- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
Rendell Proposes Big State Government Reforms
Governor Rendell has proposed some pretty big reforms in the way Harrisburg functions. And, given the environment, some might even pass:
Limit campaign contributions. Expand access to government records. Set term limits for lawmakers. Shrink the legislature. Change the way legislative districts are drawn. Choose judges through a "merit" system instead of electing them.
These were among the far-reaching proposals Rendell presented yesterday as a way, he said, to restore the "public's trust" after the uproar over the 2005 legislative pay raise, and more recent revelations of lavish legislative bonuses and exorbitant spending by the state's college loan agency.
Things are crazy in Harrisburg right now, with legislators really heeding the call to clean up the way the system works. And now, these proposals will not magically end poverty or something, but they will go a long way to restoring a little bit of trust in State Government.
I also liked this part:
His voice rising, his fist pounding the dais, Rendell said that if lawmakers were true "citizen soldiers," Pennsylvania might finally be able to enact a law halting straw purchases of handguns.
Speaking on a day when Philadelphia recorded its third gun killing in 24 hours, Rendell said that if lawmakers' terms were limited, they might be less fearful of the gun lobby and more likely to support a long-stalled proposal to limit handgun purchases to one a month.
In other words, from the guy who was tried everything- including partnerships with the NRA- the only way we get gun control in Philly is structural reforms in how the system works, to lessen the impacts of special interests. The other ideas- campaign finance, merit selection of judges and others are also things I think are flat out good ideas. (And, if we has merit selections of judges, it would mean Judge Jones, who is about to have to raise millions for a statewide raise, would already be appointed to the Court.)
Consider this: We have some of the worst sunshine laws in the Country. We have zero campaign finance. We force judges to raise seven figures, before they are supposed to be impartial. This is the kind of stuff that if changed would be really positive. (The merit selection of judges, of course, is not going to happen.)