Wisconsin's most recent races for the state Supreme Court have broken spending records, with millions of dollars spent from candidates and special interest groups. State Senator Pat Kreitlow (D-Chippewa Falls) says it needs to stop, in order to protect the integrity of the high court.
Kreitlow is sponsoring a bill that would create a public financing system that allows candidates to claim up to $400,000 public funding for Supreme Court races. The measure protects them from an opponent with deep pockets, by allowing them access additional funds if a candidate who opts for private funding exceeds the spending limits of the race.
The bill also addresses the fact that much of the spending in recent Supreme Court races was from outside groups by allowing for funds to match those expenditures as well.
Kreitlow says Supreme Court races shouldn't be a bidding war and this bill should help to stop that from happening.
A similar proposal passed out of the state Senate last session, but was never taken up by the Assembly. With Democrats now in control of both chambers, Kreitlow is optimistic the bill will pass this time.