During the 2011-2012 session, Jamie filed the following pieces of legislation to reform our election, ethics, and campaign finance systems:
This bill would modernize our voter registration systems to make it easier for eligible citizens to register to vote and to ensure the accuracy of our voter lists by allowing citizens to register to vote online, ensuring that are voting lists stay up to date when voters move, allowing 16 and 17 year old citizens to preregister to vote, and allowing eligible citizens to register and vote on Election Day.
Recent “pay to play” scandals across the country have severely damaged public confidence in elected officials, leaving honest elected officials trying to do the right thing looking tainted in the process. Our current campaign finance system sets elected officials up for numerous conflict of interest problems (or even just the appearance of such) because campaigns are often funded by the exact same people who are looking for something in return – a contract, a tax break, or a piece of legislation. This bill seeks to help restore public confidence through these major provisions:
1) Changes the expenditure standard to directly related to political campaigning to address some of the more extravagant expenditures.
2) Changes the contribution limits from per year to per election.
3) Prohibits lobbyists from soliciting campaign contributions.
4) Prohibits principals of state contractors and their immediate family from giving or soliciting campaign contributions.
This bill is designed to fill in the gaps in Massachusetts campaign finance law in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. This bill will 1) eliminate unconstitutional language 2) clarify that current disclosure and reporting requirements apply to all political communications allowed under the law 3) require corporations and labor unions paying for political advertisements to disclose their spending even if the advertisements are made by another group or entity 4) requires those entities or groups to report on funds they receive 5) require organizations spending large amounts on political advertisements to register as political committees 6) require political advertisements to include disclaimer statements that identify their top contributors 7) prevent coordination between candidates and outside groups and 8) ban contributions, independent expenditure, and electioneering communications by foreign nationals and foreign-controlled corporations.
This bill would require corporations spending general treasury funds on political advertisements to notify their shareholders of those expenditures in quarterly reports. Additionally, this bill would require corporate managers to get approval from their board of directors prior to spending general treasury funds on political ads.
This bill would provide candidates for public office in Massachusetts with the option to forgo large private campaign donations and instead fund their campaigns using a combination of small private donations and public matching funds.
An Act relative to fundraising receptions during budget deliberations
This bill would prohibit legislators from holding fundraisers during budget deliberations, to ensure that legislators are not influenced by special interests when they are debating the state’s budgets, particularly earmarks that may benefit particular industries or organizations.
An Act preventing undue influence on state hiring decisions
This bill would prohibit legislators from making recommendations for hiring at judicial and executive branch positions for anyone other than individuals with whom they have had direct professional experience for a significant period of times.
The amendment to the Constitution would create an independent commission charged with the duty of redrawing the State Senate, House and Congressional districts. The maps would be submitted to the General Court for a vote of acceptance. If the General Court rejects the proposal of the independent redistricting committee, the committee must redraw the maps and submit to the General Court for another vote until the proposal is accepted. This would remove the political nature of drawing district lines, but still give the General court a say in the process.
A Resolution restoring free speech
This resolution requests the Congress of the United States to send to the states an amendment to the Constitution to correct the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The Court’s action dramatically diluted the vote and the voice of every American who does not control a large corporate treasury. The decision unleashes billions of dollars in corporate money to dominate legislatures and elections. This resolution would correct those problems by clarifying that Freedom of Speech is a right of citizens, not corporations.
An Act to require the use of paper ballots
This bill will require that all voting in the Commonwealth use paper ballots so there is a record of every vote.