Charlie Baker on Government Reform
Automatic voter registration via RMV and MassHealth
Hundreds of thousands of new voters could join the state's rolls in the coming years after Governor Charlie Baker signed legislation that adopts automatic voter registration. The voting measure registers eligible residents when they get their driver's
licenses or health insurance through the state.
The automatic voter registration law makes Massachusetts the 14th state to adopt such a measure. Under the new law, eligible residents who interact with the Registry of Motor Vehicles or the MassHealth
program will have to opt out if they don't want to join the voter rolls, rather than opt in.
The law also allows the secretary of state to reach agreements with state agencies to automatically register voters if they meet certain criteria, potentially
further expanding the net the state can cast to reach eligible residents.
Baker previously said he had confidence that the state could install automatic voter registration with a "fairly high degree of integrity" at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Source: Boston Globe on 2018 Massachusetts gubernatorial race
, Aug 9, 2018
Declined to sign "People's Pledge" against outside PAC ads
Both made efforts to fire up their bases with red meat comments on wedge issues like illegal immigration and campaign finance reform. Coakley scolded Baker for not signing a campaign gimmick that blocks third party spending in campaigns
known as the "People's Pledge" while pressing him on supporting a constitutional amendment that would reform campaign finance laws. Baker responded by saying that he'd like to see reforms, but the constitutional amendment process is far too slow.
Source: Springfield Republican on 2014 Massachusetts Governor race
, Oct 29, 2014
More campaign finance disclosure but remove union exemptions
Baker generally backs a pending campaign finance reform bill to enhance Super PAC donor disclosure and boost donation limits to candidates but faults its failure to end an existing carve-out that permits higher donations by unions. Republican Charlie
Baker said he was generally supportive of the measure, but criticized what he called a special exemption for Democratic-leaning labor unions. The bill would require super political action committees to report their donors within seven days of their
expenditures. As primary and general election votes approach, those windows would close to every 24 hours.
Of all the candidates for governor, Baker was most critical of the bill. Baker targeted a "carveout"
in the legislation for organizations, such as labor unions, that would leave untouched state campaign finance rules that permit them to give candidates up to $15,000.(Boston Globe, 7/1/2014)
Source: Mass IEPAC: Research Profile on Charlie Baker, p.250
, Sep 1, 2014
Supports open meeting law: make legislative debate public
Candidates for governor said they will push for more transparency on Beacon Hill, but only one called for lawmakers to adopt some form of the Open Meeting Law. Baker said: "I certainly think the process needs improvement. This is probably the single
biggest and most important legislation that moves through the session. We ought to come up with a legislative calendar that doesn't make the Legislature think it has to eliminate a lot of the debate that should be public.'" (Boston Herald, 5/8/2014)
Source: Mass IEPAC: Research Profile on Charlie Baker, p.170
, Sep 1, 2014
$500 donor limit is crazy; it's suppression of free speech
At a Republican forum in Braintree in early April, Baker critiqued rules such as the inability to launch an exploratory committee and donation limits as strictures that benefit incumbents. "We have a $500 limit.
Five hundred dollars, you know, in this day and age, I'm sorry, is crazy," Baker said. "I mean the federal limit is $2,500 in the primary; $2,500 in the general.
A number of other states, people have gone to court to say that this is a suppression of free speech. They've won.
I think Massachusetts probably ought to move. What do you think about having a ballot question that deals with some of these silly incumbent protection rules?"
Source: State House News Service on 2014 Massachusetts Governor race
, Dec 3, 2013
Page last updated: Mar 15, 2020