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Goyal proposes public financing of Ohio Supreme Court races

January 6, 2012

Mansfield News Journal

COLUMBUS -- State Representatives Jay P. Goyal (D-Mansfield) and Dennis E. Murray (D-Sandusky) introduced legislation today that, if passed, would create a public financing system for Ohio Supreme Court campaigns.

"Members of the public, as well as the judiciary itself, have expressed significant dissatisfaction with the current system and have advocated for change," Goyal said. "Our legislation would improve the judiciary's credibility and appearance of impartiality by eliminating any skepticism of the current electoral process."

The new system would be funded by candidate qualifying contributions, candidate seed money and optional income tax check-offs. Use of the public money is optional for judicial candidates under the proposal.

"The unquestioned independence of the judicial branch of government is essential to our constitutional government which balances the authority of the legislative and executive branches and above all else the primary power of our citizens," Murray said.

"The exponential escalation of campaign finance battles in Supreme Court races risks eroding confidence in the Court and the public's willingness to accept its pronouncements as impartial and fair."