Senate Democrats shuffled away a bill this week that would allow cities and towns to use taxpayer money to fund campaigns.
Sen. Don Davis, a Snow Hill Democrat who was shepherding the bill in the Senate, diverted it to the state and local government committee Thursday after a floor vote was postponed three times since May 20.
"It's not the time to explore the option for municipalities to authorize public financing," Davis said.
The campaigns would be set up similar to statewide judicial races and several other statewide offices. Candidates who voluntarily participate must abide by limits on contributions to their campaign, but they receive public funds. No city or town is required to adopt the program. City or town council members must vote to participate in it.
Advocates portrayed the legislation as a way to remove the influence of big money from local campaigns, while critics portrayed it as welfare for politicians.
UPDATE: The North Carolina chapter of Americans for Prosperity lobbied heavily against the bill, and state director Dallas Woodhouse on Friday said lawmakers came "to the common sense conclusion that the public cannot stomach being forced to pay for campaigns for city politicians."