Dear FairVote Friends,
Although there seems to be some
uncertainty as to when it may come back, the General Assembly is now
taking a breather after the hectic days of June. I wanted to let you
know what action--both good and bad--was taken on FairVote's
legislative agenda, and how your donation now
will be automatically doubled.
Rhode Island Director, FairVotesledge@fairvote.org
---1. Donations doubled until July 4!
July 4, 2009, any new donation will be doubled through a generous offer
from the national FairVote's board of directors. For more, see http://fairvote.org/donate
It'd be hard to find a better way (fireworks and barbecues not
included) to celebrate the great American tradition of democracy. Thank
you!2. Pre-registration approved by both chambersYouth voter pre-registration
has now been approved by both the RI Senate and House, for the fourth
year in a row! S 85, sponsored by Rhoda Perry, was approved by the RI
House late last Thursday night. Its house companion, H 5005, sponsored
by Rep. Pacheco, is still waiting for a vote over on the Senate floor,
but we're optimistic the vote will be taken soon.3. Direct elections for Senate vacancies must still be "crossed over"
Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee also approved the House version
of a bill that would mandate direct elections for vacant US Senate
seats in our state. Once the Assembly gets going again, we hope for a
quick "cross-over" vote on the duplicate bills that have passed in both
the House and Senate in the opposite chambers, and the Senate Judiciary
vote is a great first start.
And fantastic news from Connecticut: Governor M. Jodi Rell, a
Republican, just signed into law a very similar measure requiring
elections for US Senate vacancies. In Rhode Island, of course, support
for the "Blago bill" has been broadly bipartisan, and we're hopeful
that Gov. Carcieri will join Governor Rell in supporting elections for
every US Senator.
In her official statement
Governor Rell said "We are fortunate to live in a participatory
democracy, where our people do indeed have a voice in how they are
governed. This law is consistent with my long-held belief that we
should take every action possible to involve our citizens in their
We couldn't have put it better ourselves.4. National popular vote bill defeated
If passed the
national popular vote bill would have joined Rhode Island in a compact
already passed by five other states to directly elect the
president--instead it was voted down on the House floor on June 18. We
at FairVote, along with many others in the state who support the
legislation, were naturally disappointed by that outcome. But the RI
Senate previously approved an identical measure on a 26-9 vote, and the
same bill will be back next year. For good reason: 74% of Rhode
Islanders want a national popular vote for president
Once enacted by states with a majority (270/538) of electoral votes,
the national popular vote bill will guarantee the presidency to whoever
wins the most votes in all 50 states and DC.