Tuesday was Kids & Families Day and Social Work Day at the Legislature and more than 100 people from around the state gathered at the State Capitol to learn more about the Our Children, Our Future (OCOF) campaign’s 2018 legislative platform and how to effectively talk with and engage their legislators about these and other issues that matter to them.
As part of this year’s platform, WV CAG is excited to be partnering with Fayette Fair Share to support the WV Anti-Corruption Act. The Act is about empowering voters and having a democracy where everyone participates, every vote is counted, and everyone’s voice is heard. To do this we need to close loopholes in our election and ethics laws, and change political rules that unfairly favor the wealthy and special interests. Two bills introduced this session help accomplish the goals of the Act.
SB 40 closes loopholes that make it possible for groups that spend money on political advertising to hide the identity of their donors, and puts an end to big money laundered through groups with secret donors by requiring full disclosure of all political spending. The corporate elite, billionaires, and millionaires shouldn’t be allowed to dictate who gets elected in our state by anonymously giving six-figure checks for mud-slinging TV and other ads. We must require any group that spends money to influence our elections to say where their money came from and close loopholes in existing law that make it possible for groups that spend money on political ads to hide the identity of their donors.
Contact your Senators and urge them to support SB 40. We deserve to know who’s trying to influence our votes and persuade our public officials, not be kept in the dark.
An often overlooked, yet important part of our electoral process is redistricting — the redrawing of the boundaries of legislative and congressional districts. Redistricting will happen after the 2020 Census, and the current redistricting process allows legislators to draw that govern their own elections. This provides opportunities for political mischief and manipulation of districts lines to benefit one political party or to protect incumbents. If we want to take politics out of the process, and make it more fair and transparent the solution is to establish an independent redistricting commission. Although there are still some details to be worked out, a bill (HB 2383) to do just that is now under consideration by a House Judiciary Subcommittee and probably has a good chance of passing.
We need to let our Delegates know that we want a process that is impartial, transparent, and accountable. This means having an independent redistricting commission lead redistricting efforts, providing ample opportunities for public participation throughout the process, and clear standards to guide the process that ensure equality and fairness.
Stay tuned for updates on this and other OCOF 2018 priorities.