Books

Gerrymandering
A Guide to Congressional Redistricting, Dark Money, and the U.S. Supreme Court

After placing fair legislative representation in the context of our governmental system, this book shows the anatomy of Pennsylvania’s 2011 Congressional redistricting that was invalidated by the state Supreme Court in 2018. Pennsylvania (and, later, California, the polar opposites of Pennsylvania n its redistricting process) is used as a measuring rod for other states. This is followed by an historical review of gerrymandering In America and the Supreme Court’s role to date in curbing it. The great challenges involved in reforming the redistricting process in states without a ballot referendum process concludes with a description of “dark money” and the virtual impossibility of tracing it in state elections. Seeking reform through the courts is by no means certain and will largely depend on the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the Wisconsin and Maryland cases now before it. A Citizens Toolbox concludes the the book with a trove of information to enable citizens to understand the redistricting process in their state and seek appropriate reform. Included are the relevant U.S. Constitutional provisions, contact Information for organizations seeking reform, state-by-state lists of redistricting criteria, states with ballot box referendums, and states with redistricting commissions. It also provides a table showing how each state deals with “dark money” disclosure, and a model for calculating the “efficiency gap” in any state. The “efficiency gap” is a proposed new standard for measuring partisan redistricting now being considered by th e U.S. Supreme Court.

What Others Say of this Book: 

          “Franklin Kury’s excellent book is as trenchant as it is timely. In it, he
provides a great overview of the redistricting process in states like
Pennsylvania. He shows how utterly broken that process is in that state and
how gerrymandering in places like Pennsylvania is so clearly at odds with
the fundamental values that ought to undergird republican democracies. He
also shows why it is high time we did something about it.”
          -TOM WOLF, Governor of Pennsylvania

          “Franklin Kury has captured the essence of the political bloodsport of
gerrymandering. He has taken a wonky issue down to the brass tacks of its
political gamesmanship. Voters must choose their representatives rather than
politicians choosing their voters.”
          -PAMELA GOODMAN, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida

          “If you care about building an inclusive democracy, that lifts all people’s voices, then Kury’s book is a must read. It presents the real life drama of gerrymandering that is more spellbinding than any spy novel. And it gives practical guidance for activists that is easier to follow than an IKEA manual. Bravo!”
          -KATHAY FENG, executive director, California Common Cause and national redistricting chair for Common Cause

How to Buy the Book:

(ISBN 978-0-7618-7025-8 for paperback.)
(ISBN 978-0-7618-7026-5 for the electronic version.)

Rowman & Littlefield (Printer) or 1-800-462-6420, ext. 3024

Amazon (Paperback and Kindle version)

Barnes & Noble (Paperback and Nook version)

You can order bulk copies at a discount by emailing: special.sales@rowman.com.
(Please be sure to include the title, author, and ISBN along with number of copies being ordered)

Why Are You Here? A Primer for State Legislators and Citizens

The University Press of America (an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield), October 2014

This book is a challenge to America’s 7,382 state legislators and their constituents to examine critically and constructively their state legislature and take appropriate action to improve it. Why Are You Here? is a handbook on how legislatures came to be, how they function and reasons they have fallen in public esteem.  The book provides an analytical discussion for evaluating how any legislature deals with four issues: personal greed at public expense, criminal and ethical scandal, the influence of money in lobbying and campaign contributions, and self-serving legislative seat apportionment.  The last section of the book is a “Legislative Toolbox” that provides information helpful in evaluating legislatures and readings of a patriotic nature that enhance idealism and spirit.

What Others Say of this Book:  

         The May 2017 issue of State Legislatures Magazine’s review says the book “provides a concise, yet enduringly rich, source of knowledge and advice for anyone interested in the legislative process.”
          For the complete review click this link.

