Springfield City Council Considers Policy Against Corporate Personhood

October 16, 2012
Jonathan Shorman

The Plans and Policies Committee, comprised of four council members, considered a proposal from Councilmember Burlison to support amendments to the Missouri and United States constitutions abolishing “corporate personhood.”

The proposal was not in the draft legislative priorities but was attached to it. Burlison said the proposal is drawn from the organization Move to Amend, which advocates that only human beings are entitled to inalienable rights.

The amendments the recommendation calls for are designed to combat what supporters say are the harms of the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case. The court found that independent, unlimited political spending by labor unions and corporations is protected speech under the First Amendment. The ruling repealed portions of the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, passed in 2002.

Discussion about the proposal was brief, and neither Bieker or Fisk expressed either support or disapproval of the measure. Instead, the committee voted to table the proposal. Burlison said he will bring up the proposal as an amendment to the legislative priorities during full council.

Other cities have passed resolutions expressing opposition to the Citizens United ruling, including Kansas City, Mo.


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