HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Trust and transparency in state government are lacking according to a pair of state representatives who introduced several so-called “good” government bills.
Whether enough of their colleagues think they’re “good” ideas remains to be seen.
“Money certainly has a corrupting influence in our politics and government,” State Rep. Jarred Solomon (D-Philadelphia) said.
To combat what they call a mistrust of government two Philadelphia Democrats introduced a sweeping array of reform measures.
House Bill (HB) 1473 would let an independent commission re-draw redistricted boundaries, HB 158 requires lawmakers to post all reimbursed expenses online, HB 485 says lawmakers convicted of felonies must resign, and HB 1471 would limit campaign contributions to $10k per person and $20k per political action committees per year.
“Just think about it. If somebody wants to give you a $1,000,000 check as an elected official to your campaign, that’s perfectly legal right now in Pennsylvania,” State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) said. “But we know it’s one of those things where it’s lawful, but it’s awful.”
“Let’s be honest. Campaign finance law in Pennsylvania is basically the wild, wild west,” Solomon added.
Another measure would require campaign donations to be publicly posted within 24 hours of receipt.
HB 1472 requires a posting of exactly who is donating how much and to whom? An attempt to eliminate so called dark money.
“So all of these big special interests that are dominating our politics, that are hiding in the night,” Solomon said. “Right. We are going to try and shine light on those groups, bring them into the democratic process and let people know who is behind specific candidate.”>”
HB 842, a clawback provision, would go after recipients of state grants who are not fulfilling their end of the bargain.
“It’s common sense,” Kenyatta said. “We should get the money back. And right now we don’t have a system where we actually get the money back.”
So-called good government measures aren’t typically considered a good idea in Harrisburg. But maybe it will be different this time.
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“We are joining a continuum of folks who have said over time we’re not going to allow democracy to die on our watch,” Kenyatta said.
“If you took the the seven proposals that we just put out there, I bet 80 to 90 percent of Pennsylvanians want these enacted right now,” Solomon added.
The lawmakers are right. Most of you outside the building would agree these are good government proposals and should be enacted. The problem is they need to pass inside the building and that never seems to happen.