Saturday, February 16

Dear Iowa Elected Officials, Could VOICE Be Heard This Year?

Now that the Iowa House and Senate are back in session, do you think that Voter-owned Iowa Clean Elections could happen this year?

Rep. Pam Jochum and Senator Mike Connolly pushed this in 2007 and was shut out by her own party's leadership to get it voted up or down. if ever there was a need to clean up our election process so that good folks could make a legitimate run for public office, maybe we would get more substantive lawmaking done. Unfortunately Jochum's partner in VOICE will be retiring and she will be seeking his seat this summer.

In the meantime, Jochum has forwarded two bills to make elections a little more fairer. The Sioux City Journal reports:

The first bill would mandate disclosure for organizers or individuals who conduct push polling, otherwise known as persuasion polling.

Push polling attempts to influence respondents' political beliefs by planting a message for or against a candidate under the guise of gathering individuals' answers to questions.

The legislative proposal, which advanced out of a House subcommittee Wednesday, would mandate the organization or individual issuing such a "poll" label the phone call as a paid advertisement. If the call is backed by a particular candidate, that also would need to be disclosed.

Groups and individuals who conduct persuasion polling also would be required to register with the state.

Violators could be charged with a serious misdemeanor.

The second bill, which was approved by the same subcommittee Wednesday, would forbid candidates and political parties from knowingly making false statements or not checking the accuracy of such false statements.

If made law, opponents and political parties would be prohibited from lying about a candidate's voting record, public service history, endorsements and criminal history.

The formal prohibition on lying would only apply to these issues because they can be verified, said Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames.

"These are items that are provable," Wessel-Kroeschell said.

No comments: