Blue Mass Group

Jeff Clements

May 11, 2011

In the past month, eight town meetings in Massachusetts adopted resolutions calling for a Constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The Supreme Court in the Citizens United case equated corporations with people and unleashed a torrent of corporate money into our elections. The resolutions are available at Free Speech for People’s website.

Cape Cod led the way, with resolutions passing first in Provincetown, on April 4, followed by Truro and Wellfleet on April 26. All three of these towns called for a constitutional amendment to restore the First Amendment and fair elections to the people.  Copies of the three resolutions, passed in the town meetings, will be sent to state and federal representatives and senators serving the towns, as well as to the Massachusetts governor and US president.

Similar resolutions have passed at town meetings in Great Barrington (May 2), Brewster and Dennis (May 3), and Chatham and Orleans (May 9). On May 17, Williamstown, MA will vote on such a resolution at its town meeting.

Free Speech For People has helped to spur these town meeting resolutions.  Free Speech For People is a national non-partisan campaign, launched on the day of the Citizens United ruling, which is pressing for a 28th Amendment to the Constitution to restore democracy to the people and to ensure that people, not corporations, govern in America.

State Senator Jamie Eldridge introduced an amendment resolution on the one-year anniversary of Citizens United, joined by Rep. Cory Atkins and 12 other legislators. Parallel resolutions have been introduced in New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, California, Hawaii, Idaho, New Jersey, and North Dakota. On the national level, Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland introduced a resolution in February 2010, co-sponsored by then-House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan, which would permit Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations engaging in political speech.

According to a Hart Research Associates poll released by Free Speech For People, 82% of American voters believe Congress should take action to limit corporate spending in elections, and 79% of voters would support an amendment denying corporations equal rights to natural persons under the Constitution. Furthermore, the survey revealed that support for an amendment transcends party lines, with large majorities of Democrats (87%), independents (82%), and Republicans (68%) supporting its passage.

You can access the Free Speech For People’s model resolution here.

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