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Bipartisan House reps introduce Ohio campaign finance reform bill

David C. DeWitt, Ohio Capital Journal

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State Reps. Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park), Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville)

A pair of bipartisan Ohio House representatives introduced legislation this week they say would bring Ohio campaign finance regulations in line with federal law.

State Reps. Jessica E. Miranda, D-Forest Park, on Monday introduced House Bill 737, with Rep. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville. The bipartisan campaign finance reform legislation, they say, is the first step toward lifting the cloud of corruption that hangs over the Statehouse.

The bill would bring Ohio campaign finance regulations in line with federal law and mirrors legislation that was introduced by then-Senator Jon Husted in the 128th General Assembly. Husted is now lieutenant governor.

According to a news release, HB 737:

  • Generally eliminates the prohibitions against corporations and labor organizations making independent expenditures and electioneering communications.
  • Generally regulates independent expenditures and electioneering communications made by corporations and labor organizations in the same manner as they are regulated under existing law for other entities.
  • Requires corporations and labor organizations making independent expenditures to identify the source of any amounts the corporation or labor organization receives during the filing period that exceeds $5,000 and that is not received in the ordinary course of business or in exchange for goods and services.
  • Requires the reporting of independent expenditures if the amount spent is $500 or more.
  • Prohibits a foreign national from making any disbursement for the direct costs of producing and airing electioneering communications.

“These past two weeks have been some of the most damaging weeks in terms of public trust in government,” Miranda said. “House Bill 737 is a good first step to restoring confidence and regaining the public’s trust by increasing transparency and accountability in our campaign finance laws. This bill has the backing of the Secretary of State and poses the best chance to pass meaningful reform now.”

Miranda and Manning said in the release they hope to see this bill move through the House process quickly.

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