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Senate Bill Increases Political Donation Limits

Stu Johnson/WEKU

The Kentucky Senate voted to double the amount of campaign contributions allowed for some donors after an emotional floor debate.

The measure increases the amount of individual contributions from $1,000 to $2,000 and sets the limit for political parties at $5,000. 

Opponents like Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas called it a rush to make Frankfort just like Washington.

“This bill said we need more money in politics, not less.”

 Sponsor, Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said the limits haven’t changed since 1993 and that the legislation is about an ability to write a check for $25 dollars or $2,000.

 “This bill is about free speech and our ability in this constitutional republic to express it,” saod Thayer.

Thayer said some states, including Indiana and Virginia, have no contribution limits.  The bill heads on to the House.

 Jessamine County Senate Tom Buford voted in support of the bill. The change reflects the rising cost of running a political campaign.

 “You could do a campaign when I ran for $20,000 to $30,000,” he said. “Try to do that today.  Try to do that in a primary,”

 Grayson Senator Robin Webb voted against the bill. She said money doesn’t equal free speech. 

"Sometimes that statement is made to get a message out that is to the detriment of common people, working people, poor people,” she said. “ And that’s who I represent.”

Thayer said the measure, which passed on a 27-10 vote, also includes increased disclosure by adding another fundraising reporting date. 

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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