Governor Jim Doyle will sign the Impartial Justice Bill today. The bill, passed in both chambers of the Wisconsin Legislature, will provide full public financing for qualifying candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court who voluntarily agree to a spending limit of $400,000.
But where does that public financing come from? Jay Heck is with Common Cause in Wisconsin. “It’s an enhanced checkoff on the state income tax, of which two dollars will go just for supreme court justices,” explains Heck. “It’s then paid for out of the general fund, it that doesn’t provide enough.” Heck calls that about as secure a funding source as there is, although he notes other states do things differently. For example, North Carolina, assess every attorney $50. Heck says Wisconsin may want to tweak funding at some point in the future. For now, though, he’s pleased Governor Jim Doyle is signing the bill.
Bob Hague (:65) AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (:65 MP3)