There were some major developments that flew under the radar last week. It was a big week in politics, final preparations for the RNC are underway while the Democrats begin a path toward a less contentious convention. Three major things happen with three super major implications...
As one of my heroes, Lawrence Lessig, points out in his post yesterday, a group of house democrats released plans for what they call the “By the People” Legislative Package, Which is, "a series of individual laws that together address each of these core problems — repairing the equal freedom to vote, addressing the problem of dark money, and changing the way elections are funded," Lessig explains.
An article in The Hill on June 11th sums up the key concepts in the package and quotes House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer:
"First, he wants to overhaul the campaign finance system by placing new caps on contributions and requiring full disclosure from donors. Promoting a system fueled by small donors, Hoyer said, will "begin to renew the trust citizens have that their voices are being heard."
Second, he wants to restore the voting protections eliminated by the Supreme Court's 2013 decision gutting the Voting Rights Act –– a ruling that's empowered a number of GOP-led states to adopt higher hurdles to the ballot box.
“Throughout our history, too many people lost their lives to secure access to the ballot box for any eligible voter to be turned away," Hoyer said.
Third, he is pushing to change the way congressional lines are drawn. Hoyer, a former Maryland state legislator, acknowledged that both Democrats and Republicans have participated in the sport of gerrymandering districts for partisan benefit, but urged both parties to come together to rein in the practice.
"Today, in most parts of the country, congressional district boundaries are drawn by the politicians themselves. I know –– I’ve done it," he said. "We all have, and I understand that neither party wants to be the first to step away from doing so, leaving itself vulnerable to the other. That’s why we need a national solution that applies the same rules to everyone."
Finally, Hoyer wants to modernize the government's technology infrastructure so it's more amenable to public needs.
"If we can make government as responsive to citizens as our best online businesses are to our consumers we could renew the faith of our people."