- The Washington Times - Monday, February 25, 2002

RICHMOND (AP) Two bills that could significantly affect the way campaigns and elections are conducted in Virginia are expected to be heard by a legislative committee tomorrow.
One is the so-called "Stand by Your Ad" bill, which would require candidates to put their pictures on campaign TV commercials along with statements asserting that they are responsible for the ads. Radio ads would require similar statements by the candidate.
Candidates will be less inclined to run negative campaigns if they have to put their faces and voices on the commercials, say the bill's sponsors, Republican Delegate S. Chris Jones of Suffolk and Democratic Delegate James M. Scott of Fairfax.
For ads purchased by organizations seeking the election or defeat of a candidate, the statement of responsibility would be read by an officer of the organization.
The bill is part of Republican Attorney General Jerry Kilgore's legislative package.
"If you're going to run one of those negative ads, I think you ought to have the guts to say, 'This is my ad.' People may hold it against you, but at least [they] will know who is spending the money and who made the call on running that ad," Mr. Kilgore said.
The bill is on the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee's docket for tomorrow.
The panel also is scheduled to consider Mr. Scott's bill to prohibit election officials in Virginia from releasing the results of presidential elections until the polls close on the West Coast. That means Virginia results could not be announced until 11 p.m.
Mr. Scott said the bill is intended to prevent early results in Eastern states from discouraging West Coast voters from participating in an election they believe to be decided already.
The bill would take effect only if two-thirds of the states east of the Mississippi River enact similar legislation by July 2004.
Financial matters also are on the General Assembly's agenda this week. The House Finance Committee will consider a bill, championed by Democratic Gov. Mark R. Warner and opposed by House Speaker Republican S. Vance Wilkins, to allow voters to decide on sales-tax increases statewide for education and in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads for transportation.
Also this week, the House and Senate will reject each other's proposed two-year, $50.5 billion state budget and send the bills to a conference committee to draft a compromise spending plan before the session's scheduled March 9 adjournment.


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