Senator Jeff Rabon announced today that Senate Bill 702, which is also known as the Truth in Campaigning measure cleared another legislative approval with passage on the Senate floor. The legislation, which received bi-partisan support, will make it a misdemeanor for a candidate or individual to knowingly release untruthful information about an opponent during an election cycle.
“I have been through many campaigns and like some of my fellow legislators, have had to endure some ugly election cycles. SB 702 is legislation that will work to ensure that candidates will run an honest and fair campaign,” stated the Democrat from Hugo. “Only a handful of states do not have similar legislation, with some states barring anyone convicted of liable or slander from running for a public office. My intention is to work to make the political process one that everyone can get involved in and not worry about being defaced during the process.”
SB 702 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 be charged with a misdemeanor crime. If convicted of the crime, the individual will be charged a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, or both punishments.
“There should be more protections and accountability to the process of running for a public office. When the system is reduced to lies, it does democracy and the public a huge disservice," said Rabon. "I believe SB 702 will accomplish the goal of making campaigns honest and afford the public the ease of trusting their public officials once again. I am extremely pleased that my Senate colleagues feel the same.”
Rabon also stated that the title on SB 702 is intact and if the measure receives House approval without changes, it will go straight to the Governor’s desk.