Redistricting is Debated on Beacon Hill
A weekly column detailing the votes of your elected officials in their capacities here and in Washington.
Editor's Note: Information is coming in slowly as we start this column, but State Senator Jamie Eldridge's office has graciously provided us with the details of what of his recent activity on Beacon Hill.
Senator Eldridge participated in an assortment of meetings and hearings on Beacon Hill this past week:
Hearing on Citizens United Response Legislation
Earlier this week, the Joint Committee on Elections held a hearing on two bills Senator Eldridge has filed in response to the Supreme Court's disastrous 2010 Citizens United decision.
As you may know, by a 5-4 vote, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court struck down bipartisan legislation that had limited corporations from spending their general treasury funds on political advertisements during the months preceding an election.
Now, for-profit corporations may spend unlimited amounts of their general treasury funds to support candidate elections at all levels of government.
Over the past several years, Senator Eldridge has worked on legislation to blunt the impact of this decision:
This bill will address the problems created by the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC by requiring new levels of disclosure and transparency for corporate political spending and prohibiting foreign corporations from influencing elections in Massachusetts.
This bill would require corporations spending general treasury funds on political advertisements to notify their shareholders of those expenditures in quarterly reports. Additionally, this bill would require corporate managers to get approval from their board of directors prior to spending general treasury funds on political ads. Eldridge also filed a Resolution restoring free speech, which requests the Congress of the United States to send to the states an amendment to the Constitution to correct the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. This resolution would clarify that Freedom of Speech is a right of citizens, not corporations. That bill is currently before the Judiciary committee.
Earlier this week, the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting released their initial proposals for new State House and State Senate legislative districts.
As you may know, Massachusetts is constitutionally mandated to change its House, Senate, Governor's Council and Congressional district boundaries to accommodate shifts in population and provide equal representation to its citizens every ten years, after the release of the census.
Eldridge reports the Middlesex & Worcester district, stayed almost exactly same in the initial proposal. Although the district lost one precinct (Sudbury, Precinct 5), all 14 communities, including Sudbury, will remain in the district.
If you'd like to take a look at the initial map proposals, you can view them on the Legislature's Redistricting website. The Committee will be taking public comment through next week.