New York Legislature Seeks to Overturn Citizens United: Bipartisan Coalition of State Lawmakers Call for Constitutional Amendment to End Corporate Personhood

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Keyan Bliss, press [at] movetoamend.org, (916) 318-8040

(Albany, NY) – The New York state legislature is calling on Congress to pass a Constitutional amendment to make clear that corporations are not people and money is not protected speech, in opposition to the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. A bipartisan group of New York state senators and assembly-members will announce their support this Wednesday, June 15th, at the State Capitol Building alongside local and national activists from the New York for Democracy Coalition, including Move to Amend, Free Speech For People, and Public Citizen.

Both houses of New York’s legislature are requesting Congress take action on an amendment that establishes “artificial entities created by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state are not entitled to the same rights and protections as natural persons under the Constitution” and “assures the power of the federal, state, and local governments to limit, regulate, and require” full disclosure of political spending. A broad coalition of environment, labor, civil rights, faith based, good-government and community-based organizations have worked to pressure state lawmakers to put their support behind a 28th Amendment.

Since Citizens United, corporate money has flooded New York elections — with outside groups spending an unprecedented $17.8 million in 2014. “We are inspired by the tireless efforts of volunteers over the last four years to achieve this victory in New York,” said Move to Amend’s National Director, Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap. “The Empire State joins sixteen states -- and more than 700 towns, cities, and counties across the country -- to support a constitutional amendment ending corporate influence in elections. The leadership of both parties need to realize their constituents are demanding an end to money as speech and corporate personhood through a Constitutional amendment. It is time for Congress to have a vote on the We The People Amendment and send it to the states for ratification.”   

Move to Amend is a rapidly growing national grassroots coalition of over 400,000 individuals and thousands of organizations working to pass a constitutional amendment to make clear that Constitutional rights belong to human beings and political spending is not protected speech under the First Amendment. Their We the People Amendment was introduced in the US House of Representatives on April 29, 2015.

“Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, and Independents share agreement on this issue: we need broad and systemic reforms to establish a genuine democracy of, by, and for the people,” said Sopoci-Belknap. “We are getting larger, stronger, and better organized everyday and with every election cycle. We welcome New York as the 17th state and look forward to votes of the public in California and Washington later this year.”

The sixteen states to make similar calls for a constitutional amendment include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.

Move to Amend representatives are available for interviews with the press. To arrange an interview, please contact press [at] movetoamend.org or call 916-318-8040.

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