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May 16, 2013

Bills to close 'Lantigua Loophole' get hearing

Candidates who don't file financial forms would be dropped from ballots


The two bills the Joint Committee on Election Laws is considering would close that loophole by also keeping local candidates who fail to file off the ballot. One bill is sponsored by Rep. Diane DiZoglio, a freshman Democrat from Methuen. The other is sponsored by Bradley Jones, a North Reading Republican who is House minority leader.

“We need to have consistency between our state and local laws regarding ballot access and campaign finance regulations,” DiZoglio said after yesterday’s hearing. “We should all be held to the same standards. This is an issue of accountability and transparency.”

DiZoglio and Jones filed their bills shortly after Coakley filed her suit against Lantigua. Jones informally attached Lantigua’s name to his bill, saying it is an attempt to close what he calls the “Lantigua Loophole.”

The bills have wide support among local legislators. Besides DiZoglio, Reps. Frank Moran, D-Lawrence, Linda Dean Campbell, D-Methuen, and James Lyons, R-Andover, have signed on to at least one of the two bills, as has Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester.

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