As you probably know, the state's public financing law was overturned by a judge earlier this year, and the appeal won't be decided until February at the earliest. Meanwhile, we're going into an important election year where public financing will likely be a huge issue.
Ray Hackett at the Norwich Bulletin wrote an editorial pleading for my state senator, Gayle Slossberg (co-chairman of the Legislature’s Government Administration & Elections Committee) to follow through on her statement in which she said:
“I believe it would be disastrous to wait until the appeal is resolved, and my recommendation has been that we make changes to our law before the end of the calendar year.”Hackett gives a concise view of the current ruling, which was issued because third-party candidates are given tougher standards to qualify. The solution, of course, is to change the law so it works evenly across the board. And while they're at it, they can also fix the loophole where an unopposed candidate can receive the same funding as one in a contested election. By allowing unopposed candidates to be exempt from the program even after qualifying, it saves the state money for the true purpose of the law.
Hackett addressed the lack of movement on the issue:
According to Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, no action was taken during two recent special sessions because there doesn’t appear to be a consensus regarding what action should be taken.We know that ultimately our legislators would be working to fix a program that could conceivably cost them their jobs by allowing challengers to run against them who normally wouldn't have the ability. There is a distinct possibility that this self-interest is one of the reasons why the law hasn't been addressed yet.
This is exactly why the state legislature has such a low approval rating. In a situation like this, a leader has an opportunity to lead by taking the initiative and working to fix a law that is essential to the concept of a government by the people, for the people, and of the people.
How about you folks do something constructive right now?