This fall, voters in some states and cities will have the chance to do more than just push back. Initiatives are on the ballot that would directly confront the destruction that austerity economics has wrought on communities, while building national momentum behind policies to revitalize our economy and protect our democracy. All kinds of issues are at stake, from workers’ rights to corporate influence in politics, to whether corporations and the luckiest few will pay their fair share in taxes. While voters will be electing a president, governors, Congress, and thousands of state legislators this November 6, here are a few places where a progressive vision will also be on the ballot:
A huge victory in Montana last week restored the state’s longstanding ban on corporate political spending on behalf of state political candidates and parties, overturning a lower court’s ruling and flying in the face of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that grants corporations the same free speech rights as individuals.
Overriding a veto by their Governor, the Conneticut Legislature has strengthened its Citizen's Election system of public financing of elections that was first instituted in 2005. Responding to a bad decision by a federal appeals court, the Legislature has fixed the system and increased the public financing available to candidates.
Law firms in New Jersey that employ municipal court judges are banned
from making political contributions, the state’s highest court ruled
To eliminate questions about the source of the money, attorneys can
make political donations from their personal funds, but contributions
cannot come from the firm’s business account, the state Supreme Court
said in its unanimous decision.
WASHINGTON — Ten states have swiftly passed new
laws requiring additional disclosure of political spending, following a
Supreme Court ruling that lets corporations and unions pump unlimited
amounts of money into certain campaign commercials.
The push in states comes as a high-profile effort
in Congress to blunt the court's January ruling has stalled in the
Senate amid strong opposition by Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The Senate inaction has cast doubts that any new federal disclosure
WASHINGTON — A little-noticed Federal Election Commission ruling that expands the
definition of “media’’ to include a partisan film production group is
the latest in a series of actions eroding legislative limits on the
influence of money in politics.
“We’re really returning, seemingly inexorably, toward an entirely deregulated system,’’ said Thomas Mann, who studies campaign finance at the Brookings Institution, a Washington
think tank. “It was a rather breathtaking decision.’’
Yesterday, the Supreme Court ended its term with a bang with a ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicagothat state gun control regulations can be struck down by federal courts based on the Second Amendment. While the number and scale of blockbuster decisions was not so high this session, the singular impact of the Citizens Unitedcase earlier in the term unleashing unregulated corporate money on elections, combined with the dangerous implications of the Rent-A-Center, West v. Jacksonarbitration decision, emphasizes the pro-corporate bias the Supreme Court has increasingly exercised in recent years.
Star Tribune: A new political organization, backed by two of the state's most
powerful business interests and led by one of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's top
deputies, could result in a powerful wave of corporate cash in this
year's state elections.