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Media & Democracy 01.26.2023

Irresponsible Greed Drives Facebook to Restore Trump’s Account

Facebook has once again missed the opportunity to be the adult in the room when it comes to checking the clear and present danger that Donald Trump poses to the nation on social media. Instead, the company and its founder Mark Zuckerberg decided to try to plunge headlong into a race to the bottom with Elon Musk and Twitter, irrespective of the threat to public safety and national security.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Looking to solve a Harrisburg problem, Pa. House Speaker Rozzi turns to Pittsburgh for advice

Khalif Ali, executive director of the good government group Common Cause Pennsylvania, told Rozzi his organization is concerned about the way legislators have attempted to use amendments to the state constitution. “The constitutional amendment process was never meant to be used as a means to advance vetoed and failed legislation, or to punish the court for decisions that weren’t favorable to a party’s agenda,” Ali said. He pointed to Senate Bill 106, a multi-pronged constitutional amendment package, passed by the General Assembly last year, that seeks to, among other things, change the state constitution to say there was no constitutional right to an abortion in Pennsylvania. It amounted to “a deliberate move to leverage a very sensitive issue to advance a political agenda,” Ali said. “We’ve gotten to a point where some elected officials are spending much more time finding loopholes in the system than moving towards a democracy that works for everyone and collectively solving our pressing societal issues,” he added. “What worries me the most is the fact that we’re getting dangerously close to normalizing this behavior. This listening tour is happening at the exact right time and depending on how the information is used, it could establish a basis for fixing a broken Harrisburg,” Ali continued.

Voting & Elections 01.26.2023

Tampa Bay Times: Tampa election first locally to test new absentee ballot law

“Tampa is a huge city. A major city and it’s one of the first (to deal with the new law),” said Amy Keith, program director for Common Cause Florida, a branch of the national voting rights and government accountability organization. The extra step required to request a mail ballot for each election makes accessing a ballot harder, especially for the disabled, elderly, working poor and other groups, Keith said. “It makes it harder to participate, for people to have their voice heard and have a say,” Keith said. In the November election, one-third of Florida voters cast their ballots by mail, she said.

Voting & Elections 01.25.2023

Texas Tribune/Houston Chronicle: Two years after Texas’ voting rights showdown gripped the nation, lawmakers again push dozens of elections bills

“Looking back over the past few legislative sessions, there have been repeated attempts to find creative ways to prosecute people for what really looks like an honest mistake,” said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for policies such as online voting registration and ending gerrymandering. “There’s no infrastructure to tell people what the process is for when you can vote again [after release from prison] or how you can vote again.”

Money & Influence 01.20.2023

Bloomberg: Ohio’s Historic Corruption Case Tests Limits of Citizens United

“We’ve legalized bribery in our campaign finance system,” said Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio and a longtime Ohio advocate of campaign finance and government reform. “This case proves we’ve essentially set the stage for Ohioans to be taken advantage of. And they were.”

New York Magazine: Democrats Defeat Kathy Hochul’s Pick to Be New York’s Top Judge

Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause New York, said she was “horrified” Hochul was contemplating hiring a litigator, adding that it would be “a brutal attack on a democratically elected institution.”

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