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 Policy Order Resolution
  O-13
  Calendar item #2
  AMENDED ORDER
  IN CITY COUNCIL
  May 19, 2014
  June 2, 2014
COUNCILLOR MAZEN
COUNCILLOR CARLONE

WHEREAS: Since 1996, states and municipalities have begun implementing full public financing of elections, as part of a "Clean Election" movement, in an attempt to curb the undue influence of special interests in politics; and
     
WHEREAS: Public financing will encourage candidates who lack substantial resources, effectively lowering the barrier for entry, increasing the ideological and socio-economic diversity, and expanding the range of policy positions put before the electorate; and 
    
WHEREAS: Public grants can make elections more competitive by reducing the fundraising advantages that, in particular, incumbents have over challengers-increasing candidate diversity and encouraging shorter terms; and
     
WHEREAS: Public funding can reduce the influence of private contributions on both candidates and officeholders by replacing individual, labor, and committee contributions with public funds not tied to any particular interest; and
    
WHEREAS: Public financing programs have been shown to reduce the overall cost of elections, preventing the further escalation of campaign spending; and 
    
WHEREAS: Despite the up-front cost, public funding ultimately saves tax payers' money by reducing wasteful government spending that can result from the influence of campaign donors; and 
     
WHEREAS: In 1998 Massachusetts voters approved by a margin of 2-1, The Clean Elections Law which provided public financing of statewide elections with 77% of Cambridge residents voting in favor of the initiative; and 
    
WHEREAS: In 2002, The Clean Elections Law was effectively repealed, through an amendment to the state's budget which eliminated funding for this popular initiative; and 
 
WHEREAS: Municipalities such as Santa Fe, NM, New York, NY, and Albuquerque, NM have all implemented successful public financing programs; and 
     
WHEREAS: Publically funded municipal elections can set a powerful precedent as one step towards nationwide campaign finance reform; now therefore be it 
     

ORDERED:

That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Law Department, the Election Commission, and the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance to determine the feasibility of publically funded elections for Cambridge, taking into account models for implementation from other municipalities as well as the exploration of new publically funded models; and be it further  
     

ORDERED:

That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on this matter; and be it further
     
ORDERED: That this matter be referred to the Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee.    

ORDER ADOPTED AS AMENDED. RECONSIDERATION FILED BY COUNCILLOR MAZEN   View Roll Call Votes from May 19, 2014
ORDER ADOPTED AS AMENDED   View Roll Call Votes from June 2, 2014
RECONSIDERATION FILED BY COUNCILLOR MAZEN
View attached file
View Original Order
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