The bipartisan campaign finance reform working group is set to present its recommendations to the governor this Thursday. We'll see what proposals the group actually comes up with, and if the deadlock over campaign finance reform will be broken any time soon.
In the meantime, here are a few things we're definitely not getting:
Public Financing for 2006
It's too late for this, so we can all stop bugging candidates about whether they'll return campaign donations next year. The earliest implementation date I've heard is 2008--and I'm not convinced they'll even be able to do that. Rell may have to content herself with 2010.
Enthusiastic Support from Democrats
Nobody in the legislature really wants to see this bill happen, but no Democrat wants to be on the record against it, either. Look for lukewarm support from a lot of incumbent Democrats who are perfectly happy with the current gravy train, thank you.
Republicans are in for a surprise: this bill probably won't help them. The GOP has been using lack of funds as an excuse for not running or actively supporting a candidate in many districts: if this bill is implemented they'll just have to face up to the fact that they are a sad rump of a party with no message, focus or broad appeal. We should see more Democratic primaries, however.
Lots of Fresh Faces in the Legislature
The boundaries of the districts (especially the House districts) are so drawn that almost all incumbents have a big advantage over challengers from the party opposite. Until the state changes the way it draws legislative districts, this won't change.
Sad, Out-Of-Work Lobbyists
I wish. They'll find ways to be just as influential, despite new rules.
So why have campaign finance reform at all? What will we be getting? How will it improve our democracy?
More on that on Thursday, when the committee makes its report.