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Brian Schatz on Government Reform

 

 


Abolish the Electoral College

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is backing an amendment to "abolish the Electoral College" introduced by Senator Brian Schatz, while Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Bernie Sanders have signaled their willingness to address the Electoral College's anti-democratic impact, as have former representative Beto O'Rourke, former housing secretary Juli n Castro, and mayor of South Bend Pete Buttigieg.
Source: The Nation magazine on 2018 Hawaii Senate race , Apr 8, 2019

Partial state funding for state level political campaigns

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support partial funding from state taxes for state level political campaigns?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative candidates?

A: Undecided on Individual limits; PAC limits; and Corporate limits.

Source: Hawaii Legislative 1996 National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1996

Matching fund for small donors, with debate requirements.

Schatz co-sponsored Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act

Congressional Summary:Fair Elections Now Act--Amends 1971 FECA with respect to:

Statement of support for corresponding Senate bill: (Sunlight Foundation) Now we bring you the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, a bill that should probably be the least controversial of all. S. 375 would simply require senators and Senate candidates to file their public campaign finance disclosure reports electronically with the Federal Election Commission, the way House candidates and presidential candidates have been filing for over a decade. A version of the bill has been introduced during every congress starting in 2003 (!) yet it has been blocked repeatedly, a victim of political football.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has introduced the most recent version, which would ensure that paper Senate campaign finance reports are a thing of the past. But even with 50 bipartisan cosponsors, the bill faces an uphill battle. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, has repeatedly prevented the bill from coming to the Senate floor. We won't be deterred--as long as McConnell continues to block the bill, we'll continue to highlight that his intransigence results in delayed disclosure of vital, public campaign finance information, not to mention wasting $500,000 in taxpayer money annually. Eventually, we'll win.

Source: S375/H.R.269 14_S375 on Feb 25, 2013

Statehood for the District of Columbia.

Schatz co-sponsored H.R.317

Congressional Summary: Sets forth procedures for admission into the United States of the state of New Columbia.

Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (DCist.com, Sept. 2014): The Argument Against: Congress does not have the authority to grant statehood to D.C.; the 23rd amendment, which gave D.C. three electoral votes, would have to be repealed before statehood was granted. Washington is a wholly urban, one-industry town, dependent on the federal government far in excess of any other state. Moreover, with Congress no longer having authority over New Columbia but dependent on it, New Columbia could exert influence on the federal government far in excess of any other state.

Supporters reasons for voting YEA: [Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC; the District of Columbia has one representative to Congress and no Senators; Rep. Holmes can introduce bills but her vote does not count]: This 51st state would have no jurisdiction over the federal territory or enclave that now consists of the Washington that Members of Congress and visitors associate with the capital of our country. Those would remain under federal jurisdiction. The New Columbia Admission Act was the first bill I introduced in 1991. Statehood is the only alternative for the citizens of the District of Columbia. To be content with less than statehood is to concede the equality of citizenship that is the birthright of our residents as citizens of the United States.

Source: New Columbia Admission Act 15_H317 on Jan 13, 2015

Sponsored bill to abolish the electoral college.

Schatz sponsored the Joint Resolution on abolishing Electoral College

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution to abolish the electoral college and to provide for the direct election of the President and Vice President.

Resolved that the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution, which shall be valid when ratified by the legislatures of 3/4 of the States within seven years:
  • The President and Vice President shall be elected by the people of the several States;
  • The pair of candidates having the greatest number of votes for President and Vice President shall be elected

    Opponents' viewpoint by Washington Times 3/28/19: The Founding Fathers dreamed up a way to elect a president by overriding the popular will, and some people want to fix something that ain't broke. The Founders were not at all confident that voters would pay sufficient attention to the job at hand, studying the men and issues to come to a correct evaluation of the candidates. The genius of the Electoral College is that it guarantees that the states' electors elect the president, as instructed by the people. Without this guarantee, a presidential candidate would spend all his time in CA, TX, and FL, with only grudging nods to the states of flyover country. The guarantee of attention to both large and small states enforces federalism, the sharing of powers between the central government and the states.

    Source: Resolution H.J.Res.7 for Constitutional Amendment 19-HJR7 on Jan 3, 2019

    Sponsored bill for election holiday & easier voting access.

    Schatz co-sponsored For the People Act of 2019