Now that the legislative session has begun, we’re going to start sending out bi-weekly updates, detailing campaign finance reform developments in our coalition and in the legislature. This update includes information about Speaker Hackney’s support for campaign reform, NCVCE’s 2007 legislative agenda, our 2007 conference on reform, the Public Campaign Fund check-off, upcoming dues invoices, a Democracy NC training, and the Feb. 10 HK on J rally.
Hackney, tireless leader for reform
Over the last few decades Rep. Joe Hackney has been a key advocate for an entire range of progressive issues, from the environment to public education. But he has been an absolute champion for campaign finance reform, and one of the strongest advocates for a publicly financed “Voter-Owned” campaign system. During his tenure we can be confident not only that the Speaker’s office will be devoid of money-related scandal, but his office will be friendly and open to reform that gets to the heart of the “pay to play” money in politics system.
2007 Legislative Agenda
This session NCVCE will be working on several initiatives to improve North Carolina’s campaign financing system. Our biggest push will be for a bill to expand public financing to our Council of State races . In many ways this is a logical next step for public financing expansion and has a good chance for passage. Council of State offices can be particularly influenced by campaign donors, both because there is less public interest (and scrutiny) in their races, and because more of these races’ campaign money is raised from groups or individuals these offices do business with or are responsible for regulating. We’ll also be sponsoring legislation that:
- Improves the current Judicial Campaign Program by better regulating “independent” 527 “issue advertisements”
- Creates a legislative pilot public financing pilot program, similar to the bill from last session
- Allows municipalities to create a public financing program for local races
Check out www.ncvce.org to read more details about NCVCE’s 2007 legislative agenda.
2007 Conference for Reform
NCVCE will be working with interested coalition partners and other organizations to sponsor a statewide conference entitled “Citizens’ Roundtable on Reform” (title tentative) to be held April 14, 2007 in the Triangle.
This one-day event will deepen and strengthen our reform base throughout the state and excite the campaign reform movement by bringing together reform advocates from across many policy, grassroots, and community arenas, learning from policy experts and candidates who have first-hand experience with public financing systems , and building links between money and politics and social justice movements. Conference workshops will focus on variety of topics, including among others:
- Running for Office: Stories from Maine, Arizona, and North Carolina
- 527 Reform in North Carolina
- Your group’s workshop here
Please contact me at (919)260-1872 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in being a co-sponsor at the conference and planning a workshop.
During the first quarter of every year NCVCE does outreach work to our coalition partners about the Public Campaign Fund check-off. The Public Campaign Fund, which is used for N.C.’s public financing program for appellate judges, is funded in large part by an optional check-off on the N.C. tax return. However, the majority of North Carolinians do not check off, in large part because they are unaware of what the Public Campaign Fund does, and unaware that checking off does NOT change their tax return.
This year we’re asking NCVCE Coalition partners to help promote the check-off by:
Advertising the check-off in paper and electronic newsletters
- Including information on their website
- Sending action alerts to membership
- Sending out buckslips detailing the check-off program in next mailing
Expanding public financing in North Carolina means the current program works first. I’ll be following up with most of you during the next few weeks to look for ways to effectively communicate this important message to your membership.
Dues invoices to be sent out in mid-February
In order for NCVCE to remain solvent as an organization we have to raise almost half of our operating budget through membership dues and donations. We will be sending out dues invoices in the middle of February. In this letter we’ll also include information about the new structure of benefits that groups are entitled to as dues paying members of NCVCE as well as information about the upcoming conference in April. Please look for these in the mail!
Democracy NC Training
As a member of the NCVCE Coalition we’re able to offer some resources and trainings that our coalition partners provide. Democracy North Carolina is having a tele-training conference call on how to set up effective constituency meetings with legislators about public financing this Thursday at 7pm. If you’re interested in being on this call, or someone from your organization would like to be on this call please email me or Adam Sotak at email@example.com.
HK on J Rally
Several of NCVCE’s coalition members are sponsoring organizations for the Historic Thousands on Jones St. (HK on J) march and assembly being spearheaded by the NC NAACP on Saturday, Feb. 10. Congregation begins at the Progress Energy Center (old Memorial Auditorium) at 11am, and will culminate with a march to the General Assembly building on Jones. St. For more information please visit http://naacp.ubernc.com.