Politics & Government

Kansas senator tries to force vote on campaign reform

Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, left, shown in this 2015 photo with Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, tried Friday to force a vote on a bill to limit campaign contributions by corporations that do business with government.
Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, left, shown in this 2015 photo with Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, tried Friday to force a vote on a bill to limit campaign contributions by corporations that do business with government. File photo

A state senator tried Friday to force a vote on a bill to limit campaign contributions by corporations that do business with government, but it appeared the clock would run out before he got that vote.

Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, made a motion to try to bring up SB 516, which would prohibit companies from getting state or local government contracts for more than $10,000 if they had contributed to the campaigns of the elected officials making the decision.

It also would prohibit companies from contributing to officials’ campaigns while also being paid to provide goods or services to government.

The bill has languished in committee without a hearing, but Holland tried Friday to try to pull it out of the committee and bring it to a vote on the Senate floor.

He said the public is losing confidence in government because of the relationships between businesses that fund political campaigns and the politicians who vote on the businesses’ contracts.

“This bill attempts to begin restoration of that confidence by reducing special interests’ undue influence over elected officials,” Holland said.

By rule, the Senate will have to vote on Holland’s motion Saturday, which could put the bill on the Senate’s agenda. But the Senate doesn’t have to vote on the underlying bill.

The Senate probably won’t take up new measures, called “general orders,” before adjourning for the year, said Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita.

She said the only business left for the year is reconciling bills between the House and Senate and that Holland “waited too late” for a vote on his campaign finance bill.

Holland said he’ll be disappointed if he wins the vote to put the bill on the agenda, but the bill stays buried.

“It shows how fearful (Senate) leadership is of shedding light on campaign finance,” he said.

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