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Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a trio of democracy reform bills this week.

California governor signs three political reform bills

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on Tuesday three democracy reform bills focused on local redistricting, voting access and campaign contributions.

The first piece of legislation prohibits partisan gerrymandering at the local level by establishing criteria for cities and counties to use when adjusting district boundaries. While California is the largest state to use an independent redistricting commission to draw its congressional and state district maps, local districts did not have the same regulations.

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Suhas Subramanyam and Rodney Willett

Reform-first candidates Suhas Subramanyam (left) and Rodney Willett are running in safely Democratic Virginia House districts.

Bloc of Virginia candidates pushing democracy reform as a blue wave generator

With elections for every seat in Virginia's Legislature less than four weeks away, a coalition of progressive candidates is hoping to sway voters with the promise to push democracy reform.

In a letter being sent Thursday to every member of the General Assembly, 32 Democrats vying in November — about half with a realistic hope of winning — underscored their commitment to advancing an array of campaign finance and voting rights proposals if they get elected.

"We write to you today to put Richmond on notice. We are determined to reform the broken system and spark a restoration of confidence should we be granted the honor of serving our respective districts," they wrote.

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Reform groups have sent a third letter to all presidential candidates asking them to "regularly and meaningfully" share information about their bundlers.

Silence on big-money bundlers bedevils watchdog groups

Sixteen of the nation's most prominent political reform groups have been pressing the presidential candidates for six months to be transparent about who's helping them stuff their campaign coffers. They're getting hardly anywhere.

The group put out another plea this week, urging all 19 Democrats remaining in the race, plus President Donald Trump and his three Republican challengers, to "implement a system to regularly and meaningfully disclose information" about their so-called bundlers.

These are the affluent, well-connected people who gather donations from others and deliver those funds in a "bundle" to their favorite candidate — and, if that person ends up in the White House, are very likely to be near the heads of the line for plum positions including ambassadorships and membership on policymaking boards.

The letter urged all the candidates to come clean and take the path of greater transparency when they file their campaign finance reports for the third quarter at the Federal Election Commission next week. But similar letters sent in April and June have produced next to no results.

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The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democrat Mark Warner (left) and Republican Richard Burr.

Bipartisan Senate report says Russian disinformation will work again without broad pushback

Gun rights. Racism. Immigration. When it came to disrupting the 2016 presidential election, Russian operatives knew all the hot buttons to push on social media, according to a report released Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

And push them they did, in what the report found was a clear and multifaceted effort to help Donald Trump and undermine Hillary Clinton — in a disinformation campaign virtually guaranteed to be resurrected with fresh approaches in the coming year.

"Russia is waging an information warfare campaign against the U.S. that didn't start and didn't end with the 2016 election," the committee said. "Their goal is broader: to sow societal discord and erode public confidence in the machinery of government. By flooding social media with false reports, conspiracy theories, and trolls, and by exploiting existing divisions, Russia is trying to breed distrust of our democratic institutions and our fellow Americans."

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