Penn to introduce election legislation

Saying he wants to assure Alabama citizens that government belongs to them and not "the big mules in Montgomery," State Senator Myron Penn of Union Springs plans to introduce a package of election bills when the Legislature convenes in special session later this summer.

Penn says it's important for the Legislature to address the issues now, before the 2006 campaign season gets going.

Penn said in a press release that his plan would do the following:

  • Require all spending of funds promoting a candidate to be by a candidate's campaign committee;
  • Limit contributions by individuals and corporations to a candidate to $1,000
  • Limit contributions by Political Action Committees(PACs) to a candidate to $5,000;
  • Prohibit PAC to PAC transfers in all elections
  • Prohibit PAC contributions to judicial candidates;
  • Require judicial races to be non-partisan;
  • Limit the amounts candidates can spend in an election cycle for any statewide race to $1,000,000;
  • Prohibit any group, corporation, association or their entity from spending any money to promote the candidacy of any person running in any race for statewide office or for the legislature;
  • Limit the total amount a candidate can spend in a legislative race as follows:
    • For a state Senate race - $50,000
    • For a state House race - $17,500
  • Require campaign committees to make full disclosures as to donors and expenditures as follows:
    • 30 days prior to the date of the primary election
    • 7 days prior to the date of the primary election
    • 30 days prior to the date of the general election
    • 7 days prior to the date of the general election
  • Make violations of the campaign finance law and the Alabama Corrupt Practices Act generally a felony with maximum penalties of one year in the state penal system and a fine of $50,000

Penn says he's sent his proposals to the governor and has asked for his support. Riley says he's had many request to include bills in his agenda for the special session, but he's made no decision yet. Riley says he wants to keep the special session limited so it can be completed in about a week.

The main purpose of the special session is to approve a state General Fund budget.

Riley has not yet set a date for the special session, but many legislators expect it to start around July 18th.

The Associated Press contributed to this report