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.