Senator Jeff Rabon has requested a bill that will provide more incentive for candidates to run a fair and honest campaign. The Democrat from Hugo has authored legislation that will make it a misdemeanor for a candidate to knowingly release untruthful information about an opponent during an election cycle.
"Unfortunately many people looking to get involved in the campaign process believe that the end will justify the means and run untruthful, negative ads about their opponent," stated Senator Rabon. "I have witnessed far too many times the denigration of this process and it is time that we make candidates accountable for what they say during a campaign. When the system is reduced to lies, it does democracy and the public a huge disservice."
The bill states that if any person intentionally and knowingly participates in the preparation, dissemination, or broadcast of paid political advertising, campaign material, or a letter to a newspaper editor that is false the individual will be charged with a misdemeanor crime. If convicted of the crime, the individual will be charged a fine of $5,000 or imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, or both.
Rabon has introduced similar legislation in the past but opponents argued that if the bill became law, then it could serve as a "chilling effect" to the campaign process.
"I don't know of another profession that does not require a set of guidelines for their members to follow. There should be more protections to the process of running for a public office and I believe this bill will accomplish that goal," stated Rabon.