Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Return of Responsible Government

The Miller-Maze team released their plan for the Return of Responsible Government. Anyway, here is an excerpt from the email:
Kentucky Democrats are ready for new leadership.

The working families of Kentucky are tired of the recycled, failed politics of the past.

Having visited all 120 counties as state Treasurer, I know the people of Kentucky are looking for a change. Real change, not stale, vague promises or soundbites.

I am running for Governor to bring just that real change: a new approach and a new generation of leadership to get this state back on track.

Together with Jefferson County Attorney Irv Maze, we will bring new leadership that packs a strong law-and-order punch.

That's why today Irv and I officially filed our candidacy to lead Kentucky in a new direction and we wanted you to be one of the first to know.

A new generation of leadership that soundly rejects back-room deals and an unethical government that operates behind closed doors.

A new way of solving problems that puts common sense back in charge.

A new way of solving problems that gets beyond the political bickering and endless debates to deliver real bottom line results for Kentucky families and small businesses.

Irv and I have a record of openness, fairness, and a commitment to putting people first.

Whether it's making a college education more affordable, protecting our military families, cracking down on deadbeat dads, or forcing government to do better with the money it already has -- we've made a difference in people's lives.
Now, on to proposals announced within the detailed plan:
Campaign Finance Reform:
Miller-Maze will take up Trey Grayson’s task force proposal for a 60-day pre-election report and expand it to 90 days. Their campaign will voluntarily report 90 and 60 days before this May’s primary election and before this November’s general election. Our campaign requests all other candidates to follow suit.

Lobbying Reform:
Miller-Maze will require annual reports by lobbyists clearly showing their last five years of contributions to lawmakers. Disclosures will be made on line because the public has a right to know which lobbyists have contributed to which members of the General Assembly. Miller-Maze will eliminate legislative trusts and caucus funds. They will put an end to the loophole around current contribution restrictions. They will extend the current ban on lobbying by former state executive branch officers and elected officials who currently can be on special interest payroll just six months after leaving office and can be lobbying state lawmakers just one year after leaving office. Miller-Maze will work to extend from six to 18 months the ban on which former officials can get a job with special interests and from one year to two the ban on which they can lobby.

Open Budget Process:
Miller-Maze will fight to make conference committee meetings public when lawmakers are discussing the budget. Just last year, lawmakers met for hours to discuss the state budget with no public vote taken on compromises made and with expenditures that likely would never have seen passage if the votes were up to public scrutiny. Miller-Maze will work to require on-line posting of all conference committee bills at least 24 hours in advance of any final vote. Disclosure would include names of General Assembly members who sponsor any pork-barrel project. Miller-Maze will also fight to see that if lawmakers don’t pass a budget, they don’t get paid.

Fair and Open Contracting:
Miller-Maze will put an end to no-bid state government contracting. Kentucky does billions of dollars of business each year with private contractors. To ensure citizens get the best service at the best price, all bids on state contracts will require bidding, except in cases of emergency. Miller-Maze will fight to require that our bidding process is fair and open. All contracting should be brought into the open with an on-line database for public disclosure of the bidding process and an explanation of each decision.

All political appointees, including administration “volunteers,” will be required to sign and uphold a strict Code of Ethics. If an appointee or volunteer breaks the Code, he or she will be removed immediately from the administration. Miller-Maze believes those who break the rules must pay the price, period. Miller and Maze will put an end to political pardons and will create a bipartisan, independent commission to fully investigate charges of both ethical and criminal wrong-doing. People who courageously expose waste and fraud in our government must be protected from intimidation. Miller-Maze will remove from office managers who try to punish whistleblowers. An important part of whistleblower protection is making violations of the merit laws a felony instead of the current status of misdemeanor. Miller-Maze will expand the enforcement resources of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission by creating an independent task force to battle corruption. The new task force will report to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission and will operate within the Kentucky State Police. Miller-Maze will also take the politics out of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission by ending partisan appointments to the body.

Openness for Public Protection:
Juveniles are increasingly committing most violent crimes at earlier ages, but only about 10 percent of these cases are remanded to Circuit Court where records become public. For public protection and public confidence in our court system, Miller-Maze will work to lift that confidentiality for violent offenders.

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