During the 2013-2014 session, Jamie filed the following pieces of legislation to reform our election, ethics, and campaign finance systems:
This bill will 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. The bill will (1) allow eligible citizens to register to vote or update their registrations online through a secure website, saving towns and cities thousands of dollars in processing costs; (2) ensure that our voter lists are up to date by using the US Postal Service National Change of Address Database to identify voters who have moved and appropriately update the voter list; (3) allow 16 and 17 year olds to preregister to vote so that they are immediately able to vote on the day they turn 18; (4) allow eligible citizens to register and vote on Election Day.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC invalidated a Massachusetts law that had prevented corporations from spending their shareholders’ money on political campaigns. This bill will require corporations to give their shareholders regular updates on the amount and kind of their political spending and require any corporate managers that are going to spend more than $5,000 on political advertisements to get authorization for that spending from their board of directors.
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 will prevent lobbyists from engaging in pay-to-play practices by prohibiting lobbyists from making contributions, soliciting or coordinating contributions or expenditures in support of candidates for state elective offices.
This bill will 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. Qualified candidates that opt to take public financing and matching funds under the proposed new law could spend less time soliciting campaign contributions and more time soliciting votes and once elected they’d be indebted to the people of the Commonwealth in general, rather than a small range of wealthy donors. The cost of the fair election bill will be paid for with a modest surcharge on large government contracts and revenues generated from the penalties assessed for violators of elections and ethics laws.
An Act promoting voter registration
Voting is fundamental to our democracy, yet there are many Massachusetts citizens who have not registered to vote. There is also a registration gap between low-income and high-income citizens. By including “opt in” voter registration language on the state income tax form, the state will be able to dramatically increase the number of registered voters by allowing citizens to register to vote when they do their state taxes.
An Act establishing an independent redistricting commission
This amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution will 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 will remove the political nature of drawing district lines, but still give the General Court a voice in the process.
A Resolution calling on Congress to convene a Constitutional Convention
This resolution requests that a convention be convened pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution to consider amendments to the United States Constitution to limit the influence of money in our political system.
An Act relative to election officers
State statute requires cities and towns to appoint election officers for each voting precinct to work at the polls and to count and tabulate the votes on election day. This bill will reduce the number of mandatory election officers but allow municipalities to appoint additional inspectors and/or tellers as necessary. The bill also eliminates the need for a separate check out table, which will free poll workers for other election day tasks, such as assisting voters, manning the new handicapped accessible voting equipment required by HAVA, and easing the flow of the voters within the voting precinct.
An Act requiring 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.