Friday, May 13, 2016
What Good Government Reforms Would You Make?
On Wednesday, Lower Macungie Commissioner Ron Beitler offered a few ideas. I'll repeat them here, and add a few of my own. Please feel free to offer your own suggestions:
1. Term limits now and tweak the terms. Three four-year terms for State Reps. Two six-year terms for State Senators. A two-year term for State Reps is too short, They have to start campaigning for the next election virtually the day after they win.
2. Reduce the size of PA government so state rep districts to have 85,000 people within. This is small enough to maintain constituent services at the current level, but large enough to eliminate 52 positions entirely.
3. Eliminate pensions for elected officials. Salaries for a full-time state legislator should be adjusted to be the median for the district represented. It is a full time job, but not a career. Pensions are for career positions.
4. Enact Resign-to-run rules that would apply to any full time elected position that draws a taxpayer funded salary.
5. End gerrymandering by establishing independent commissions to do the redistricting.
6. Require all candidates for statewide office to file campaign finance reports electronically so the people know immediately how the campaign is being funded.
7. Ban the use of campaign funds for criminal defense.
8. Increase penalties for noncompliance with state campaign finance laws, and continue the requirement that a candidate pay for violations out of his own personal funds.
9. All local governments should be required to provide an Internet broadcast of every meeting. If it is too expensive, the government should be dissolved.
10. Enact State Rep. Bob Freeman's Bill Freeman's bill (H.B. 1745) to require candidates for the General Assembly to follow the same expense report requirements as candidates for statewide office. Currently, both General Assembly and statewide office candidates are required to file a report on the second Friday before an election, but only candidates for statewide office are required to report on or before the sixth Tuesday before the election.
11. Ban gifts of any kind, on a state and local level.
12. Require receipts for per diem payments.
13. Allow independent voters to participate in Primary Elections.
14. Ban local governments and school districts from attaching risky derivatives/"swaps" to their debt.
15. Ban candidates or elected officials from using campaign funds to make contributions to any other PAC or candidate committee to prevent the money laundering. .