Senate greenlights public campaign finance repeal, referendum moves forward.

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  • The Senate approved a measure to allow voters to decide on repealing the Florida Election Campaign Financing Act.
  • If passed, this would end a program providing matching state funds for candidates agreeing to spending limits.

In a move that could potentially signal the end of public campaign finance in Florida, the Senate approved a measure that would allow voters to decide on repealing the Florida Election Campaign Financing Act. This act currently provides matching state funds for candidates who agree to spending limits. The measure, proposed by Sen. Travis Hutson, aims to put an end to a program that has been in effect since 1986, citing the rising costs of political campaigns and the need for taxpayer dollars to be allocated to other priorities such as water projects, teacher pay, or pensions for state employees.

Hutson argued that the current system tends to benefit candidates who are independently wealthy or have support from special interest groups, rather than those who may not have access to such resources. He pointed out that in recent elections, the matching funds program has provided significant financial support to candidates, with Gov. Ron DeSantis receiving $7.3 million in 2022 compared to challenger Charlie Crist’s $3.8 million.

While the bill has passed in the Senate, it still needs to be approved by voters in a referendum. If passed, it would repeal sections of the FECFA and bring about significant changes to how campaigns are funded in the state. The outcome of this referendum could have far-reaching implications for future political campaigns in Florida and the role of public financing in elections.

Overall, the debate surrounding the repeal of the Florida Election Campaign Financing Act highlights the ongoing challenges and controversies around campaign finance, money in politics, and the influence of special interest groups in the electoral process.

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