IVN Daily Digest — July 10, 2014

1. The editorial board of Wyoming’s Casper Star-Tribune supports a lawsuit challenging the state’s heavy restrictions on third party fundraising.

“In Wyoming, the time period for fundraising is tied to the date of the party primary. Campaign contributions are not allowed before that time. With that restriction, Wyoming is inherently presuming that all candidates for statewide office follow the same path to the general election ballot.”

Except, not all candidates for statewide office follow the same path. Like Jennifer Young, who is running for secretary of state under the Constitution Party. The only problem is that the Constitution Party does not have a primary election, so without a primary date, Young is prohibited from soliciting money to maintain her campaign until November. Young is challenging the law in court.

2. The Statesman Journal shared an editorial from the Corvallis Gazette-Times encouraging Oregon voters to take a closer look at an open primary initiative that may appear on the November ballot.

“The ultimate result could be fewer partisan divisions in the Legislature and other elected bodies and winning candidates more inclined to search for common ground.”

To avoid confusion, there are currently two initiatives in Oregon being proposed. One for a nonpartisan, top-two open primary similar to what is currently in place in California and Washington state, and the other is for a new type of nonpartisan primary called the Unified Primary, which essentially takes the top-two primary and adds approval voting. The editorial appears to be talking about the former, not the latter.

3. Alabama adds its second independent candidate to the general election ballot.

“Running as an independent, Smith says he will make it a priority to build partnerships with the community at every level: citizens, local government, civic groups, schools and others. “This campaign is about building a safer and stronger community for our future,” said Smith.”

Just one week after Alabama’s secretary of state certified independent Mark Bray for the ballot in the state’s 5th Congressional District, another independent has been added as well. Businessman A.J. Smith will challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Laura Hall (D) in District 19.

4. BenSwann.com covers a story about journalists protesting the White House for what they call a “politically-driven suppression of the news.”

Over the past two decades, public agencies have increasingly prohibited staff from communicating with journalists unless they go through public affairs offices or through political appointees,” wrote David Cuillier, SPJ’s President and the letter’s author. “We consider these restrictions a form of censorship – an attempt to control what the public is allowed to see and hear.”

The Society of Professional Journalism, representing 38 journalism groups, sent a letter to President Obama on Tuesday urging the administration to be more transparent. The organization points out that despite the president’s promise to lead a more open White House than previous administrations, the opposite has occurred.

5. A new veterans health care bill continues to stall in the wake of a CBO report that says it would cost up to $50 billion more a year.

“A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators are currently working with a bipartisan group of House members to draft a compromise bill that can clear both chambers and be sent to the president for his signature.”

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says lawmakers should consider the cost of allowing veterans to seek private care versus how much it would cost to fix a broken VA system — something that could cost more in the end. Improving health care access for veterans, when it is sponsored by the government, is understandably going to cost more money. When weighing the costs and benefits, it is important for lawmakers to remember that these are the men and women who were willing to sacrifice life and limb for this country.

What news stories have you been following?