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Follow VPR's statehouse coverage, featuring Pete Hirschfeld and Bob Kinzel in our Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier.

New Campaign Finance Law Has Big Glitch

"They eliminated the current limits; as a result there would be no limits at the current time." - Secretary of State Jim Condos on the need to pass another campaign finance bill.

It's do-over time for the Legislature and campaign finance regulation.Lawmakers passed a campaign finance reform bill last month, and Governor Peter Shumlin signed it into law.

But the legislation contains a major mistake and lawmakers will have to address the issue soon.

The error concerns a section of the legislation that creates new contribution caps. It lowers the caps for legislative candidates and raises them for statewide candidates and political parties. That section of the legislation is set to go into place next year.

Secretary of State Jim Condos says the law inadvertently repealed all contribution limits for the 2014 election, and unless the Legislature passes a bill correcting the problem, there won’t be any limits until next year.

“When they were putting the new limits in place and they set it for 2015, the rest of the bill actually went into affect for now on passage. They eliminated the current limits as a result there would be no limits at the current time,” said Condos.

Because the new law was supported by wide margins in both the House and Senate, Condos doesn’t think that passing a new bill to correct the problem will be controversial.

“I suspect that this will pass relatively quick and relatively easily I just hope that they move it quickly,” said Condos. “The first new campaign finance deadline is coming up March 15 of this year.”

House leaders say they also understand the need to deal with this issue quickly and they hope to bring the technical corrections bill to the floor for a vote sometime next week.