Government Administration and Elections Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5389

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING PUBLIC FINANCING FOR JUDGE OF PROBATE CANDIDATES.

Vote Date:

3/11/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/29/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

GAE Committee, on behalf of the CT State Elections Enforcement Commission

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill requires the Connecticut SEEC to study of the feasibility of incorporating candidates for judge of probate into the publically funded Citizen's Election Program. At present, candidates for Judge of Probate do not have the ability to participate in the CEP, and are relegated to a non-CEP campaign finance regime. The SEEC would be required to present their findings to the GAE Committee by January 2018.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

The State Elections Enforcement Commission

Believes that this bill is needed, as the current lack of Clean Election Funds for probate candidates forces them to raise money from individuals, including attorneys that appear before them. This bill would help reduce the risk of an appearance of bias.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

CT Citizen Action Group

Assert that the over-reliance on contributions from people who do business before the courts can raise legitimate questions about fairness and about the integrity of the overall probate system. A study to evaluate options for probate candidates is a wise step.

The Connecticut Probate Assembly

Support the notion of including candidates from probate in the Clean Elections Program, however would like probate judges and other professionals associated with the probate system to be included in SEEC's study.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None Expressed

Reported by: Mike Piersall

Date: 3/24/2016