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Campaign finance reform.

The League has joined nearly 40 other organizations in support of the "Our Democracy, Our Airwaves Act," sponsored by Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Russell Feingold (D-WI) and Richard Durbin (D-IL). The legislation requires television and radio stations to provide free airtime to candidates and political parties before elections.

This measure:

* Requires that broadcast stations air at least two hours a week of candidate-centered or issue-centered programming in the period before elections.

* Enables qualifying federal candidates and national parties to receive up to $750 million worth of broadcast vouchers that can be used for political advertisements on television and radio stations in each two-year election cycle. The voucher system will be financed by a spectrum use fee of not more than one percent of the gross revenues of broadcast license holders.

* Closes loopholes in the "lowest unit cost" provision to ensure that candidates receive the advertising rates stations give to their other advertisers.

Airwaves are provided free of charge to broadcasters. They, in turn, have a civic responsibility to serve the public interest and play a constructive role in our democracy. A study recently run by Alliance for Better Campaigns found that in the final two months of campaign 2002, stations across the country raised their rates by an average of 53 percent.

What You Can Do:

Contact your Senators today and urge them to support the McCain/Feingold/Durbin bill--the "Our Democracy, Our Airwaves Act." This legislation will help level the playing field for all political candidates.

The legal suit challenging the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), also known as the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation, comes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 8, 2003. More than 80 plaintiffs have filed suit in federal court to stop BCRA from going into effect. The League has filed an amicus brief on the limits on sham issue ads, and has worked in cooperation with other organizations that have also filed amicus briefs on other aspects of the suit.
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Title Annotation:Hill Bulletin
Author:Ponomareff, Shirley Tabata
Publication:National Voter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2003
Words:330
Previous Article:Election reform.
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