RESTORING OUR DEMOCRACY
United States Senator Elizabeth Warren is right: Our political system is “rigged.” Jay believes that we will never maximize our educational and economic opportunity unless we reform our political system. That means we need to fight and undo the United States Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that overwhelmingly tilts the political system in favor of billionaires. Our citizens deserve a democracy that works for all people, not just politicians. To restore our democracy, Jay will push for an open, efficient and accountable government. And Jay will push to expand our voting rights because he believes voting is the foundation of our democracy.
JAY HAS A TRACK RECORD ON RESTORING OUR DEMOCRACY
- As General Counsel & Senior Policy Advisor to State Treasurer Janet Cowell, Jay pushed for public financing for the State Treasurer’s race. Jay worked closely with Treasurer Cowell to support legislation that would add State Treasurer to the list of publicly-financed campaigns. He believes such voter-owned campaigns allow candidates to spend more time discussing issues with voters and avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest as an elected official.
- As General Counsel & Senior Policy Advisor to State Treasurer Janet Cowell, Jay put in place some of the most restrictive ethics policies in the State. Jay helped draft some of the most cutting-edge ethics policies, including enhanced disclosure for third-party marketers (placement agents) who do business with the Treasurer’s Office, a four-year revolving door policy for senior agency employees, and a revised code of ethics. Jay also established a dedicated outside ethics counsel to review all investment and ethics matters.
- As General Counsel & Senior Policy Advisor to State Treasurer Janet Cowell, Jay has consistently pushed for corporate disclosure of political spending after Citizens United. As the manager of all corporate governance affairs, Jay helped lead a two-pronged strategy against Citizens United: (1) organizing a coalition of pension funds to file a petition with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission requesting disclosure of political spending by corporations; and (2) filing shareholder resolutions with companies requesting better disclosure of their corporate spending.
AS STATE SENATOR, JAY WILL FIGHT TO:
PUSH FOR AN OPEN, EFFICIENT AND ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNMENT
If we accepted the Republican General Assembly’s governing principal that government should be run like a business, then our legislative branch would be bankrupt. Cities and counties have passed their budgets on time. School boards have passed their budgets on time. Yet, last session, our legislature significantly delayed carrying out a core function that North Carolina citizens, schools and towns count on: passing a budget on time. Jay believes we need a legislature that’s open, efficient and accountable. That’s why he will:
- Support establishing an independent redistricting commission. North Carolina is a “purple state” with an almost evenly divided electorate between parties, yet we have a Republican-controlled General Assembly. Jay will co-sponsor legislation setting up an independent redistricting process because he believes a non-partisan commission compromised of citizens, not politicians, should draw our legislative districts. He also believes such a commission would save our State millions of dollars in litigation, better reflect the voters’ will, and give voters confidence in our political system.
- Extend the anti-revolving door waiting period to two years. Our State’s “cooling off” period of six months is too short. Too many legislators have resigned in July of their current session so they can start lobbying their former legislative colleagues at the beginning of the new session the following year. In other words, it’s a way to get around our ethics rule, and it raises questions about whether legislators are serving the public interest or self-interest when they resign early. That’s why Jay will push to extend the waiting period to two years for General Assembly members just as he did as General Counsel at the Department of State Treasurer’s Office for senior employees, who must follow a four-year revolving door policy.
- Support legislation capping the number of days for legislative session to 90 days. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina is one of only 11 states that does not limit the length of our legislative sessions. Among Southern states, we are the only state that does not have session limits. By codifying true session limits, our legislators would save taxpayers money. In recent years, the average two-year session has lasted 317 days. A firm limit of 90 days per year would save the State more than half a million dollars per year. Jay will support such a cap on the length of legislative sessions because he believes it would guarantee our General Assembly members spend less time with lobbyists in Raleigh and more time with their constituents back home.
- Introduce a “no budget, no pay” bill. Jay believes that we should hold our General Assembly members by the pocketbook in the event they do not pass a budget on time. Similar to a Congressional bill with bipartisan support, it’s a straightforward idea: no budget, no pay. In other words, if the General Assembly members do not pass a budget on time, they do not receive their per diem or travel reimbursements. This legislation asks General Assembly members to adhere to strict financial deadlines, the same way families, school systems and municipalities do.
- Support restoring public financing of campaigns. As General Counsel to State Treasurer Cowell, Jay supported voter-owned campaigns for the Treasurer’s Office. He believes this General Assembly should restore public financing of campaigns beginning with the election of our statewide judges.
EXPAND VOTING RIGHTS
Over the last six years, our Republican General Assembly has passed legislation to roll back hard-fought accomplishments by African-Americans to secure the right to vote. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law has referred to these new voting laws as “the most restrictive since the Jim Crow era.” These new laws disproportionately impact people of color and young people. Jay believes we must work to making voting easier, not harder. That’s why he will:
- Push for automatic voter registration. Last year, Oregon passed the first law in the nation in which voters are automatically registered when they receive or renew their driver’s license or state identification. Such voters are allowed to opt out if they elect to do so. This new law is expected to add almost a half million eligible voters to the voter rolls. Jay will push for automatic voter registration because he believes government should make registering to vote easy and seamless.
- Bring back same-day registration voting. Studies show that same-day registration voting increases voter participation and greatly reduces provisional balloting. Jay will fight to restore same-day registration voting.
- Restore early voting to the longer period of 17 days. When our State reduces the number of days to vote, we reduce the opportunity for all voters to participate in our democracy. Studies show that cutting the period of time to vote also means a longer wait on voting day, thereby resulting in many voters leaving long lines and not voting. Jay will fight to restore a longer early voting period from 10 days to 17 days.