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The Guardian: How Ohio Republicans ignore voters – and the governor – in power grab to pass laws

According to Catherine Turcer, the executive director of the government watchdog group Common Cause Ohio, which is part of the Citizens Not Politicians coalition, the group has trained about 2,000 volunteers to collect petition signatures. “It’s clear there’s this disconnect between what it is that ordinary Ohioans want, and what it is that the state legislature chooses to do,” said Turcer. “There is real interest in ensuring that we have accountable government.”

Voting & Elections 01.31.2024

Albany Tines Union (Op-Ed): These measures would protect election integrity in New York

2023 was a challenging test of New York’s elections. Voters endured persistent legal fights over redistricting and a congressional election scandal that captured national attention. It’s no surprise that trust in government continues to decline nationwide. With changing congressional boundaries and a contentious election season looming, voters face an even busier year. That’s why lawmakers must work quickly to institute guardrails that address existing gaps in our laws and protect voters from the threat of undemocratic actors. Here’s how they can do that.

Yahoo! News/Providence Journal: 'Relentless grind': Providence City Council is a big job. Some members aren't always doing it.

"Certainly the fact that it is very low-paying, that’s kind of a reflection of the value that has pervaded for a long time in America – that legislatures should be made up of regular citizens or residents of the state or city that they’re representing," said John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island. "But we know that it can result in bodies not being necessarily as representative of a community as [they] could be because the lack of pay means that people who don’t have flexible jobs or don’t have a source of wealth that allows them to serve what is a pretty substantial commitment – that creates incentives for certain people to run for [city council]."

Boston Globe: As session begins, R.I. House requests no more than 15 bills per legislator

John M. Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, said the bill limit might amount to "inside baseball" for the legislature. "But it's incredibly important inside baseball because it affects how representatives are able to represent their constituents," he said. "When you watch 'School House Rock,' no one says, 'That poor bill sitting on Capitol Hill can only have 14 friends,' " Marion said, referring to a series of educational cartoons that ran on Saturday morning TV in the 1970s and '80s, including "I'm Just A Bill," on how a bill becomes a law. Marion said it's understandable why the House wants to cap the number of bills each member can introduce. "Agendas have gotten terribly long in recent years and hearings are continuing late into the night," he said. "Too often, the sponsors of the bills themselves don't even show up for the hearings because they're in another committee or have left the building and gone to a fundraiser." But, Marion said, "Any limit needs to be weighed against the fact that introducing legislation is one of the primary means by which legislators represent their constituents. The 16th good idea a legislator has shouldn't necessarily have to wait until next year. There should be reasonable exceptions to any limit." Marion said some bills are poorly drafted, stand little chance of passage, and appear aimed only at making headlines. "But it doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to put that bill in," he said. And Marion said the bill limit should not become yet another thing, such as office assignments and parking spaces, that legislative leaders can use to reward or punish individual members. "Any limits should come with clear exceptions," he said, "and those should be debated and codified in the House rules."

Voting & Elections 12.26.2023

New York Times: How to Boost Voter Turnout With Just One Signature

“It makes for more efficient elections and is less confusing to voters, too,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, a nonpartisan good government group.

Yahoo! News/The Hill: Lobbying World

Virginia Kase Solomón will be the next president and CEO of Common Cause. Currently CEO of the League of Women Voters, she will start her new role in February and will be the first Hispanic person to lead the democratic watchdog. She succeeds Karen Hobert Flynn, who died this spring after three decades with the organization.

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