Who We Are
March on Harrisburg works to end corruption in Pennsylvania by advocating for pro-democracy legislation that will move Pennsylvania from the 45th most corrupt state in the country to the most democratic. Currently, we are working to pass legislation that would end legalized bribery and end gerrymandering. To win on these issues, we lobby, march and engage in nonviolent civil disobedience.
Countdown to End Gerrymandering
To end corruption and restore democracy in Pennsylvania
The Problem: Corruption Of State Officials
Pennsylvania consistently receives failing grades in terms of electoral integrity, jeopardizing our ability to actually call our commonwealth a ‘democracy’. Pennsylvania ranked 45th in the country on electoral integrity by the Electoral Integrity Project and received an “F” grade in electoral integrity by the State Integrity Investigation.
- Pennsylvania is one of only ten states that does not have any gift limitations on public officials; that means that our legislators are able to be bought and sold by moneyed interests.
- Pennsylvania is one of only ten states that does not have any private campaign finance contributions, which means our elections are bought and sold.
- And, Pennsylvania has some of the most gerrymandered state legislative districts in the country.
End Legalized Bribery
In Pennsylvania, it is completely legal for paid lobbyists to “gift” (bribe) anything to our state representatives. These lobbyists – from firms like American Legislative Exchange Council – routinely gift luxury vacations, cars, concert tickets, sports tickets – and of course, endless wining and dining, every night in Harrisburg. Even cash gifts are legal. In this culture of corruption, legislators are not accountable to their constituents – only to their donors.
Legislators have been introducing solutions to the issue of unlimited gifts for decades. Most recently, conservative Republican Rick Saccone introduced HB 39, which places common sense gift limitations on what legislators can accept. Its counterpart in the house, SB 132, was introduced by Republican John Eichelberger. This legislation is not a total gift ban. Legislators could still accept Items of nominal value – things like pens, tote bags, or t-shirts – gifts that are unlikely to sway their vote. However, gifts likely to sway a legislator’s vote – items like vacations, cars, tickets, and endless dinners – would be made illegal.
Gerrymandering is the insidious way in which political parties draw absurd legislative districts to their own advantage. Gerrymandering distorts our democracy by allowing for politicians to choose their voters, instead of voters choosing their political leaders. In 2012, Pennsylvanians cast 83,000 more votes for Democrats than Republicans. Yet, Republicans won 13 out of 15 Congressional seats.
The leadership of both parties in Pennsylvania is currently refusing to give up their ability to gerrymander the map in their control. Democratic House Minority Leader Dermody’s staff told MarchOnHarrisburg in a meeting that they “look forward to gerrymandering” in 2021. The current plan of the leadership of both parties is to gerrymander their map as much as they can.
HB 722 introduced by Representative Samuelson (D) and Representative Roe (R) (SB 22, introduced by Senator Boscola (D) and Senator Scavello (R)) would end incumbent control of the redistricting process. It would set up an Independent Redistricting Commission made up of 11-non-legislators (4 Republicans, 4 Democrats, and 3 Independents) that would draw congressional and state districts using only census data — not personal preferences.
The original language of HB 722. a bi-partisan bill, currently has 110 co-sponsors which is MAJORITY of the House. In April, House State Government Chair Representative Daryl Metcalfe gutted the language of HB 722 removing an indepependent commission. It is imperative that we remove the ammendment and return the bill to its original state.