To Reform or Deform, That Is the Question

In this update: 1. Four bills to cheer on, three to watch out for 2. What owners of the Houston Texans and Chicago Cubs have in common To Reform or Deform, That Is the Question

Email date: 9/24/13

In this update:
1. Four bills to cheer on, three to watch out for
2. What owners of the Houston Texans and Chicago Cubs have in common

______________________________________________________________

Four bills to cheer on, three to watch out for
Legislation has been proposed this session that would make democracy in Wisconsin far stronger, while other bills put forward would substantially weaken it.

For starters, there is the issue of disclosure of political money. Senate Bill 166 would reform our disclosure laws. This legislation closes a notorious loophole that has kept the public in the dark about who is supplying millions of dollars spent influencing state elections. Senate Bill 282 would deform our disclosure system and dramatically reduce campaign finance transparency. This proposal would blind the public to the economic interests of the vast majority of political donors.

Then there is the matter of who pays for election campaigns. Assembly Bill 353 is reform. This bill would establish public financing of elections. Assembly Bill 225 is deform. The version of this legislation passed in the Legislature’s lower house on a bipartisan voice vote and now pending consideration in the Senate seeks to double Wisconsin’s limits on private political donations.

Senate Bill 163 is reform. This legislation and companion Assembly Bill 185 would change the way redistricting is handled, taking the once-a-decade task of drawing legislative and congressional boundaries out of the hands of self-interested lawmakers and assigning it to an independent, nonpartisan agency. Senate Bill 268 is deform. This scheme seeks to undermine the independence of the state Government Accountability Board by giving the governor greater ability to shape the makeup of the board.

Assembly Joint Resolution 50 is reform in the form of a question. This proposal would authorize a statewide advisory referendum in November 2014 asking voters if they support amending the U.S. Constitution to effectively overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case allowing unlimited election spending by special interest groups.

______________________________________________________________

What owners of the Houston Texans and Chicago Cubs have in common
The owners of professional sports teams seem to love Scott Walker. So do a whole lot of other millionaires and billionaires from one coast to the other and most points in between. And a great many of these megadonors also love the check-bundling, money-laundering operations known as conduits that are helping them funnel ever-greater amounts of money to their favorite politicians. One of the fastest growing conduits is the Fund for Parent Choice that is pushing school privatization across the country. The voucher crowd’s money was the subject of a recent letter to the editor written by the Democracy Campaign’s director, which also was posted on our Big Money Blog.