Government & Electoral Reform

Promoting Public Confidence in Government

Jamie has been a vocal advocate for significant ethics and campaign finance reform. As the only candidate to be elected running a Clean Elections campaign, in 2003, he understands the critical need to reduce the influence of special interest money on elections and give the public confidence that their elected officials are acting in the best interest of their constituents – and not their campaign coffers.

Jamie strongly supported the ethics and lobbying reform legislation that was passed into law in 2009, including proposals to strengthen investigative and enforcement authority, improve the lobbying laws, enhance penalties, and impose ethics education and training requirements.

These reforms don’t go far enough, however – which is why he’s filed additional legislation regulating campaign contributions from lobbyists and those seeking government contracts. Jamie’s bill – the “Anti-Pay-to-Play Act ” – would limit the influence of moneyed interests and the impact they have on legislative deliberations — eliminating “pay-to-play” opportunities in the campaign finance system and, hopefully, increasing public confidence in the integrity of our system as a result.

In June 2010, Jamie also filed the Massachusetts Corporate Political Accountability Act to address the problems created by the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC by requiring new levels of disclosure and transparency for corporate political spending, eliminating “pay-to-play” opportunities for state contractors, enshrining new protections for employees, shareholders and investors, and prohibiting foreign corporations from influencing elections in Massachusetts.

Over the long term, Jamie also supports the reinstatement and funding of the Clean Elections Law, which was approved by 67% of voters in 1998. This law provided a limited amount of funding for candidates who agreed to strict spending and contribution limits and who qualified by demonstrating significant support in their districts.  By providing public funding, Clean Elections breaks open the financial barriers to running for office and offers any citizen with good ideas and local support the opportunity to run a competitive campaign.  It reduces the role of special interest money, brings more accountability to government, and helps to ensure that lawmakers put the needs of our communities before big corporations and special interest groups.

Making our Government More Transparent & Accountable

Jamie has been a leader in the Legislature in pushing to make our government more transparent and accountable to the public.

He led the effort in the Senate to pass tax credit transparency, which will require public disclosure of the results of refundable or transferable tax credit programs, including the identity of the corporation receiving the credit. It’s an important amendment, one that will promote greater accountability at a time when we need to be examining where every single public dollar is going, and what impact it is having. Learn more here.

Protecting the Right to Vote

Jamie believes that having the opportunity to vote for our representatives in office is a right, and not a privilege – which means that our Commonwealth should do everything it can to promote and protect citizens’ right to vote. He supports electoral reform legislation to eliminate voter participation barriers and ensure that all elections are conducted fairly.

This year, he’s proud to be the lead sponsor on the Massachusetts Freedom to Vote Act, which would comprehensively and fundamentally update and improve voting in Massachusetts. If enacted, this would give Massachusetts some of the strongest voting laws anywhere in the United States — fitting for the birthplace of American democracy. Provisions included in this omnibus bill include Election Day Registration, Early Voting, improvements in the absentee ballot process for members of the military, and measures to simplify the Election Day process

Jamie is also a co-sponsor of the National Popular Vote (NPV) bill, and he worked hard to see it passed by the Senate in July 2010. This bill will ensure that all votes are given equal weight in Presidential elections.

He supported the Massachusetts Voters’ Bill of Rights to ensure that voters clearly understand their voting rights in simple language.

As a member of the Joint Committee on Election Laws for six years, Jamie lead the fight in the House of Representative with State Representative Gloria Fox (D-Boston) to pass Same-Day Election Registration (”EDR”), and will continue to work to pass the bill as a State Senator.  Jamie believes that EDR is a civil rights issue, because every citizen that is not able to vote on Election Day weakens democracy and waters down the influence of elected officials.