(update 9/2012: This amendment PASSED the Legislature in July 2012; Ma became the 7th state to call for a Constitutional Amendment! The vote was the most bipartisan vote so far. The pressure from over 65 MA towns (including Needham) voting for such an Amendment at their town meetings worked! Now we move to the Democracy Amendment–for all Needham voters to weigh in (not just Town Meeting representativse).
Amending the Constitution is a bottom-up –not top-down– process. The actions of town and city governments and state legislatures “chain up” the message to Congress and the powers-that-be that the people want change.
The MA State bill s772 is being considered in committee in the MA Legislature. Its passage would be a strong declaration of Massachusetts citizens desire for real, substantive changes.
Our Town Meeting resolution calls upon our representatives in the Legislature, State Senator Richard Ross and State Representative Denise Garlick, to pass this resolution.
Such statements at Town Meetings are powerful messages to our next level of government — state legislature — and in turn, passage of bill s772 sends a powerful message to our Massachusetts Congressional delegation to take up the mantel of fixing the problem of money in politics and unregulated campaign spending and SuperPACs.
The text of s772 is below, and you can track the bill’s progress via the MA Legislature’s website.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution was designed to protect the free speech rights of people, not corporations;
WHEREAS, for the past three decades, a divided United States Supreme Court has transformed the First Amendment into a powerful tool for corporations seeking to evade and invalidate democratically-enacted reforms;
WHEREAS, this corporate takeover of the First Amendment has reached its extreme conclusion in the United States Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Citizens United v. FEC;
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC overturned longstanding precedent prohibiting corporations from spending their general treasury funds in our elections;
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC will now unleash a torrent of corporate money in our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in United States history;
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC presents a serious and direct threat to our democracy;
WHEREAS, the people of the United States have previously used the constitutional amendment process to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that go to the heart of our democracy and self-government;
Now be it resolved that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts hereby calls upon the United States Congress to pass and send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to restore the First Amendment and fair elections to the people.
Cosponsors of the Bill: James B. Eldridge, Daniel A. Wolf, Stanley C. Rosenberg, Katherine M. Clark, James J. O’Day, Timothy R. Madden,Jonathan Hecht, Kay Khan, William S. Pignatelli, Cleon H. Turner, Paul W. Mark, Peter V. Kocot, Sarah K. Peake, Cory Atkins, Benjamin B. Downing, Charles A. Murphy, James Arciero, Sonia Chang-Diaz, Sal N. DiDomenico, Eileen M. Donoghue, Tricia Farley-Bouvier,Denise Andrews, Linda Dean Campbell, Thomas M. McGee, Brian A. Joyce