Solomon and Kenyatta introduce a series of good government transparency legislation

Say it’s far past time for government reform

State Reps. Jared Solomon and Malcolm Kenyatta, both D-Phila., reaffirmed their commitment to good government and transparency by introducing several bills that would reform redistricting, campaigns and elections, as well as accountability after a candidate is elected.

“It’s overdue for us to renew a commitment between trust and transparency regarding the entire election process – from campaign and redistricting reforms to accountability of an elected official,” Solomon said. “People need to trust that we are working for them.”

“Currently, there’s a lot of mistrust in elected officials from both parties and for good reason,” Kenyatta said. “For too long, the practice and perception has been that special interests and their priorities are elevated above the needs of working people who are left behind. Today, Rep. Solomon and I are pushing our agenda to restore the trust and increase transparency across the spectrum of government.”

Solomon and Kenyatta said that their seven-bill package can be summed in three buckets:

1) the districts we run in

2) the reforming big and dark money in campaigns

3) the transparency as we serve 

The first pieces of legislation regard the campaign process and includes: Transparency around Dark Money. This bill reduces the reporting threshold for independent campaign expenditures from an aggregate total of $100 or more in a calendar year to dollar one reporting. 

“We must have transparency in all parts of government,” Solomon said. “This includes outside organizations that seek to influence our elections.” “Voters have a right to know where that money is coming from.”

The package of bills also includes redistricting reform. Solomon and Kenyatta both maintained that the voters should choose officials, not the other way around. The only way to achieve this is through fair redistricting. Reforming the redistricting process would establish an independent commission led by everyday Pennsylvanian citizens where Pennsylvania residents can have full faith and confidence that our Commonwealth’s Congressional lines are drawn fairly.

Solomon explained that our democracy works best when big money stays out of the process and along with Kenyatta has introduced campaign reform legislation that would set a cap for campaign contributions.

The next set of bills would seek to restore trust in elected officials. To do this, there must be accountability for wrongdoing, Solomon said. Solomon introduced legislation that would require any elected official convicted of a crime to resign immediately upon conviction.

Finally, Kenyatta introduced The Clawback Act. While the commonwealth’s grant and loan program can be a lifeline it isn’t protected from misuse. The Clawback Act would require all new state grant and loan programs to include language to address the misuse of monies should entities not meet program guidelines and metrics. Language is patterned after that already found in the Tax Code for tax credit programs.

“Taxpayers expect their tax dollars to be spent to advance the economic health of our state and are not misused by the recipients of state grant or loan programs designed to help people and our communities thrive,” Kenyatta said. “As stewards of these programs, it’s critically important for the legislature to enact the protections necessary to make sure Pennsylvanians are the direct beneficiaries of the good works going on in our state.”

Of these packages of bills, Solomon said that they will rebuild trust in our government and help maintain integrity and transparency in our politics and government.