To the editor:
Many thanks to Senator Joan Lovely for supporting and working to pass S.2243, a bill using all means possible to propose a U.S. Constitutional Amendment to overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision and get money out and people in to our government.
The bill asked Congress to send to the states a two-part amendment affirming that 1) only natural persons, not corporations and other artificial entities, have constitutional rights, and 2) political spending is not speech, and therefore can be regulated.
Massachusetts has twice requested that Congress propose this amendment, as have 18 other states. Congress, in the pockets of powerful special interests and under no obligation to honor these requests, has not acted.
S. 2243 originally called on Congress to convene a People's Convention to propose this amendment and only this amendment. If passed, Massachusetts would have joined five states (Vermont, California, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island) that have made similarly restricted calls. Historically, such applications have served to put pressure on Congress to act. If 34 states make applications restricted to the same subject, the amendment could be proposed via a convention without having to wait for Congress.
Unfortunately, this provision was removed in the Senate in a 23-15 vote. We applaud Senator Lovely and her 14 fellow senators who courageously advocated and voted for the bill as originally written. Without the People's Convention aspect of the bill, however, it is just repeating what we have done. Hopefully the original wording will be passed in the next session.