Changing how things are done in Harrisburg is one of Eugene's most important priorities. He believes that effective government is one that is accessible to its citizens, keeps its expenses low, and maintains an open voting process. That's why Eugene started pushing for reform as soon as he was sworn into office, and has not stopped since.
Making government more open and accountable
* Immediately after being sworn-in to office, Eugene became the first legislator to post his expenses online (www.pahouse.com/DePasquale).
* He also helped pass one of the most progressive open records laws in the nation, giving citizens access to public documents.
* Eugene believes the recent ban on taxpayer-funded grants that legislators can spend at their own discretion, known as "WAMs", is a step in the right direction, and the ban should be made a permanent. WAMs are granted behind closed doors, with no public explanation of how the funds were allocated or how they will be used.
* After his first term in office, Eugene returned his unused taxpayer expenses, giving $22,185 back to the state treasury. This was one of the largest returns in state history and a testament to his low spending (his office chairs were purchased from a yard sale for $1).
* Eugene believes automatic annual cost-of-living increases for legislators should be reformed. In 2009, he voluntarily returned his cost-of-living increase.
* Eugene supports making legislators more accountable to their constituents and less beholden to special interests and major donors by having Pennsylvania adopt current federal limits on campaign contributions and ban gifts from lobbyists.
* Eugene believes the redistricting process in Pennsylvania needs to be completely overhauled. The current system of giving complete control to the General Assembly allows elected officials' political agenda to determine how voting district lines are drawn. Eugene proposes the creation of a nonpartisan committee composed of no elected officials. The General Assembly and governor must approve the redistricting plan, but cannot offer any amendments.
* Currently, over one million voters are banned from voting in the Democratic and Republican primaries, preventing their voices from being heard. Eugene introduced legislation to open up Pennsylvania primaries to allow all registered voters to vote in the primary of their choice, empowering more voters and strengthening our democracy.