Elections are the principal method by which citizens hold public officials accountable for their actions. CC/PA believes that elections must be both fair and competitive.
For years, Pennsylvania was ridiculed for having the weakest lobbyist disclosure law in the nation. Responding to a CC/PA led effort, the General Assembly finally passed a meaningful lobbyist disclosure law in 1998 that mirrored those of many other states.
Access to government records and meetings are essential to our democracy. See what Common Cause Pennsylvania is doing to make sure you have access to state and local government.
As we work closely with government officials to keep government open and accountable, we are always working hard to promote legislative reforms that make sense for Pennsylvanians.Click for more...
Local Government Reform
On the local government level, CC/PA is studying ways to reduce inefficiencies, redundancies, and waste that are caused by overlapping or multiple layers of local government.
One of the newest ideas that CC/PA is beginning to develop is "Empowerment Civics". This initiative would help citizens develop and implement government integrity ordinances for their local governments, by providing model ordinances and organizational support for citizens' efforts. In addition, the Citizen Engagement Project would compliment these efforts by developing ways in which citizens organize and play more active roles in their communities and local governments.
Pennsylvania's current system for electing judges has resulted in voters being asked to chose from a group of candidates about which they have little or no information, and virtually no way of obtaining needed information. Judicial candidates receive the vast bulk of their campaign financing from lawyers, PACs organized by the legal profession, and entities that may have issues pending before the very judges receiving the campaign contributions.
CC/PA is very proud of the role it has played in helping to pass and strengthen the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act.
The Sunset statute was one of the most valuable good government tools designed by the PA General Assembly, but in 1991 the General Assembly failed to renew the state Sunset Law. CC/PA is working to have the Sunset Law reinstated.
Additional issues in which CC/PA has become involved include:
- Banning SLAPP suits;
- Insurance reform, Consumer Advocate, and other consumer related issues;
- Tax reforms;
- "Bottle bills";
- Opposing Gambling expansion due to the negative fiscal, operational, and infrastructure impacts it likely would have on state and local governments;
- Opposing "takings" legislation due to the dramatic negative impact it would have on government's ability to protect the health and welfare of all citizens, and the potentially crushing fiscal burden it would impose on taxpayers;
- Exploring the problems of accountability and corruption in authorities and commissions, especially those covering multiple political jurisdictions.