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Senators consider repeal of public financing

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After nearly $9.9 million was distributed last year to statewide candidates, a Senate committee next week will consider a proposal aimed at eliminating public campaign financing in Florida.

The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee is slated Tuesday to take up a proposed constitutional amendment (SJR 270), filed by Chairman Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, that seeks to end public financing.

An identical proposal (HJR 613) has been filed in the House by Rep. Rick Roth, R-Loxahatchee.

If the proposal passes during the 2019 legislative session, it would go before voters in the November 2020 election.

Statewide candidates received a record amount of public financing during the 2018 elections, led by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis with about $3.23 million and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum with $2.62 million.

Under the program, candidates can apply for public matching funds for contributions of $250 or less from individual donors.