Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Dems Delay Campaign Finance Vote

"Next Week" Possible

Ever get the feeling that Democrats in the General Assembly just don't want to put campaign finance reform to a vote?

...lawmakers said that they are at least one week away from a possible vote on legislation that would create a voluntary system to publicly finance campaigns for state office, beginning in 2008.

Instead, House Speaker James A. Amann, D-Milford, announced a new priority for this week: rolling back premiums on the HUSKY-B insurance program. (Pazniokas)

Like heating assistance, rolling back HUSKY-B premiums is a no-brainer. Why focus on the difficult when there's lots of easy and popular stuff to do?

Actually, the real reason for the delay seems to be that too many Democrats are balking at campaign finance reform, which they quite rightly feel threatens their job security, to guarantee passage of the bill.

Rep. Christopher Caruso, D-Bridgeport, and other reform proponents briefed House Democrats on a public financing proposal Monday. But nearly half the 99 members were absent. (Pazniokas)

Not surprising. That's why Amann is calling on the governor for help, although I doubt she'll be able to offer him much.

If there's no consensus by next week, expect the legislature's new priority to be the Keeping Grenades Away from Grandma Act or possibly a bill that gives everyone a puppy. We'll see.

Pazniokas, Mark. "Rell Challenged On Two Issues." Hartford Courant 1 November, 2005.


Brass Tacks said...

(Genghis: By your leave, I'm reposting my comment here, since this topic listing from the 31st became about SCOTUS. Kudos to your scratching beneath the surface on the topics you cover.)

I still think the campaign finance "reform" package is a pig in a poke, sad to say.

The stated problem is supposedly improper influence on policymaking. So peel back the onion on this reform bill:

Lobbyists, solely because of the work they do, are now denied the right to fully participate in the election of their leaders. Okay...

Party bosses (be they legislative leaders who control their PACS or party chairpersons) have their hands STRENGTHENED by the retention of their PACs. (I don't care what the bill might say about PACs being phased out... if the will doesn't exist to get rid of them NOW then the will never go away at the hand of a future legislature.)

Unions: My Dad was in a union, and I had the life I had because of the benefits his union fought for, but their hand is strengthened, too. They can still deploy vanloads of "volunteers" for a campaign, and run those phonebanks to their members.

Stronger party bosses; stronger union influence; browbeating by the political columnists... and the taxpayer foots the bill.

This is the throwback law of a lifetime... and it will be passed by the "reformers." Brilliant!

So go ahead and call... But please don't call it reform.

Aldon Hynes said...

While I am less pessimistic about the campaign finance reform bill than Brass Tacks is, I think he raises an important point. Instead of making it harder for people to be involved by banning certain groups of people and not others, we need to find ways to promote political involvement. I believe that public financing of campaigns is an important step in that direction. I believe that using blogs is an important step in that direction. I believe we should be looking at ways of making other media more accessible to candidates.

If more of us were more involved, our Representatives would feel more pressure to make meaningful reforms. Contact your Representatives and get into an honest discussion about them about how you think we can promote involvement in all of the political process.