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Move To Amend - Persons vs Corporations

Guest writer Marian Beddill is involved in the local amend effort.

Dear Registered Voters,

Please sign Washington State Citizens’ Initiative I-1329, demanding that Congress amend language in the Constitution to define “people” as “human beings.” This definition will effectively overturn Citizens United. With enough signatures, we will vote on the issue in Nov 2014 and, with similar approval by 34 states, Congress will be forced to place the proposal on the federal ballot. This Initiative is an action of the group WAmend - see the website http://WAmend.org .

Excessive corporate dollars already dominate our elections and Congress. This is especially true since the Supreme Court ruling on “Citizens United,” which ruled that a corporation is a person when it comes to freedom of speech.

There are two options to amend the Constitution. One is to call a Constitutional Convention, which opens the entire document for revision. This option is dangerous and has never been used. It risks allowing unlimited changes pushed through by a powerful few.

The second option has been used for all 27 Amendments. It allows a specific, pre-defined text written by the Congress to be placed on the federal ballot. There are two ways to get Congress to do this: (a) Congress may initiate an Amendment; or (b) the legislators of 2/3 of the states (34 of the 50) may direct Congress to place an Amendment on the national ballot. Once that vote is approved by 3/4 of the states (38 of the 50) it is accepted as an Amendment, and becomes part of the Constitution.

Congress has already received two proposals associated with this issue, but neither has passed either house of Congress. According to Wikipedia: “On November 15, 2011, Representative James P. McGovern introduced the People’s Rights Amendment, a proposal to limit the Constitution’s protections only to the rights of natural persons, and not corporations. This amendment would overturn the United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission…”
“On December 8, 2011 Senator Bernie Sanders filed The Saving American Democracy Amendment, which would state that corporations are not entitled to the same constitutional rights as people. It would also ban corporate campaign donations to candidates, and give Congress and the states broad authority to regulate spending in elections. This amendment would overturn the United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission…”

The call to Congress needs approval by 2/3rds of the states. Once 34 states direct Congress, they must act to either amend the Constitution directly, or send the question to a national ballot. As of this year, 16 states have approved this Amendment. We can be number 17.

When it passes, the Secretary of State (the “Chief of Elections”) will transmit the results to the Washington Legislature and the governor, requesting it be sent to Congress. Our state will be on the list of those wanting to have it implemented. Please sign I-1329 and put the Amendment on Washington’s ballot this November. Then in November, vote “YES!” on I-1329.

About Marian Beddill

Citizen Journalist • Fairhaven area of Bellingham • Member since Jan 16, 2008

My bio is complex, with various sections. There are two public data-places for it - my website cited in this Profile - and my published autobiography (from youth to my [...]

Comments by Readers

Marian Beddill

May 02, 2014

“Where do I find it to sign-it?”; you may ask?  There is no office - we are all citizen volunteers - so wherever you see the Petition being carried - usually on a 11"x17” cardboard panel.

The gatherers try to be at places and times where WA voters will be walking by, and with a minute to spare.  The deadline is the last week of June.

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Bob Burr

May 02, 2014

My reading of the initiative document is that it simply puts the voters on record that the Washington State Congressional Delegation should back the Constitutional Amendment. It has nothing to do with the process of State legislators starting the Amendment rolling. It asks our legislators to affirm it if and when it comes down from Congress. And, of course, it won’t.

Why? Because elected representatives and the two major parties they represent don’t want to get big money out of politics. It serves them, the Corporations and the top one-tenth of 1% very well. Congress already knows that 80% of the public and even the majority of Republicans favor such an amendment. Tough! The top .1% don’t. That’s all, folks!

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Marian Beddill

May 02, 2014

Well, my friend, many people have expressed hesitancy about this proposal (and hundreds of other proposals on a multitude of topics) - that’s politics.

The basic truth is that if we do not try, we will never succeed. This initiative (WA I-1329) is one of the proper ways to make change. Other ways are the traditional speaking directly to legislators - lobbying -, and supporting the election of people who declare support for this way of funding campaigns.

So this current action—Sign and then vote Yes on I-1329—, is a simple and easy process. Dear Voter, please do that, and encourage your friends to do the same.

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Bob Burr

May 02, 2014

Absolutely! I support I-1329 and have gathered signatures for it. It takes little effort to sign the petition and voting for it once on the ballot is a no-brainer. After signing it and until November rolls around, all of us should be pressuring Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell and our Congressperson to take a stand. Rick Larsen supports a Constitutional Amendment. Maria Cantwell has in the past been a sponsor of public financing legislation. There is a good chance that the Senate will vote on it soon. Public opinion shows that if we push it could be suicidal for Reps of either Party to resist—unless both the Republican and Democrat (two sides of the same Corporate-controlled coin) decide jointly to resist Conclusions below (backed by the numbers) are from the latest (post-McCutcheon) Greenberg poll of swing Districts:

• Voters in both Democratic and Republican-held seats strongly embrace efforts to
reduce money in politics and its influence: two thirds of voters in these districts support
a plan to overhaul campaign spending by getting rid of big donations and allowing only
small donations matched by public funds. Voters of all parties and across all districts
support this plan with real intensity—even when it is indicated that donations would be
matched by taxpayer funds.
• Government by the People Act wins broad and strong support. Voters in both Democratic
and Republican-held seats, including strong majorities of Democrats, independents,
and Republicans support this bill and do so with real intensity. There is particularly
intense support for the bill among the Rising American Electorate of young people, unmarried
women, and minorities.
• Even after the strongest attacks, this survey finds no increase in opposition to the
proposal. After hearing information both for and against the bill, strong majorities in
both Democratic and Republican districts continue to support the bill, with no increase in
opposition. This survey identifies the best messages to support the bill, which advocate
for putting government back in the hands of ordinary Americans and strengthening the
economy by making Congress work for all Americans again.
• In these vulnerable Congressional districts—districts that could decide the balance
in Congress next November and where the most money is apt to be spent—
candidates from both parties could capitalize on the current anger and frustration
by making reform central to their platforms.

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John Watts

May 03, 2014

Here is the suggested fix to Campaign Finance suggested by former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens in his recently published book, ‘Six Amendments’. A good read, in part prompted by his opposition to the chain of USSC decisions leading up to “Citizens United’:

“Neither the First Amendment nor any other provision of this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit the Congress or any state from imposing reasonable limits on the amount of money that candidates for public office, or their supporters, may spend in election campaigns.”

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Terry Wechsler

May 12, 2014

Thank you, Marian! I agree with you about what we can do to effect change. And our Congressperson is Suzanne del Bene. And she needs our support.

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Marian Beddill

Jun 01, 2014

Once again I ask:  I-1329.

And time is now running out!

Dear Registered Voters,

I predicted that we would have an easy run, to gather the support for this Amendment!

So many of my network support this. And as you read this, I’ll bet that many of YOUR network also want to end the mega-corporate Big$$ in campaigns.

But we haven’t actually seen the support of many of you, with your signature. 

Please sign - 1329 (catch the rhyme! )

Washington State Citizens’ Initiative I-1329. With enough signatures, we will vote on the issue in Nov 2014.
This Initiative is an action of the group WAmend - see the website http://WAmend.org .

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