The Republicans in charge in Tennessee are galvanizing behind a bill that would set new civil and criminal penalties for voter registration groups that submit too many inaccurate or incomplete registration forms.
GOP Secretary of State Tre Hargett is behind the measure in the name of "enhancing election security," and committees in both halves of the Republican-run legislature plan to start advancing it next week. Opponents see an effort at voter suppression in a state that already has among the lowest turnout rates in the country.
"By penalizing civic participation groups for unintentional inaccuracies in their constituents' completion of registration forms, the bill tramples on cherished First Amendment rights and would undeniably result in less voter registration activity," the Campaign Legal Center says.
The Nashville Tennessean reports the bill would require all participants in voter registration efforts to complete a new state-run training course or else face criminal prosecution. It would also require voter registration forms to be submitted by registered mail within 10 days of completion. And financial penalties would be imposed on individuals or civic engagement groups that submit 100 or more inaccurate or incomplete forms.
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RepresentUs acquired 8,000 signatures on a petition asking Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to keep working on a "revolving door" bill. Paula Barkan, Austin chapter leader of RepresentUs, handed the petition to Brandon Simon, Cruz's Central Texas regional director, on July 31.
Remember that tweet exchange in May between Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the one where they discussed bipartisan legislation to ban former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists?
To recap: Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for legislation banning the practice in light of a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen, which found that nearly 60 percent of lawmakers who recently left Congress had found jobs with lobbying firms. Cruz tweeted back, extending an invitation to work on such a bill. Ocasio-Cortez responded, "Let's make a deal."
The news cycle being what it is, it's easy to forget how the media jumped on the idea of the Texas Republican and the New York Democrat finding common ground on a government ethics proposal. Since then, we've collectively moved on — but not everyone forgot.
The government reform group RepresentUs recently drafted a petition asking Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez to follow through on their idea, gathering more than 8,000 signatures.
Sixty percent of young adults in the United States believe other people "can't be trusted," according to a recent Pew Research survey, which found that younger Americans were far more likely than older adults to distrust both institutions and other people. But adults of all ages did agree on one thing: They all lack confidence in elected leaders.
While united in a lack of confidence, the cohorts disagreed on whether that's a major problem. The study found that young adults (ages 18-29) were less likely than older Americans to believe that poor confidence in the federal government, the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups were "very big problems."