HB 2456--
Session of 1997
By Representatives Findley, Kirk, Larkin,
Phelps, Ruff, Storm and Welshimer

AN ACT relating to elections; concerning campaign practices; providing for the filing of statements and the administration of the provisions of the act; prohibiting certain acts and prescribing penalties for the vio- lation thereof; repealing K.S.A. 25-4119g. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas: Section 1. (a) A copy of the following statement of fair campaign practices shall be mailed by the Kansas commission on governmental standards and conduct to each candidate at the time of the receipt of notice of appointment of a treasurer or candidate committee by such candidate: Statement of Fair Campaign Practices (1) I shall conduct my campaign, and to the extent reasonably possible shall insist that my supporters conduct themselves, in a manner consistent with the best American tradition, discussing the issues and presenting my record and policies with sincerity and candor. (2) I shall uphold the right of every qualified voter to free and equal participation in the election process. (3) I shall not participate in, and I shall condemn, personal vilification, defamation, and other attacks on any opposing candidate or party which I do not believe to be truthful, provable, and relevant to my campaign. (4) I shall not use or authorize, and I shall condemn material relating to my campaign which falsifies, misrepresents, or distorts the facts, including, but not limited to, malicious or unfounded accusations creating or exploiting doubts as to the morality, patriotism or motivation of any party or candidate. (5) I shall not appeal to, and I shall condemn appeals to, prejudices based on race, creed, sex or national origin. (6) I shall not practice, and I shall condemn practices, which tend to corrupt or under- mine the system of free election or which hamper or prevent the free expression of the will of the voters. (7) I shall promptly and publicly repudiate the support of any individual or group which resorts, on behalf of my candidacy or in opposition to that of my opponent(s) to methods in violation of the letter or spirit of this code. ________________________ (name of candidate) HB 2456

 2                                         (office for which individual is candidate)
 3    (b)  No candidate shall be required to file a statement of fair campaign
 4  practices, but any candidate may make such statement in the office of
 5  the Kansas commission on governmental standards and conduct. Written
 6  and signed complaints alleging a violation of one or more specific provi-
 7  sions of the statement of fair campaign practices for candidates may be
 8  submitted to the commission by any person. Upon receipt of a complaint,
 9  the executive director shall forward a copy of the complaint to the com-
10  plainee within 24 hours, accompanied by a request for a response to the
11  complaint and that the response be returned within 5 days from the date
12  of mailing. Upon receipt of the complainee's response, the executive di-
13  rector shall forward a copy to the complainant. A copy of the complaint
14  and the response shall be sent to news media. The complaint and the
15  response shall be available at the commission office for public inspection
16  and copying. If the complainee does not respond within five days, the
17  complaint shall be made public without a response. The commission will
18  make no attempt to secure a reply to and will make no public release of
19  complaints received within eight days of an election. The commission will
20  not issue comments or opinions about complaints or responses. In the
21  absence of any contrary intention as expressed by the complainant, the
22  filing of a complaint with the commission constitutes implied consent to
23  have the complainant's identity disclosed.
24    Sec. 2.  (a) It is a violation of this section for a person to sponsor with
25  actual malice:
26    (1)  Political advertising that contains a false statement of material
27  fact;
28    (2)  political advertising that falsely represents that a candidate is the
29  incumbent for the office sought when in fact the candidate is not the
30  incumbent; or
31    (3)  political advertising that makes either directly or indirectly, a false
32  claim stating or implying the support or endorsement of any person or
33  organization when in fact the candidate does not have such support or
34  endorsement.
35    (b)  (1) Except as provided in subpart (2) of this subsection, the re-
36  sponsibility for compliance with subsection (a) shall rest with the sponsor
37  of the political advertising and not with the broadcasting station or other
38  medium.
39    (2)  If a broadcasting station or other medium changes the content of
40  a political advertisement, the station or medium shall be responsible for
41  any failure of the advertisement to comply with subsection (a) that results
42  from such change.
43    (c)  The commission may assess a civil fine, after proper notice and
HB 2456

 1  an opportunity to be heard, against any person violating the provisions of
 2  this section, in an amount not to exceed $1,000. All fines assessed and
 3  collected under this section shall be remitted promptly to the state treas-
 4  urer. Upon receipt thereof, the state treasurer shall deposit the entire
 5  amount in the state treasury and credit it to the Kansas commission on
 6  governmental standards and conduct fee fund.
 7    Sec. 3.  K.S.A. 25-4119g is hereby repealed.
 8    Sec. 4.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its
 9  publication in the statute book.