Topeka — Legislative candidates won't be able to accept larger campaign contributions because Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday vetoed a bill containing that proposal and other ethics and elections measures.
Sebelius also criticized the legislation over provisions to prevent mishandling of advance ballots. She said the provisions would make advance voting more confusing.
"If the Legislature sends me real campaign finance reform, I will sign it," Sebelius wrote in her veto message. "This bill is not real reform."
Also in the bill were provisions to increase disclosure of campaign-related activities. Those include last-minute contributions to candidates and telephone calls made by groups, urging people to vote for or against candidates.
Under the bill, contribution limits would have gone from $1,000 to $1,500 per election for Senate candidates and from $500 to $750 for House candidates. The limit for statewide candidates would have remained at $2,000.
Legislators could attempt to override Sebelius' veto when they reconvene today for the final day of this year's session. However, it would require two-thirds majorities in both chambers. In the House, the bill passed with 75 votes, nine votes short of the mark.
"It makes an override impossible," said House Speaker Doug Mays, R-Topeka.
Mays defended raising contribution limits, noting House members were permitted to accept $750 from each donor before 1989, when the law was changed. He said inflation since then justifies the increase.
While Sebelius' fellow Democrats opposed raising contribution limits, they had been more aggressive in attacking provisions in the bill dealing with advance voting.
One change would have clarified that people could deliver others' advance ballots for others only if each voter gave written permission. The person delivering the ballots also would have been required to sign a statement for each ballot, saying no undue influence was exercised on the voter.
"Voting has become easier and more convenient in our state as a result of initiatives like advance voting, but this bill would move us in the wrong direction," Sebelius wrote. "Adding forms and affidavits to read and sign will confuse voters and very likely cause many to not vote."