          “…great and valuable material and message…this should be a must- read’ for anyone who aspires to and achieves legislative office.’”
          -RICHARD STAFFORD, Distinguished Service Professor, Carnegie-Mellon University

          “This book provides a good sense of legislatures and how to get things done, whether you are a member or someone wanting to observe or affect public policy. A nice addition to the literature on state legislatures.”
          -WILLIAM POUND, Executive Director, National Conference of State Legislatures`

          “The League of Women Voters was founded…to engage citizens in the process of self-government by providing precisely the kind of information contained in this primer.”                   
          -ELISABETH MacNAMARA, President, National League of Women Voters

          “… [this book] offers an insightful, lucid and pragmatic primer for those who want to serve in or effectively petition any state legislature. [Kury] is even-handed, appropriately reverent, but also practical, in his approach to public service. Here are the tools, the sources, and the mindset you will need, should you choose to accept this challenge.”
          -State Representative ANDY THOMPSON, Ohio’s 95th District

          “I love the title. Every elected official in the country ought to ask himself that question every morning before going to work.”
          -JOSEPH McLAUGHLIN,  Director, Institute for Public Affairs, Temple University

          “In Why Are You Here? Franklin Kury presents a strong argument for the critical importance of legislators staying grounded in their commitment to public service. State capitols can be bubbles where an artificial community of lobbyists, donors, staff, and legislators come to a cozy set of arrangements and tradeoffs. But every legislator has to remember that the people in the district and the state, and their needs, have to remain the guide star for their activities and decisions. The book is a reminder of that, and will remain timely and helpful as a result.”
          -MILES RAPPAPORT, President, Common Cause, and former legislator and Secretary of State of Connecticut

How to Buy the Book:

(ISBN 978-0-7618-6462-2 for paperback.)
(ISBN 978-O-7618-6463-9 for the electronic version.)

Rowman & Littlefield (Printer) or 1-800-462-6420, ext. 3024

Amazon (Paperback and Kindle version)

Barnes & Noble (Paperback and Nook version)

You can order bulk copies at a discount by emailing: special.sales@rowman.com.
(Please be sure to include the title, author, and ISBN along with number of copies being ordered)

 

 

Clean Politics, Clean Streams
A Legislative Autobiography

Lehigh University Press, Sept. 2011

The book tells the story of the author’s election to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and later the State Senate against an entrenched Republican patronage organization. The only Democrat elected from these districts since the Roosevelt landslide of 1936, Kury was instrumental in enacting Article 1, Section 27, the environmental amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution; a comprehensive clean streams law; the flood plain and storm water management laws; reform of the Senate confirmation procedure for the governor’s nominations and a new public utility code, including a consumer advocate.

          The story draws on the author’s recollections supplemented by his personal files, extensive research in the legislative archives, and conversations with people knowledgeable on the issues.  The book is well documented with notes and appendices of significant documents.   Numerous photographs enhance the text.

          Dramatic News! In its landmark opinion on the environmental rights amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution the state Supreme Court drew on the book Clean Politics, Clean Streams in its opinion that Art. 1, Sec.27 is to be taken as an important constitutional provision. The court cited the book by name on pages 75 and 94 and in several places in between used excerpts from the book and its appendices. Click here to see the court’s opinion.

         The Harrisburg Patriot carried an in depth story of the Environmental Rights Amendment, Kury's role in it, and the Supreme Court decision in the Robinson Township case on Sunday, April 6. The story began on page one and was continued for two full pages at pages 8 and 9. The following links will take you to that story:

Click Here for the Patriot Story

Click here for more about this story

What Others Say of this Book:

          “...an intimate and insightful look at the workings of the state legislature, it is much more than a legislative memoir…The author’s lively narrative is engaging and his firsthand account of how and why certain bills passed (or did not pass) is engaging…”
          Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine, Winter 2012

          “Regardless of your political views, you will enjoy reading [this] autobiography…This book deserves attention for what it brings to modern Pennsylvania history.”
          Brad Bumsted, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 15, 2012

How to Buy the Book:

(ISBN 978-1-6114-104-6 for paperback.)
(ISBN 978-1-61146-074-2 for the electronic version.)

Rowman & Littlefield (Printer) or 1-800-462-6420, ext. 3024

Amazon (Paperback and Kindle version)

Barnes & Noble (Cloth and Nook version)

You can order bulk copies at a discount by emailing: special.sales@rowman.com.
(Please be sure to include the title, author, and ISBN along with number of copies being ordered)