Bill Moves Quickly to Slow Down Electronic Reports for Candidates

A bi-partisan  bill that’s on a fast-track to the governor’s desk got through the House today and will be heard in the Senate Monday morning.   The measure delays current law requiring candidates to file their campaign finance reports online.   Those reports go to the Public Offices Commission which has had problems getting the computer system to work for everyone who has tried it.

Supporters of the bill say they are delaying the change because not everyone in the state has internet service – and the paper forms are still necessary for them.    Anchorage Republican Mike Hawker explained that none of the information required in the reports will be changed – only the method used to deliver those reports.  But he acknowledges some “false starts” in the transition to electronic filing.

Electronic transfer is not easy, and we have to be very careful that we ourselves in our interest of providing transparency in the public process do not compromise the very objectives we seek to obtain.

Fairbanks Democrat David Guttenberg said he was one of those who had trouble filing online – even though he has a fast broadband connection and an up-to-date computer at his home.   The system at APOC simply wasn’t ready for widespread use.

Testing is the way to go.  And in the private sector they do a lot of testing. And then when they finish testing they test it again.   So I think we didn’t give them enough time, because I think all the different people that are engaged in campaigns – and there’s a huge variety of skill levels – we need to make sure that it is right.

The bill passed with one vote against it.  The House waived the usual paperwork formalities to rush it to the Senate where it was read into the record moments before adjournment.

The Senate Rules committee will hear it Monday morning at 10:30.

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