democracy Trust Fund. Amends the Clerk of the Courts Act. Requires circuit court clerks to transfer $1 from each appearance fee paid to the State Treasurer for deposit into the Supreme Court Democracy Trust Fund and, to defray that expense, the county board may, by resolution, require the clerk of the circuit court in the county to charge and collect a Supreme Court Democracy Trust Fund fee of not more than $1, which shall be paid at the time that any appearance fee is paid. Effective immediately.
Senate Committee Amendment No. 1 In the Supreme Court Campaign Reform Act, deletes a provision allowing the Illinois Supreme Court to require attorneys to contribute money to the Illinois Supreme Court Democracy Trust Fund.
Fiscal Note (State Board of Elections)
Please be advised that this legislation would require a complete new set of disclosure forms for judicial candidates only. This includes new software and new website downloads. This is an upfront cost and must be implemented and wholly in place prior to the next scheduled election of the Supreme Court, which is set for 2010. Total cost: $150,000.