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Money & Influence 04.23.2024

“Democracy Scorecard” Tracks Lawmaker Support for Pro-Democracy Bills in 118th Congress

With 2024 congressional races in full swing, Common Cause is again tracking the positions of every Member of Congress on issues vital to the health of our democracy. For the fifth cycle in a row, Members of the House and Senate have received letters from Common Cause asking them to co-sponsor and support up to ten democracy reform bills. The letters inform Members that their voting and co-sponsorship record will be published in Common Cause’s “Democracy Scorecard,” which will be distributed to the organization’s 1.5 million members, as well as to state and national media, during the lead-up to Election Day.

Boston Globe: Public records undergird R.I.’s biggest news stories

“There’s extreme public interest on what happened on that trip,” Common Cause Rhode Island Executive Director John M. Marion said, noting that one of the former state officials, David Patten, was recently fined $5,000 by the state Ethics Commission for accepting a free lunch at an upscale Sicilian restaurant during that trip. ”So great example of sort of how public records get us information that holds government officials accountable.”

Yahoo! News/Politico: Adams’ pledge of government efficiency remains out of reach

“It’s that baseline of service that really affects how people think about their government,” said Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York, a government reform group. “It’s not about speeches and the big issues; it’s about whether you’ve made a noise complaint and nobody gets back to you for a week.” For Lerner, head of Common Cause, the city’s recent budget cuts — coupled with a struggle to fill vacant positions and a hiring freeze — could hurt the Adams administration’s ability to maintain the nuts and bolts of city government. Frustrations over those basics became palpable for her last year when a fire hydrant on her block began leaking in the summer. Repeated calls to 311 eventually led to visits from the fire and building department personnel, but they failed to stop the flow. Despite repeated follow-up calls, the hydrant continued to leak for months. Eventually, her neighbors inundated local elected officials with calls complaining about the lack of city responsiveness. "And guess what,” Lerner said. “In two weeks it got fixed."

Providence Journal: Access to public records was a problem in the bridge shutdown. Will that help reforms pass?

"It's a perfect example of something that is in the public interest," John Marion Jr., executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, said Thursday about the Washington Bridge emails.

Albuquerque Journal (Op-Ed): NM needs a modern Legislature to cope with modern challenges

For the past four years, Common Cause New Mexico, and several community groups, have been exploring the possibility of upgrading New Mexico’s legislative branch to meet today’s challenges with adequate staff, longer sessions and salaries for our unpaid legislators.

Voting & Elections 02.5.2024

Syracuse Post-Standard: Republicans push Onondaga County to sue NY over change to election schedule

"Moving local elections to even years will boost turnout, reduce voter fatigue, and minimize stressors on the local boards of elections,'' said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York.

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